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Little Sparrow

4.8 out of 5 stars 130 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 23, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Inspiration takes wing on Little Sparrow. With its soaring harmonies and sprightly acoustic arrangements, Dolly Parton's second bluegrass-oriented album (following 1999's The Grass Is Blue) recalls the unaffected purity of her Coat of Many Colors and Jolene days in the 1970s. Rarely does a veteran artist sound so renewed, as Parton applies her bittersweet trill to a selection that extends from a majestic reading of Collective Soul's "Shine" through a banjo-driven breakdown on Steve Young's "Seven Bridges Road" and a breezy romp through Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick Out of You." Original material such as "My Blue Tears" and "Mountain Angel" brings out the best in Parton, though the overly precious title cut and the girlish "Marry Me" don't fare as well. With the support of vocal acolytes including Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, Claire Lynch, and Maura O'Connell, Parton sounds like she's leading a heavenly choir. --Don McLeese

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Little Sparrow
  2. Shine
  3. I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby
  4. My Blue Tears
  5. Seven Bridges Road
  6. Bluer Pastures
  7. A Tender Lie
  8. I Get A Kick Out Of You
  9. Mountain Angel
  10. Marry Me
  11. Down From Dover
  12. The Beautiful Lie
  13. In The Sweet By And By
  14. Little Sparrow Reprise

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 23, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sugarhill
  • ASIN: B000055YSK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,040 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Phillip Wells on January 24, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Dolly's sequel to her 2000 IBMA Album Of The Year, The Grass Is Blue, bridges the gap between bluegrass and Appalachian folk music, and even includes a few songs with an Irish flavor. Little Sparrow is a stunning blend of these genres and draws material from varied sources, including Dolly's own unparalleled songwriting. "She has proven to be the rarest of figures, a singer and songwriter who became a superstar yet retained the skills and impulses of a serious, seriously driven artist.... An artist of extraordinary skill and astonishing vitality. You must buy this album!
It's no surprise to hear gospel ("The Sweet By and By") on this album, or inspired tributes to Bill Monroe ("Bluer Pastures"), the Louvin Brothers ("Don't Believe You've Met My Baby") or even the Amazing Rhythm Aces ("Beautiful Lie"). Dolly's still on familiar turf with Steve Young's Southern anthem "Seven Bridges Road," a much-covered classic that never reached its bluegrass potential 'til she took it under her wing. And then you come to astonishing bluegrass arrangements of the rock song "Shine," by Collective Soul, and the Cole Porter standard "I Get A Kick Out of You." Oh, and a full-service Irish band, Altan, complete with accordion, bouzouki and whistles.
If Bill Monroe and Cole Porter never met in life, here they meet and get along famously. Somehow, with Dolly in the director's chair, it all flows harmoniously in the same direction, as surely as every river west of the Blue Ridge flows into the Gulf. What she sets out to prove is that there's no good song you can't mountainize, with the right stuff and the right musicians.
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Format: Audio CD
Of course, "The Grass Is Blue" was far beyond "okay"! As great as that album is, this album brings Dolly's serious artistry back to an even higher level. My only problem with "The Grass Is Blue" is its lack of cohesiveness. "The Grass Is Blue" feels like a collection of songs more than it does an album. I'm not saying that's a fault, for they're all great songs, but "Little Sparrow" somehow works as a tight, cohesive album. Plus, "Little Sparrow" reaches an emotional depth not found in "The Grass Is Blue". It is such a treat to join Dolly as she comes full circle round, creating what is easily among the greatest work of her career--not to mention some of the greatest country/folk music you can possibly find today.
This album is more than worthy of a 5-star review, and dare I say it is a perfect piece of art. The opening title track is assertive and compelling, while the next track "Shine On" features some terrific fiddle riffs and builds to a driving bluegrass breakdown. "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby" is wonderfully updated, as well as the gorgeous "My Blue Tears" (I dare you to not feel her cry of "I'll sit here and cry my lonely blue tears"). "Seven Bridges Road" and "I Get A Kick Out Of You" are further superb reworkings of songs that didn't mean much to me before hearing these wonderful versions. "Bluer Pastures" and "A Tender Lie" are beautiful pieces of songwriting and music. "Marry Me" is a spirited hoedown tune that some listeners might be emabarrassed to love, but love it you will.
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Format: Audio CD
Wow! This is getting to be a habit -- brilliant new music from Dolly Parton. Little Sparrow is balanced a bit more toward country than "The Grass Is Blue," but is still a great fusion between these closely related genres. The title track is a sad ballad which Dolly wrote about "love 'em & leave 'em" guys. "Shine" with it's lyric "Heaven let your light shine," is essential Dolly. Written by Ed Roland, Jerry Douglas' resophonic guitar and Chris Thiele's mandolin flurry could almost bring heaven down to earth with Dolly's joyful vocal making us feel that we too can touch the sky. There are no weak songs on the CD. "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby" is an uptempo country tune with "My Blue Tears" being classic slow country. Dolly's rendition of Steve Young's "Seven Bridges Road" really brings out the beauty of the melody as banjo, guitar and mandolin provide acoustic pyrotechnics. "Bluer Pastures" takes us back to the classic days of country music, as does Dolly's reading of Randy Sharp's "A Tender Lie." One of the great moments is the uptempo bluegrass country version of Cole Porter's "I Get a Kick Out of You." Alison Krause's harmony vocals and Dolly's little chuckle at the end make this utterly charming. Dolly wrtoe "Mountain Angel" which is a great country ballad and the uptempo happy fiddle tune "Marry Me." "Down From Dover" is brought back with a great new treatment here. Mairead NiMaonaighi provides the Irish vocal with Dolly on the hymn "In the Sweet By & By." For the third time in a row counting "Hungry Eyes," Dolly shows she is in a prime period of musical creativity in her career. Don't miss out!
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