A Little At A Time

Album: Touch Your Woman (1972)
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Songfacts®:

  • Dolly Parton was singing about working women long before she wrote "9 to 5" for the secretarial revenge comedy of the same name. In this tune from her ninth solo album, she tells the story of an average working girl trying to make ends meet "in this charge-account, credit-card, Pay-for-it-a-little-at-a-time world."

    "A little at a time is how you live your life," Dolly explained in her 2020 book, Songteller. "The song has things in it that everybody goes through, every single day. People go in debt for the things they want. It's about people just trying to get by, every day. I love my working-girl songs."
  • Dolly's been a singer-songwriter since she was a little girl, but it wasn't hard to get into the mindset of her financially strapped character, especially since she grew up poor. She went straight from high school to Nashville in 1964, but she quickly realized she needed to get a job to pay the bills. She found work answering phones at an outdoor sign company called Northern Outdoor Sign. The gig was most likely short-lived; the following year, she signed a recording contract with Monument Records.
  • 1972 also brought two hit duet albums with Porter Wagoner, The Right Combination - Burning the Midnight Oil and Together Always, which both landed in the Top 10 of the Country Albums chart. But it was her solo album that brought her a Grammy nomination for the title track, "Touch Your Woman."

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