It?s Joan Osborne who sums it up best in the promotional material accompanying this tribute album: " Dolly Parton is a gifted artist cleverly disguised as a media superstar and sex bomb." Osborne?s got it right. Beyond and... more » beneath Parton?s well-publicized and oft-caricatured curves and angles, lurks the heart and soul of one of modern country music?s very best songwriters--the best, perhaps, since the great Loretta Lynn. In fitting celebration of the 35th anniversary of the release of Just Because I?m A Woman, Parton?s very first solo album, contemporary leading ladies of country and pop, including Norah Jones, Alison Krauss, Shania Twain, Joan Osborne, Melissa Etheridge, Emmylou Harris, and Sinead O?Connor have offered up worthy new interpretations of some of Parton?s classic compositions. That said, some of the highlights here are from lesser-known singers: Mindy Smith?s haunting rendition of "Jolene," Kasey Chambers? bitter-sweet take on "Little Sparrow," and Allison Moorer?s tender turn on "Light Of A Clear Blue Morning." --Bob Allen« less
It?s Joan Osborne who sums it up best in the promotional material accompanying this tribute album: " Dolly Parton is a gifted artist cleverly disguised as a media superstar and sex bomb." Osborne?s got it right. Beyond and beneath Parton?s well-publicized and oft-caricatured curves and angles, lurks the heart and soul of one of modern country music?s very best songwriters--the best, perhaps, since the great Loretta Lynn. In fitting celebration of the 35th anniversary of the release of Just Because I?m A Woman, Parton?s very first solo album, contemporary leading ladies of country and pop, including Norah Jones, Alison Krauss, Shania Twain, Joan Osborne, Melissa Etheridge, Emmylou Harris, and Sinead O?Connor have offered up worthy new interpretations of some of Parton?s classic compositions. That said, some of the highlights here are from lesser-known singers: Mindy Smith?s haunting rendition of "Jolene," Kasey Chambers? bitter-sweet take on "Little Sparrow," and Allison Moorer?s tender turn on "Light Of A Clear Blue Morning." --Bob Allen
DeeDee F. from NIANTIC, CT Reviewed on 6/11/2007...
What a wonderful tribute this album is to the great Dolly Parton. The songs are rendered beautifully by some of my favorite artists (although there are 2-3 renditions that I don't like and skip over). I found this CD at a yard sale, never knowing it existed, and it has since become one of the favorites in my collection. It's a must-have in my book for any Dolly fan.
C G. (countrygal) from SAINT FRANCIS, AR Reviewed on 4/11/2007...
This is one of my favorites - Alison, Melissa, etc. You can't go wrong with this CD
Wasn't really a Dolly Parton fan, but love this CD
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't been a fan of Dolly Parton (really out of ignorance; I haven't seriously listened to her music), but when I saw Shania Twain talk about and sing Coat of Many Colors w/Dolly Parton on Oprah, then saw Norah Jones & DP sing The Grass is Blue on the Country Music Awards, I had to get this CD. Because the songs are sung by musicians I already appreciated (Twain and Jones), I knew it wouldn't be a bad purchase. It has actually proven to be a great purchase. For someone who isn't that familiar w/DP, it is a great way to get introduced to what a great songwriter she is. The lyrics and tunes are really awesome. On the critical side, I would say that in my opinion, I do not like the Kasey Chambers number. The rest are great. Some are greater than others. The best in my opinion are the songs sung by Twain, Kraus, Osborne, Jones, Lynne, & Smith. I will be replaying those over and over for a long time. Because of this CD, I have come to appreciate DP and am now looking around for her older stuff."
A Mixed Bag
stormy3 | Austin | 03/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album is like the girl with the curl--when it is good, it is very good, when it is bad, it's horrid. That being said the majority of the album is worth the money. However, I will break this down into the good, the bad and what I liked that others might not.
Suprisingly the first track on the album is "9 to 5" by Allison Krauss--a noramlly good song by a normally good singer. However, she slows it way down and mumbles the whole thing, removing the punch the song needs. Another big shocker is the normally good Melissa Etheridge doing an achingly dull "I will always Love You."
Norah Jones does a good version of "the Grass is Blue" but it is really predictable.
Mindy Smith's "Jolene" fell into the good category until I heard the one on One Moment More with it's haunting duet ending.
Shania Twain's "Coat of Many Colors" actually sounds country--unfortunately they cruelly plopped her between country's most heavenly voice Emmylou Harris and twang so sharp it can slice cheese Kasey Chambers. Unfortunately, you can really tell that this song was recorded in four pieces (AKUS instrumentals, Twain's vocals, AKUS vocals, Parton's voclas) and Twain just doesn't have the vocals to really let go and give this song the emotional push it needs.
Dolly Parton's "Just Because I'm A Woman" (bonus Track) is slightly dated, but more than anything else the open and emotional version she did originally is far superior than this overproduced attempt at empowerment. (If she wanted female empowerment she should have sung "Eagle When She Flies" and not simply added an R&B backdrop to a song involving the lyrics "Now a man will take a good girl/and you ruined her reputation/but when he wants to marry that's a different situation.")
Surprisingly, the best cover on the album is from soulful rocker Joan Osbourne on a remarkable back-yard sounding "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind." Here is a rock singer who has talked about doing a country album that shows the vocal chops and musical knowledge to do it.
Shelby Lynne pulls a whole river full of Alabama gospel to turn out a moving "The Seeker."
Emmylou Harris' "To Daddy" disappoints by being the only track on the album previously recorded, but it is one of the best female country songs ever, so, what can you say.
Kasey Chambers does a driving version of "Little Sparrow." Musically, this is pretty much what you would expect form her, but she brings an amazing level of anger to her vocals, so different from the wounded hurt we have grown used to.
Allison Moorer's "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" suffers slightly from the retro production (read record scratchy) yet, the simple, quite joy she brigns to the lyrics takes your breath away.
Stuff I loved which may be off putting:
Sinead O' Connor's "Daggar Through The Heart" starts off stilted, but gets into the rage of he song really well.
I am a HUGE Me'shell N'degeocello fan and I love her rendition of "Two Doors Down," but others might find the funky, sultry mix way too non-country."
"Dolly, you done good."
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Some of Dolly's best songs are given warm and soulful treatments by a number of talented women on this great new cd. It's interesting how many of them have found an earthy, bluesy vibe in the songs ,a marked contrast with Doll'ys original versions, and given them a distinct personal stamp. Alison Krauss kicks things off with a slowed down, bluesed up "9 To 5". Norah Jones' take on "The Grass Is Blue" could easily fit right into her own repertoire. Joan Osborne stands out on a version of " Do I Ever Cross Your Mind" that ranks among the best I've heard, and showcases her remarkable talent. Shelby Lynne takes a gutsy swing at "The Seeker" . Newcomer Mindy Smith gives "Jolene" an edgey, desperate interpretation that is perfect. Emmylou's classic take on "To Daddy" finds it's way back into our hearts. While Sinead O'Connor sounds like Lady MacBeth on a raging and vengeful "Dagger Through The Heart" ( a far cry from Dolly's own sad and tearful version). But the highlight of the record is Allison Moorer's version of "Light Of A Clear Blue Morning". It's intimate and tender, slow and comforting. Conjuring the warmth of the sun and the hope of a brand new day it is truly evocative and incredibly sensual. A comparison to Dusty Springfield may be overused but is truly in order. Can't say enough. Overall, a wonderful tribute record to a talented songwriter and singer."
Worthy of Dolly's Songwriting Skills
Karl Miller | Phoenixville, PA United States | 10/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Long before Dolly became America's favorite punch line, she was an accomplished songwriter, who never got her due because of the roots/country nature of her songs. After 35 years, someone has finally figured out what it takes to show the rest of the world (read: non-Dolly fans) what huge talent this woman was gifted with.
The songs on "Just Because" represent some of the best female authored country songs of the last 50 years, and the talent lined up to perform on this tribute should guarantee some major recognition of this project. And with all of the stars appearing here, it is wonderful to see that a relative unknown steals the spotlight - Mindy Smith's take on Dolly's best song "Jolene" is vocalized in just the manner the lyrics require - this story of a woman pleading for a homewrecker to leave her man alone requires both forthrightness and hurt, and Mindy nails the performance.
Melissa Ethridge's take on "I Will Always Love You" helps you realize what a perfect pop song this is - of course, it is rougher than Dolly's original, and more musically interesting than Whitney's remake.
Love hearing Joan Osbourne and Meshelle Ndegeocello on this project - they have two of the most unique voices in music, and have been given songs that meet their talent very nicely. And its great to hear Shelby Lynne's quite updated take on "The Seeker" - gospel type music (though this is a vastly different arrangement than the original) suits Shelby's husky vocalizing.
Even Shnia Twain's version of "Coat Of Many colors" (a personal Dolly favorite) is well rendered - its suprising to hear what happens when Shania takes it down a notch from her usual grandstanding.
The album closes with Dolly performing the title track of this tribute - this song is from her debut, released 35 years ago, and while updated for this project, the song remains soft and gorgeous - just like Dolly herself.
Great project with a number of outstanding contributions - let's hope this gets enough play that people discover these great old songs, and also get more of an insight into Dolly's many musical talents."
Exceeded all my expectations
stormy3 | 11/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First let me say that I am NOT a Shania fan. Second, while I am a great admirer of Dolly, Joan Osborne, Allison Krauss, Shelby Lynne, and Norah Jones, it was Ms Twain who inspired me to buy this album. How's that for a twist? After seeing her break down in tears on Oprah over the meaningfulness of Dolly's songwriting in her life, and hearing her give emotive folk vocals to Coat of Many Colors, I realized that Dolly's songs were likely to draw great performances out of these artists. How true it is! This album is a fabulous showcase for these artists. I really can't stop listening to it. The biggest surprise is Sinead's amazing performance on Dagger. The only track I skip is Melissa Etheridge - bad, bad song choice. Lastly, Shania, if you're listening, keep it up! Tell Mutt he should do without all that Def Leppard production more often!"