I'm never sure when I need to backtrack with folks on Dolly Parton and address a popular misconception of her as a redneck nitwit celebrity with big boobs who wears too much makeup. I was disabused of all that myself some time ago thanks to Robert Christgau, who sold those '70s best-ofs by her particularly hard and incidentally opened the door for me when I later turned them up in a cutout bin. There's been no looking back since. "Down From Dover" vies with "Just Because I'm a Woman" as my one favorite, but there's so much by her that's so good it's almost silly to try to narrow it down. In the end I give this one the edge because it's so sad, and so sneaky about the way it does that. There's a story here, the elements are familiar, you've heard it before or think you have and you follow along almost in spite of yourself, absent-mindedly. That's the way of storytelling country music. You follow the story. It's not hard to guess as you go along that the things in "Down From Dover" won't come to a good end, but it is hard to anticipate how far it will go. How bleak it will become. How hard it will hit. It's sad. People cry when they hear it. I have cried listening to it. It's relentless and doesn't let go until it's finished with you. You think it's corny—it's arguably made of corn—but the irreducible truth is there. Finally calling it corn is so inadequate to its powers that almost certainly a trick of perception has been played on you. This is hardly the only place Dolly Parton pulls off such stunts, but it might be the best one she ever did.