The Essential Dolly Parton (2005)

The Essential Dolly PartonThe great Dolly Parton has sung her heart out for decades, and her Tennessee voice is one of the most recognizable in music. The beauty of Dolly is her honesty. The opening track of her compilation album is “Dumb Blonde.” No doubt that she is trying to confront the critics that have judged her on looks alone: “Just because I’m blonde / Don’t think I’m dumb / Cause this dumb blonde ain’t nobody’s fool.”

One of Parton’s gifts as a singer is her ability to express herself in every note and word she sings. In “Coat Of Many Colors,” you can hear Dolly’s love for her own mom whenever she sings “my momma.” You can feel a connection and a love for Dolly’s “only one” in “You’re The Only One.”

No matter how many times people sing “I Will Always Love You” trying to emulate Whitney Houston, it will always be Dolly Parton’s song. Whitney had too much music in the song despite her talented, and now legendary, vocals. Dolly knows that the song’s power comes from the lyrics. Throughout the song, there are minimal instruments so her vocals take the microphone, but the words take center stage.

Dolly’s musical range is limitless. She can go from the tearful “Jolene” to the jolly “Love Is Like A Butterfly” to the gospel-inspired “All I Can Do.” If there is one thing that Dolly can do in her music is carry a melody. Listening to “Light Of A Clear Blue Morning,” you can fully understand Dolly’s talent in pitching her voice to the right inflection and tone. In “Tennessee Homesick Blues” she creates the mood without singing words. She hums.

Dolly was always one to blend music together and try new things. “Two Doors Down” is not your traditional country song as “My Tennessee Mountain Home” is. There are hints of both gospel and R&B with enough guitar to make to confuse it with rock. With country music experiencing a resurgence in traditional sounds, it makes Dolly’s work all the more important as artists look to her for inspiration and this two disc set is the perfect stepping stone.
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Track list:

DISC ONE

    1. Dumb Blonde
    2. Just Because I’m A Woman
    3. My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy
    4. Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel No.8)
    5. Joshua
    6. Coat Of Many Colors
    7. Touch Your Woman
    8. My Tennessee Mountain Home
    9. Jolene
    10. Please Don’t Stop Loving Me
    11. I Will Always Love You
    12. Love Is Like A Butterfly
    13. The Bargain Store
    14. The Seeker
    15. We Used To
    16. All I Can Do
    17. Light Of A Clear Blue Morning
    18. It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right

DISC TWO

    1. Here You Come Again
    2. Two Doors Down
    3. Heartbreaker
    4. I Really Got The Feeling
    5. You’re The Only One
    6. Starting Over Again
    7. Old Flames Can’t Hold A Candle To You
    8. 9 To 5
    9. But You Know I Love You
    10. Single Women
    11. Hearbreak Express
    12. Islands In The Stream
    13. Save The Last Dance For Me
    14. Tennessee Homesick Blues
    15. God Won’t Get You
    16. To Know Him Is To Love Him
    17. Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That
    18. Rockin’ Years
    19. Shine

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