Cheryl L. (appalachiantrainer) from SAINT ALBANS, WV Reviewed on 5/19/2011...
The heartfelt songs on this CD take me back to a simpler time and place. These bluegrass melodies, musical instruments and sweet, sweet vocals speak volumes about the rich heritage of a bygone era.
Nancy G. (Zelda777) from LOUISVILLE, KY Reviewed on 1/6/2010...
Wonderful, top notch album from 3 great voices. They harmonize so well together, with each taking turns on singing different parts.
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 10/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If ever there was perfection in ensemble vocals, it is in the recording TRIO, which finds Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt throwing off the shackles of stardom and creating an overall sound that completely transcends their individual sounds. On this recording, decisions have been made more on the basis of vocal suitability rather than on star power, with the opening "The Pain of Loving You" a case in point. Originally written by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagner, this would seem an obvious selection for a Parton lead vocal--but here the lead is supplied by Emmylou Harris, with Parton and Ronstadt providing flawlessly blended backups that avoid overshadowing Harris' less authoritative singing style.Throughout the recording, the artists play a sort of musical round robin, each taking the lead in turn and each serving the other vocalists with perfectly placed support--with no one artist overshadowing the other, all three speaking with the same musical intent. It is a truly remarkable accomplishment made all the more so through its complete simplicity: there are no complex vocal arrangements, no fussy instrumentals, no studio tricks. This is musicianship pure and simple and flawless in execution.After a memorable "Making Plans," on which Parton assumes the lead, the ladies move into what is possibly their single most remarkable cut: a country-tinged version of the memorable 1950s pop hit "To Know Him Is To Love Him," in which their voices blend and merge to such a degree that it becomes impossible to say which vocalist has assumed the dominate role in the production. Linda Ronstadt comes to the fore with the 1930s Jimmy Rogers tune "Hobo's Meditation" and a remarkably powerful "Telling Me Lies" and "I've Had Enough;" Parton provides understated and lovely leads on the self-authored "Wildflowers," the slightly bluesy "These Memories," and the traditional "Rosewood Casket;" and Emmylou Harris gives a remarkable beautiful lead on the haunting "My Dear Companion."While it is extremely difficult to select a favorite from this recording, if pressed I would give my favorite as the closing "Farther Along," a traditional country gospel tune that features each of the ladies in turn to truly remarkable effect. But it is all good. TRIO is goose-flesh music: so perfectly done that each selection in turn makes the hair stand on the back of your neck. You'll not find finer music this side of heaven, and if the angels really do sing in paradise, this is the sound they make. A truly rapturous, miraculous recording that deserves much greater recognition than it has to date received; strongly recommended.GFT, Amazon Reviewer"
Angels should sound so good
Gary F. Taylor | 05/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you don't have a copy of this CD -- you should! Even if you think you don't like traditional Appalachian music and harmonies, give it a shot. I first heard these three singers had gotten together and planned to do an album together back in the 1970's. It took them 10 years to give us the finished product. By that time CDs had come along, and I bought it on CD. It was well worth the wait. Somehow the three voices blended together are uniquely right. The song selection here is much better than on Trio II. It starts with "The Pain of Loving You," a wonderful song Dolly first wrote and sang with Porter Wagoner in the 1970's. It sounds like the traditional mountain music the original Carter Family might have sung in the 1920's -- back when commercial Country Music was first born. Of course that is the kind of music Dolly, born in 1946, was raised on -- the music of the Carter Family and even older folk songs that brought to America by the first colonists from the British Isles. "Making Plans" is just a very lovely traditional Country song. Dolly first sang it with Porter, but the version here benefits from the angelic harmonies. "To Know Him Is To Love Him" is the old pop standard. This was a hit when it was released from this CD -- and a video of it is still sometimes shown on CMT. "Hobo's Meditation" was written by the "Father of Country Music," Jimmie Rodgers who cut his first record the same day the original Carter Family cut theirs. Linda Ronstadt takes the lead vocal and does a fine job, though it it a man's song. "Wildflowers" is a fine autobiographical song Dolly wrote about how she had to leave her mountain home to make a success in the outside world: "I uprooted myself from my home ground and left. Took my dreams and I took to the road..." "Telling Me Lies" is an absolutely gorgeous lament by Linda with harmony vocals from Dolly and Emmylou. The harmonies on this one song are worth the price of the CD. "My Dear Companion" is a song by Jean Ritchie that sounds like a traditional folk song. "Those Memories of You" is a bluegrass song where Dolly takes the lead vocal and shows everyone how perfect her voice is for bluegrass. No wonder bluegrass fans were so eager to hear her debut bluegrass CD, "The Grass is Blue." "I've Had Enough" is a lovely song but I can't remember it very well, so I can't say much about it. "Rosewood Casket" is a traditional song Dolly must have learned from her mother. No doubt that's why Avie Lee Parton is given a credit for the musical arrangement used here. "Rosewood Casket" sounds like Victorian parlor music that found its way into the folk tradition in the Appalachian Mountains. "Farther Along" is a traditional Gospel song that has the most beautiful harmonies. If angels don't sound like this -- they should!"
Heavenly Harmonies At Their Best
Supernova | Canada | 12/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is just a great treat to listen to. Parton, Ronstadt and Harris were meant to sing together. Producer George Massenburg waved his magic wand in the studio and let these great vocalists produce superlative sounds. The harmonies are on par with anything the sisters of The Rankin Family sang. It helps that this trio had great material to work with. The opener "The Pain Of Loving You" (written by Parton and Porter Wagoner) sounds as fresh today as when it was first written in 1971 - the bluegrass feel to this one is just great. Parton's "Wildflowers" is wonderfully written, but could have been made a lot better by increasing the oomph of the percussion after the first verse and chorus. Ronstadt shows off her vocal chops to great effect on "Telling Me Lies" and "Those Memories Of You" perhaps showcases the trio's harmonies the best. This is a solid recording that has become and will stay timeless. First-rate."
Best traditional country album ever recorded
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 10/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember hearing in 1977 that Dolly, Linda and Emmylou planned to record an album together but I was very surprised when it actually happened ten years later after several false starts. It was certainly worth the wait - indeed, I think it is the finest album that any of them have recorded, separately or together. Given how highly I rate so many of their solo albums, that is saying something special.Some of the songs may be familiar. To know him is to love him is an early Phil Spector song, which was a huge hit in the fifties for the Teddy bears and was successfully revived in the sixties by Peter and Gordon. Both of those versions pale by comparison with the version here. Making plans is a Johnny Russell song that Dolly previously covered as a duet with Porter Wagoner. They had a number two country hit with it, only being blocked from the top spot by Old flames can't hold a candle to you, a solo single by Dolly.The pain of loving you, written by Dolly, is another song previously recorded as a duet by Porter and Dolly. Farther along is a gospel standard. It shares the same tune as Green pastures, a song that Emmylou recorded for her Roses in the snow album. My dear companion is a song by Jean Ritchie, who has written several great songs. Rosewood casket is a traditional song of unknown origin. Hobo's meditation is a song from the pen of the singing brakeman, Jimmie Rodgers. Wildflowers is a song that Dolly wrote about leaving her mountain home in a quest for success. Those memories of you is a cover of a hitherto little-known bluegrass song. Telling me lies and I've had enough are also brilliant.Any fan of traditional country music should listen to this, the best such album I've ever heard or am ever likely to hear."
A match made in heaven
Catherine S. Vodrey | East Liverpool, Ohio United States | 03/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I first heard of this album, I thought, "Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, I understand, but what the heck is Linda Ronstadt doing on that album?" Ronstadt has had her dabblings in country and bluegrass-tinged work, but I didn't see how her voice would meld with those of Parton and Harris. Turns out that Ronstadt grounds the entire album. As Harris and Parton unleash the crystalline purity of their voices, Ronstadt performs the service of grounding everything with the darker, caramel undertones of her own richer instrument. The three together work magic on such country classics as "The Pain of Loving You" (co-written by Parton and one-time co-star Porter Wagoner) and Parton's elegiac "Wildflowers." Not content to settle for only traditional country tunes, they take on Phil Spector's "To Know Him is to Love Him" and manage to turn this teenage weeper into a reflection on mature love. Backed up by such greats as Albert Lee and Ry Cooder, this album is the richest of collaborations among musicians at the peak of their powers."