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The Poor Girl's Got To Make A Livin, But...
on May 21, 2014
Dolly Parton is great. That Magical Voice. That more than Magical Personality... hey, most people don't remember this, but in the early seventies Dolly sort of toured America, doing Local Market mid-day talk shows, coming on a week at a time to be visiting co-host, well, she would cozy up to those small studio audiences with that 'you-'ll' accent of hers and they'd eat it up -- everybody loved her and she was still just a nobody back then... but when she finally got a hit, well it was easy for her to go National because people, well, they forgot where they knew her from, but they already knew her. I saw her myself on the Philadelphia Mike Douglas Show. So, yes, I know the Dolly Parton Magic. and, yes, she is a great Song Writer, but you have to ask yourself What makes a Great Song Writer. Really, any career with more than just two or three solid hits is amazing. Hits are really few and far between. Now some of her old hits, well, they had a Quality -- almost Organic, like they grew out of some perfect Logos Archetypes of Southern Musical Concept. And, clever too -- take "9 to 5" ... she woke up and poured herself a cup of 'ambition' -- how cute was that!? But most of what's here on Blue Smoke sounds, well, a bit strained and perhaps unfinished. "You Can't Make Old Friends" is good, but I already have it from the superb Kenny Rogers CD. The cover of the Bob Dylan song "Don't Think Twice", well, that is probably the stand out song here. she not only blew the dust off the Bob Dylan version, but added a real nice production concept -- buy it and you'll hear it... when I first heard it, well, it came out of the Blue, so to speak, and I didn't know what I had just heard.. she was layering the lyrics, creating a new break in the song. Oh, and that song, Don't Think Twice, is a perfect Southern Song. You know, there was some controversy about that song. What I heard was that some student from Columbia University was doing a Doctoral Treatise on Appalachian Folk Music, and then one day he hears one of his collected songs on the radio -- Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice". Hmmmm, wonder what happened to that kid -- the Student, not Dylan... we know he went about as far as he could go and then bottomed out. Oh, speaking about old songs.... Number 9 on Dolly's CD is a song called "If I Had Wings", well, as soon as it starts you KNOW you already heard the song, but then it bends off a bit and then you realize that the song is REALLY derivative of another song, and it might take you a minute or two to guess what song is being re-packaged -- "Wayfaring Stranger", an old Folk song from the 19th Century.... it was one of Burl Ives' signature songs and Emmy Lou Harris, who has worked a lot with Dolly, had covered it. But "If I Had Wings" does too much to twist and turn the song away from the classic organic flow of the original "Wayfaring Stranger". And as I said before, it sounds a bit strained and a bit unfinished. Anyway, no Hits here, but Production Quality is high and you need to listen to something in the car, so I gave it a 3 out of 5.