Dolly Parton: Live and Well (Sugar Hill)

 |   |  1 min read

Dolly Parton: Live and Well (Sugar Hill)

The dinner was going well until someone said they didn't like country music, and someone said they didn't mind it. Then we tried to define our terms.

Was Shania Twain country? Nope, she's a property investor said Dave.

Emmylou Harris was still country, Joe Ely and Tom Russell were sort of although we liked them because they were also Tex-Mex rockers.

Then things got difficult. Steve Earle (sometimes, sometimes rock), Lucinda Williams (hmmm, maybe sometimes) and Willie Nelson (definitely, even when he sings pop ballads). And whatever Dolly was, we liked her anyway.

Which seems as good a place to start on an artist some will call singer-songwriter, some will consider country.

Live And Well was recorded in her Dollyworld concert hall two years ago and favours songs from her three recent bluegrass albums - The Grass is Blue, Little Sparrow, Halos and Horns - which are among the best of her long career.

This double disc finds Dolly in typically celebratory mood (she rocks in with Orange Blossom Special/Train,Train) before taking her audience into some of the just plain pity-full sad songs in her current repertoire.

She throws in favourites (Coat of Many Colors, 9 to 5, Jolene), an a cappella medley (Islands in the Stream, Here You Come Again) and delivers affecting versions of Neil Young's After the Goldrush and Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven. And she closes with a song she wrote which became a pretty big hit for someone else, I Will Always Love You.

Dolly is still a star, a significant songwriter, and her onstage wit is both self-mocking and amusingly honest. Fans might want to grab the DVD of this for the full be-wigged experience. The lump of coal that became a diamond.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

China Forbes: '78 (Inertia)

China Forbes: '78 (Inertia)

To be honest, I don't like this as much as everybody who has heard it when it has been playing at my place. I put it on and thoroughly enjoy the lightweight pop-rock quality of it (mid-period... > Read more

Black Keys: “Let's Rock” (Easy Eye)

Black Keys: “Let's Rock” (Easy Eye)

The first time I saw the Black Keys was at a Kings Arms gig when they were just starting out and were being acclaimed by the bFM crowd as some kind of alt.blues band. They were pretty dire and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Haysi Fantayzee: Jimmy Jive Jive (1983)

Haysi Fantayzee: Jimmy Jive Jive (1983)

It's entirely possible that this British pop duo (with the svengali figure of Paul Caplin guiding their brief career) spent more time in make-up than they did on the charts: they knocked out four... > Read more

Various Artists: Next Stop Soweto Vol 3; Giants, Ministers and Makers (Strut)

Various Artists: Next Stop Soweto Vol 3; Giants, Ministers and Makers (Strut)

Subtitled "Jazz in South Africa 1963-1984" this is the third volume in the excellent Strut excavation of crucial SA music which has previously picked up Township jive music and mad... > Read more