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The Essential Dolly Parton

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
A splendid tribute to a towering career, this double-disc, 37-track overview follows Dolly Parton through a host of milestones: her first charted single 1967's ironic "Dumb Blonde" -- ironic because she clearly wasn't one; her early autobiographical RCA monuments "Joshua," "My Tennessee Mountain Home," "Jolene," and "Coat of Many Colors"; her tepid flirtation with glossy pop productions "Heartbreaker," "You're the Only One"; and her late-'80s/early-'90s return to a more contemporary country sound, as she finds her muscle again in self-penned numbers such as "Tennessee Homesick Blues" and "God Won't Get You" both written for her movieRhinestone. Although many of the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
A splendid tribute to a towering career, this double-disc, 37-track overview follows Dolly Parton through a host of milestones: her first charted single 1967's ironic "Dumb Blonde" -- ironic because she clearly wasn't one; her early autobiographical RCA monuments "Joshua," "My Tennessee Mountain Home," "Jolene," and "Coat of Many Colors"; her tepid flirtation with glossy pop productions "Heartbreaker," "You're the Only One"; and her late-'80s/early-'90s return to a more contemporary country sound, as she finds her muscle again in self-penned numbers such as "Tennessee Homesick Blues" and "God Won't Get You" both written for her movieRhinestone. Although many of the selections are geared to chart hits, some tunes still jump out as surprising. As a template for Dolly's cover of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" on her 2002 Halos & Horns album, consider the 1974 Porter Wagoner–produced, Parton-penned "We Used To," which cops the opening of "Stairway" and some of its melody and arrangement. Also worth a few more listens is the 1976 country-pop crossover hit "Light of a Clear Blue Morning," from Parton's first self-produced album, in which she meshes southern soul, gospel, and rock in a driving, visceral arrangement celebrating a triumph over hard times. Unfortunately, her wonderful duet recordings with Wagoner are represented only by the 1974 country chart-topper "Please Don't Stop Loving Me," and the Trio Parton with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris is also limited to one haunting track, a cover of Phil Spector's "To Know Him Is to Love Him." This is hair-splitting, though: In a catalogue this deep and rich, two discs cannot say it all. But these two say a lot in a condensed space.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
There have been many, many Dolly Parton compilations over the years, but RCA/Legacy's 2005 set The Essential Dolly Parton is one of the handful that gets it right. Spanning two discs and 37 tracks, this set covers her entire career, from her 1967 debut, Hello, I'm Dolly, to her 2001 bluegrass comeback album, Little Sparrow, but the bulk of this set concentrates on her hitmaking years for RCA in the '70s and '80s. Since Dolly had so many hits, not all of them can be included even on a double-disc collection, but this does a tremendous job of picking the biggest and the best of them. Roughly, the first disc covers her first decade of recording, including a healthy dose of her inventive country-folk material from the early '70s, while the second disc covers her slicker crossover hits from the '80s. Dividing her material in this fashion makes each disc consistent within itself, and helps make this a more listenable set than such similar career-spanning collections as 1993's The RCA Years. While Raven's excellent Mission Chapel Memories: 1971-1975 documents her most creative period more effectively, this tells the story of her entire career, and it's the best of its kind of compilation yet assembled.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/28/2005
  • Label: Rca
  • UPC: 828766924022
  • Catalog Number: 69240
  • Sales rank: 6,146

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Dolly Parton Primary Artist, Vocals
Emmylou Harris Vocals
Linda Ronstadt Vocals
Nick DeCaro Conductor
Kenny Rogers Vocals
Ricky Van Shelton Vocals
Porter Wagoner Vocals
Technical Credits
Ricky Skaggs Producer
Dolly Parton Arranger, Composer, Producer, Executive Producer, Audio Production
Donna Summer Composer
Mike Post Producer
Mort Shuman Composer
Carole Bayer Sager Composer
Robin Gibb Composer
Barry Mann Composer
Bruce Roberts Composer
Phil Spector Composer
Hugh Moffatt Composer
Barry Gibb Composer, Producer
Bob Carlisle Composer
Albhy Galuten Producer
Steve Buckingham Producer, Audio Production
John Conroy Packaging Manager
Nick DeCaro Arranger
Bob Ferguson Producer, Audio Production
Fred Foster Producer
Val Garay Producer
Maurice Gibb Composer
Steve Goldstein Arranger
Gary Klein Producer, Audio Production
Charles Koppelman Executive Producer
George Massenburg Producer
Bill McElhiney Arranger, Orchestration
Michael O'Donoghue Composer
Dean Parks Producer
Gregg Perry Arranger, Producer, Audio Production
Doc Pomus Composer
Karl Richardson Producer
Ed Roland Composer
Mike Settle Composer
Bruce Sudano Composer
Billy Vera Composer
Porter Wagoner Arranger, Composer, Producer, Audio Production
Cynthia Weil Composer
Holly George-Warren Liner Notes
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Vic Anesini Mastering
Raeanne Rubenstein Cover Photo
Margie Hunt Executive Producer
Pebe Sebert Composer
George Vaughn Composer
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