CD: Dolly Parton, Those Were The Days


Only Dolly Parton could take an album of moth-eaten 1960s protest songs, dress them up in old-fashioned bluegrass and end up sounding more modern than ever.

Joined by old contemporaries and new names on the country scene - including her old nemesis Porter Wagoner and an inaudible Norah Jones - Parton treads carefully with the politics but doesn't hold back on the passion.

She gives a Janis Joplin-inspired performance of Me and Bobby McGee, barely giving songwriter Kris Kristofferson breathing space. A rocking banjo mirrors her excited vocals in Tommy James and the Shondells' Crimson and Clover.

As she trembles with resolve on If I Were a Carpenter and during her lusty duet with Keith Urban on an energy-injected Twelfth of Never it's hard to believe she's 60 years old. As Urban comments: "You give me chills, darlin'."


Betty Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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