Guest Author - Chris Curtis
The inimitable Dolly Parton has once again broken through her country and bluegrass classification with her newest release. Those Were the Days is a collection of folk classics covers but interpreted with a style that can only be defined by Dolly. The CD is an interesting mix of Dolly's favorites from the 60s and 70s. This CD immediately captured me and drew me into its core.
Although this is pure Dolly, she invited many original artists and song writers to join her. She also assembled a mix of new talents to breathe new life into the old classics. Each cut on the CD reflects Dolly's signature styling and it works perfectly. Throughout the CD, Dolly blends in country and bluegrass influences and touches it with her unique vocal interpretation. Original artists featured on the CD include Mary Hopkins, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Kris Kristofferson, Tommy James, Roger McGuinn, and Judy Collins. New artists include Nicklel Creek, Keith Urban, Alison Krauss, Mindy Smith, Don Tyminski, Joe Nichols, Rhonda Vincent and David Foster. Special guest musicians include Chris Thile, Bryan Sutton, Sam Bush and David Foster.
The title cut, Those Were the Days brings us back into the era of folk, folk rock and early classic rock. While this song was never a favorite of mine, it has a nostalgic feel and sets a good mood for the rest of the CD. Timeless are Blowing in the Wind, Where Have All The Flowers Gone and Where Do The Children Play, each with messages that are as applicable today as they were in their original release days. Roger Miller's Twelfth of Never is rendered in a wonderful duet with Keith Urban. Dolly sings it with such heart felt emotion that Keith is heard at the end of the song saying: "You give me chills, Dolly" and she sure does.
Lighter and more playful are Me & Bobby McGee and Crimson and Clover. While most of us growing up in the 60s feel no one could ever replace Janis Joplin's rendition of Me & Bobby McGee, Dolly doesn't try. Dolly knows her center and gives us her interpretation of the song rather than an imitation of Janis. Crimson and Clover recalls the original 60s psychedelic aura but with more of a country feel to it. Unusual but quite interesting.
The other exceptional cut is Dolly's cover of John Lennon's, Imagine. She's joined in the vocals by David Foster and a bevy of vocalist for a choir effect. This is another song which gives you the chills. It is clearly heartfelt as Dolly builds the vocal impact of the message in the song. Quite chilling. The impact stays with you as the CD wraps up with this beautiful rendition of Imagine.
If you are interested in a wider selection of Dolly's work you can find it here: