Backwoods Barbieby Dolly Parton
Following an incredibly fruitful three-album tenure with Sugar Hill, Dolly Parton makes a much-ballyhooed, and ultimately successful, return to the country mainstream with Backwoods Barbie. But make no mistake -- it's a return on her own terms, as she wrote and largely produced the album for her own newly formed label. Typical of her best work, Parton delivers meaningful songs with panache, conviction, and commanding style, in both songs and arrangements. A strong streak of vulnerability surfaces via lush production touches and Dolly's soaring, aching vocals -- landing a visceral punch with her accounts of a heart bruised, battered, betrayed, and broken. These range from the torch-style, bluesy wailing of "Made of Stone" to the woozy, late-night country blues of "The Lonesomes" to the bitter reflections articulated in the honky tonk-flavored, pedal steel-rich screed "I Will Forever Hate Roses." The Fine Young Cannibals' hit "Drive Me Crazy" is a techno-country fusion that's likely a showstopper in concert, but it's one of Dolly's lesser cover choices, lacking the lyrical and musical depth of her re-imagining of "Stairway to Heaven" on 2002's Halos & Horns or, going back to 1977, New Harvest...First Gathering's country-disco arrangement of Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher" (better than mere words can suggest). On the other hand, Dolly returns, gloriously, to the Smokey Robinson songbook (see the aforementioned 1977 release for her version of "My Girl") for a delicious southern country-soul treatment of "Tracks of My Tears," a beautifully realized production that blends the best elements of Smokey's and Johnny Rivers's hit versions with Dolly's impeccable sense of the lyrics' emotional shadings. The title track is a winning, stone-country, personal ballad in the "Coat of Many Colors" mold in which Dolly asserts, "I might look artificial but where it counts I'm real." Never doubted, not for a second.
- Release Date:
- Dolly Records
Performance CreditsDolly Parton Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Rhonda Vincent Background Vocals
Lloyd Green Steel Guitar
Terry Eldredge Background Vocals
David Angell Violin
Sam Bacco Percussion
Mike Brignardello Bass,Bass Guitar
Terry Crisp Steel Guitar
David Davidson Violin
Richard Dennison Background Vocals
Connie Ellisor Violin
Paul Franklin Guitar,Steel Guitar
Carl Gorodetzky Violin
Jim Grosjean Viola
Vicki Hampton Background Vocals
Paul Hollowell Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,fender rhodes,Yamaha Keyboards,Hammond B3
Carl Jackson Background Vocals
Anthony LaMarchina Cello
Brent Mason Electric Guitar
Jimmy Mattingly Fiddle,Mandolin
Jerry McPherson Electric Guitar
John Mock Harmonium,Bodhran,tin whistle
Jennifer O'Brien Background Vocals
Hargus "Pig" Robbins Piano
Pamela Sixfin Violin
Steve Turner Percussion,Drums
Alan Umstead Violin
Catherine Umstead Violin
Gary VanOsdale Viola
Mary Kathryn Van Osdale Violin
Biff Watson Acoustic Guitar
Lonnie Wilson Percussion,Drums
Aubrey Haynie Fiddle,Mandolin
Darrin Vincent Background Vocals
Kent Wells Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Sonya Isaacs Background Vocals
Billy Davis Background Vocals
Monisa Angell Viola
Derek Wells Electric Guitar
Karen Winkelmann Violin
Bryan Sutton Acoustic Guitar
Janet Askey Violin
Tom Bukovac Guitar,Electric Guitar
Carole Rabinowitz-Neuen Cello
Jamie Johnson Background Vocals
Carolyn Bailey Violin
Alecia Nugent Background Vocals
Marty Slayton Background Vocals
Rob McNelley Electric Guitar
Steve Mackey Bass,Bass Guitar
Sarighani Reist Cello
Zeneba Bowers Violin
Kirsten Cassell Cello
Chris Farrell Viola
Christine Winslow Background Vocals
Rebecca Isaacs Bowman Background Vocals
Dave Talbot Banjo
Technical CreditsDolly Parton Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Kris Wilkinson String Section String Arrangements
Warren "Pete" Moore Composer
Stephen Shareaux Conceptual Assistance
David Steele Composer
Steve Summers Conceptual Assistance
Kristin Wilkinson Arranger
Craig Wiseman Composer
William Robinson Composer
Roland Gift Composer
Kent Wells Arranger,Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Marvin Tarplin Composer
Kii Arens Art Direction
Patrick Murphy Engineer
Robert Behar Costume Design
Betsy Ulmer Composer
Kyle Dickinson Engineer
Warren Moore Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Dolly Parton is one of those artists that inspires a following that often comes across as completely uncritical -- as if the woman walks on water and can do absolutely no wrong. This is actually understandable to a certain extent because the woman exudes tons of charm. She's smart, gracious, has a big heart and a wonderful sense of humor that she often turns on herself with aplomb. But there is a downside to all of this in that she often seems to have this yearning to be all things to all people and this has shown over the very uneven course of her career over the past 30 years. Her move into the pop world certainly paid off with lots of commercial success, but it came at a cost to the artistic integrity that made her such a treasure in the first place. This was what made her return to her roots with a string of albums over the past 10 years or so, so remarkable. Dolly had returned to us from the pop world unscathed. Which is why this album is such a frustrating let down. We have a set of songs that are, in of of themselves, OK but presented in a slick presentation that would have been very radio friendly a quarter of a century ago. As a consequence everything just seems, well, disposable. This might be a solid album for somebody like Shania Twain, but Dolly should be held to a higher standard.
Simply the best. Dolly never disappoints. She is better than ever in this album. If you Love music you will LOVE Dolly!
WOW! This is Dolly as we haven't seen (heard) in quite some time. She takes the talent of writing music and puts it to beautiful music and makes us feel, and believe, we are living her story. It is truly quintessential Dolly. The melodies, the story lines, the passion in her voice. A must have for any country music fan. Great Job Miss Dolly.
Backwoods Barbie is one of Dolly's most exciting albums in years. The album is a great mix of new songs which exhibits many of Dolly's various music styles that we have all come to love over the years. Stand out tunes include Better Get to Livin', Jesus and Gravity and Backwoods Barbie (from the upcoming Broadway musical 9 to 5).
First off, let me announce that I'm a big Dolly fan. Have been since I sat in the first row of a Dolly and Porter concert (well, it might have been billed as a Porter and Dolly concert) at the county fair -- oh, about 35 years ago! But that doesn't discount what a great, great cd this is. I love the story line in "Backwoods Barbie", reminiscent of the classic "Coat Of Many Colors", as well as the catchy melody. Her heartbreak shows in "Made Of Stone" and in the two-sides-to-every-story, her portrayal as the other woman in "Cologne". But the one I catch myself singing to myself is "Jesus and Gravity" -- "something lifting me up, something holding me down..." Her voice is as strong and clear as ever. She says it all in the title track "even Backwoods Barbies deserve a second chance". If you've written Dolly off already, give her that chance.
Dolly is better than ever!!! A solid masterpiece!!! Better Get To Livin' and buying this cd!!! You will not regret it!!!
"Backwoods Barbie" is great. Two of the songs alone, Better Get to Livin' and Drives Me Crazy, are worth the CD's price!
This album is fantastic, once you play it you cannot stop. a great new album from the queen of country. If you liked Dolly in the past then you'll love this new episode of this perfect ladies carrier. An absolute must.
Backwoods Barbie is truly one of Dolly's best albums ever! From the classic country of title track, remniscent of the Coat of Many Colors era, to the poppy remake of Drives Me Crazy, this album will appeal to any country music fan. Dolly wrote most of the songs herself, which makes it even better! It's a must have!
Although many people think Dolly has been gone from the music scene, she's been recording critically-acclaimed bluegrass albums and touring the United States and Europe over the last decade. Dolly has hit paydirt and returned to country music with this CD. The songs are well crafted (9 are Parton originals), and after 40+ years in the business, her voice is as strong as ever. From "Better Get to Livin'", a positive outlook anthem with a "Keith Urban" feel, to the country-folk of "Backwoods Barbie" (think modernized "Coat of Many Colors"), this CD is one hit after another. It's her best "country" effort in a very long time. She obviously and very painstakingly took her time with the writing and producing of this CD. It's been a long awaited collection, and it definitely does NOT disappoint. Country radio is going to have to sit up and take notice of this effort, and if the CD somehow gets buried at radio stations, it's not because Dolly didn't deliver.
Dolly just keeps getting better and better! The new Backwoods Barbie cd is a must have. I love the new songs in addition to the remakes of a couple older pop songs. Should we expect anything less from the "Queen of Country???" LOVE IT!
This is a TOTALY AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CD Way to go Dolly. LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!.
Forget radio, listen to this cd! It's better and Dolly's voice is better than anything you can hear on the top 40. Dolly shines in "Cologne" and "Made of Stone", and gets down right religious in "Jesus and Gravity". She pours out her emotions in all the tracks, and gets pretty feisty in "Shinola". Excellent cd!
In Dolly’s first attempt at mainstream music in years, she got it right. Loyal Dolly fans will recognize her consistent talent and style. They will love it. More important, those who may not have taken to Dolly’s past several albums will find this one a great surprise. A new generation is about to get hooked on Dolly's songs. ‘Better Get to Livin’ is an upbeat and powerful song that will resonate with many of us. This song alone justifies the album. ‘Drives me Crazy’ is a remake and brings the song to a new life. ‘Backwoods Barbie’ is the song Dolly wrote for the upcoming Broadway version of “9 to 5,” and you can see just how the song will fit into the story. I could go on and on. Dolly, you did it! I can't wait to hear you back on the airwaves.
If you are as big of a Dolly Parton fan as i am then you have got to get this CD. I can't stop listening to it. It is awesome.
One of Dolly's best CD's. Great mixture of music and lyrics. Outstanding!
Without a doubt, this country diva still has it coming. She is wonderful on this album with such a unique blend of contemporary country and renditions. I love her celtic-like songs, her Smoky Robinson cover, and flat out the entirety of everything she's done! SUPERB!
This cd is quite something. Standout songs are Backwoods, Shinola, Cologne, and Jesus and Gravity, but several others are superb. A touch overproduced, but you've still gotta have it!
I cannot put into words what an amazing CD this is - it leaves me speechless. Every single track on this CD is placed perfectly and somehow intertwine with one another - and the title track is so sweet and simply put - Dolly puts into words how she feels about how people see her image! She is such a wonderful, talented singer/songwriter and the notes float out of her effortlessly. This CD gets a 10 from me! Way to go Dolly!
Dolly Parton is an international music legend and icon. She is back with her first mainstream country album in 17 years. And what a delight this album is! It truly is her best album yet! You will NOT be disappointed! So many wonderful songs, well worth the price! Dolly's pure voice and amazing storytelling is at its best in "Backwoods Barbie"!
When Dolly decided to return to the style that she invented, that hybrid style of country and pop, one would be curious how it was going to turn out. After years of back to basics (returning to the bluegrass/mountain music that she grew up on) she decided to give another try at being played on the "young" radio...but we all know that by now. What everyone NEEDS to know is how wonderful the final result is with Dolly's return to mainstream. Now I did see the previous review that was angry at her return mainstream and not going on with the bluegrass but as we all know, Dolly has never stayed still and I find it harsh to give the album only one star even if you don't like mainstream music since Dolly's talents deserve better than that! Nine of the twelve songs came from Dolly herself, which is a blessing and she covers two famous hits, first is Fine Young Cannibals "She Drives Me Crazy" "retitled to "Drives Me Crazy"" which many people can admit they were nervous about hearing but it turned out to be one of the most lively songs and absolutely a fun ride to listen to with the genius combination of country/bluegrass and rock. Her cover of "The Tracks of my Tears" is also a sheer delight to the ears and as always she handles each song with respect while making it her own. "Jesus & Gravity", the albums second single, was written by Nashville's Craig Wiseman and Betsy Ulmer, and Dolly handles the song with such a splendor that even the non-religious can be moved by it's message. The rest of the album is pure Dolly, "Better Get to Livin'" the first single is just pure fun. "Made of Stone", "Backwoods Barbie", "Only Dreamin'" and "Cologne" are instant classics, with their beautiful lyrics that either make you cry ("Only Dreamin', "Made of Stone", "Colonge"), understand where her outlandish image comes from (the title track) or just stop you dead and make you say, "Wow." ("Only Dreamin'" and "Cologne"). "Shinola" is beyond a doubt one of Dolly's funniest songs that she's ever written, driven by drums and stunning guitar it has lyrics such as, "Your attitude stinks/and I hate it/ Your arrogant, cocky and rude/your selfish conceded and jaded./Every thing's all about you/You think that I'm lucky to have you/You think you're so handsome, so what/I'm calling you out 'cause I don't need this crap/I'm gettin' myself out of Dodge." The other songs on the disc, "The Lonesomes", "I Will Forever Hate Roses" and "Somebody's Everything" are absolutely beautiful pieces of music, ranging from a jazzy piano bar number to a country waltz. Dolly is still, at 62, sounding as youthful as she ever has as she is still in top form. She is one of those forces of nature that you just have to sit back and watch in amazement. And only the fools consider her too old or too "much" to do anything anymore. She's still better than all of the young talent today, as she proves on this album that she can easily out do all of them by just opening her mouth.
One of Dolly's best. A must have for any Dolly fan
Several years ago Parton aged out of the youth obsessed radio airwaves and the result was a blessing in disguise as it freed her up to make a long overdue return to her roots. Gone was the slick, generic pop of "Here You Come Again," "Nine to Five," etc. and albums like "The Grass is Blue," and "Little Sparrow" were among the very best of her entire career. For some reason Parton seems to have fallen under the delusion that her long absence from commercial radio has made the latter's heart grow fonder and the result is her first attempt at a commercial album in many a moon. The results are tepid at best. Sure, Parton remains in fine voice but the material she attaches it to is pretty much substandard. Her cover of Fine Young Cannibals late 1980's hit "Drives Me Crazy" is just simply embarrassing. As long as the commercial radio airwaves remain in the hands of the likes of Clear Channel, and Americans remain obsessed with tripe like "American Idle" it is most unlikely any female singer over the age of 25 is going to get much in the way of airplay. Let us hope that once Dolly Parton realizes this she will return to the roots music that made much of her work over the past 10 years so compelling.