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Backwoods Barbie

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Album Review

It's been three years since Dolly Parton released a new album, and nearly two decades since she put out anything close to a mainstream country offering, so Backwoods Barbie ought to get some serious media attention, although it remains to be seen whether the now 62-year-old Parton will get much play on the new country stations. The first single from the album, the cloyingly wise "Better Get to Livin'," is certainly catchy enough, but the fact remains that Parton's voice isn't quite what it used to be and she wasn't exactly Patsy Cline in the first place. What she is, and has been all these years, is a true iconic presence in country music, a shrewd marketer, an astute businesswoman (Backwoods Barbie appears from her own Dolly Records), and a frequently brilliant if understated songwriter (nine of the 12 tracks here are Parton originals). Unlike her last couple of albums, which were bluegrass-based, she isn't trying to reinvent herself here, but works in her usual pop and country hybrid style (even tenderly covering Smokey Robinson's "The Tracks of My Tears"), not trying too hard to be contemporary, although the production touches are there (the album was co-produced by Parton and her bandleader, guitarist Kent Wells), certainly, and her version of Betsy Ulmer and Craig Wiseman's "Jesus & Gravity," even more than "Better Get to Livin'," could well find itself in regular rotation on new country radio stations, at least in a fair and equitable world. Other highlights here include the title song, which shows Parton still in tune with her public image (she really always has been, of course), and the beautiful and delicate original "Only Dreamin'," which shows that, beneath all the big wigs and glamour, Parton is still a fine songwriter with an uncommon sense of grace, economy, and wisdom. Backwoods Barbie might not break the bank out there, and it would take a good deal of marketing and luck for any of these tracks to hit the top of the new country charts, but it shows that Parton can still deliver the package in fine style and only the fools among us would ever count her down and out, no matter how many bluegrass albums she does.

Customer Reviews

Best In Years!

Dolly is back with a 12 track Album that is near perfection! There is not one track I would want to skip!!! 1 - Better Get To Livin' - First single, uplifting, upbeat and fun, true Dolly and a classic! 2 - Made Of Stone - True sad Dolly song shining through! 3 - Drives Me Crazy - A song that will be in your head for days, very poppy and perfect for the radio! 4 - Backwoods Barbie - The Dolly song we have been waiting for, a true reflection on her looks and person! 5 - Jesus & Gravity - Truly uplifting and inspiring, this is easily one of my favourite tracks, you will have it on repeat! 6 - Only Dreamin' - We get a climpse of the Little Sparrow CD style on this track, very mellow and engaging! 7 - The Tracks Of My Tears - Bit like Made Of Stone, typical country, nice little tune, that builds up to Dolly's amazing vocals! 8 - The Lonesomes - Piano, Jazz style, Dolly truly shines through vocally, takes a musical side that she hasn't on many occasions before! 9 - Cologne - Easily another stand out track, all about Dolly being the person the guy is having an affair with, clever lyrics, with a catchy tune that just builds and builds! 10 - Shinola - Bit like Cologne, Dolly comes through rough and ready for a fight! She uses some strong language for what we are used to with miss dolly, with one point a BLEEP is heard! 11 - I Will Forever Hate Roses - A typical sad Dolly song, country style! 12 - Somebody's Everything - A song that most people can relate to, a perfect ending to the album, inspires and uplifts! Overall the album is uplifting and leaves you wanting to put it on repeat all day!!! Dolly fans everywhere have to have it in thier collections!!!

Dolly back in country classic

I realise itunes crib their reviews from other publications but they really ought to be choosier. Saying Dolly was hardly ever Patsy Cline is needlessly offensive. Dolly is to country music what Aretha is to soul or Tina Turner to rock n roll - the dictionary definition of a great singer. This first straight country album in nearly 20 years continues Dolly's trend of mixing carefully selected covers ( Smokey Robinson's Tracks of My Tears, a hoedown version of FYC's She Drives Me Crazy) and newly penned classics. Of the new Parton songs, Backwoods Barbie and Cologne are the standouts for me - the former a reflection on her own persona to be featured in the upcoming 9 to 5 musical, the latter a typical Parton story song that has you sympathising with the mistress more than any track since Nina Simone's The Other Woman. Nine years since The Grass Is Blue signalled Dolly's storming return she remains near the very top of her game. I said at the start she's up there with Aretha and Tina but on reflection she might be ahead - I can't think of any singer of her generation who is making such consistently fine music (and that includes Dylan and Springsteen).

Beautiful and Relaxing

Wow is the words that comes to mind. Beautiful songs, even the covers are amazing. A fantastic lady!


Born: 19 January 1946 in Locust Ridge, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

It's difficult to find a country performer who has moved from her country roots to international fame more successfully than Dolly Parton. Her autobiographical single "Coat of Many Colors" shows the poverty of growing up one of 12 children on a rundown farm in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. At 12 years old, she was appearing on Knoxville television; at 13 she was recording on a small label and appearing on the Grand Ole Opry. Her 1967 hit "Dumb Blonde" (which she's not) caught Porter Wagoner's ear, and...
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