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Dolly Parton – Blue Smoke

By • May 14th, 2014 • Category: CD Reviews

Review by Stratman

“Blue Smoke” is the newest offering from Dolly Parton and is the name of the title cut from her 42nd studio album. It is being released through Dolly Records and Sony Masterworks. Dolly has had a career stretching (5) decades in which she has sold more than 100 million records that includes (25) albums that have been certified at least gold or more. Twenty five songs have topped the Billboard Country Chart and at least (110) singles that also have at least charted. That’s quite a feat for the little lady from Tennessee.

This CD gets its name, songs and sounds from the Smoky Mountains she loves to call home. Dolly also uses the title of the CD as the name of her 2014 Australian / New Zealand tour. It also shares the joy of the bluegrass music she loves and that’s played there. You will actually find yourself listening to the lyrics. There is something to like about every song on this CD, and, there is no specific genre’ here. It is neither bluegrass, country, or pop for that matter, but all works well together.

The title track, “Blue Smoke” leads the album off. It is a great “toe tapper” with a heck of a dobro and that makes this a great opening song for the CD. The next cut is “Unlikely Angel” and is one of my favorites on the album. There are plenty of great harmonies and the lyrics make this a true love song. “Don’t Think Twice” is a Bob Dylan cover and it was always one of my favorites and Dolly’s version is a great re-make of it. The harmonies are great as well as the musicians that play on it.

“You Can’t Make Old Friends” is the first of two duets on the CD. This one features old friend and singing partner, Kenny Rogers. Very nice song and it’s good to hear them together again. Our next track, “Home” has a rockin’ start to it. Dolly will explain to you that “there’s no place like home”   and it’s the Smoky Mountains, not Kansas! The next song, “Banks of the Ohio”, is a tragic ballad, performed well, but not my cup of tea as I am not into tragic songs. Sorry, just sayin’……..

“Lay Your Hands On Me”. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. That’s right. This is a cover version of Bon Jovi’s hit and Dolly rocks it out and the CD is the better for it. I like this version. The ballad “Miss You – Miss Me” is a touching tribute to how much she misses the good times she had with her father and how much she loved him and wonders if he is missing all the things they did together. We all should feel this way about our parents. Great song Dolly.

“If I Had Wings” is a really nice song where the harmonies engulf you and flow nicely. Another well written and performed song. In “Lover Du Jour”, Dolly makes it perfectly clear that she is NOT a one night stand! She tells it like it is through some very exacting lyrics. You’ll like the “talkin’ dobro at the first of the tune. Willie Nelson teams up with Dolly for the second duet on the CD called “From Here To the Moon and Back”. The harmonies are truly great as is Willie and Dolly’s solo parts, and Willies guitar work is very evident on the cut.

“Try” is the wrap up tune of the album and a perfect ending to a superb album. Dolly’s vocals shine on her wonderful lyrics and it has a great message:”

                                                          “You can do it but only if you try!”

This is one of Dolly’s finest albums and I suggest you go get a copy real soon. I enjoyed listening to it as I did my review. Good work little lady.

Rating: A+



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