Dolly Parton: Halos and Horns (Shock)

 |   |  <1 min read

Dolly Parton: Halos and Horns (Shock)

Dolly Parton has enjoyed a critical reappraisal these past few years for her excellent bluegrass and back-porch albums The Grass is Blue and Little Sparrow. She turned down that blowtorch voice and went back to her origins in traditional country, but also bought into the style of songs by Billy Joel, Steve Young and Cole Porter.

On paper that looks like an appalling mix, but Parton's smarts, the consistency of tone and the deep subtexts of guilt and redemption made them revelatory albums - even if you didn't like country or bluegrass.

Here she continues to explore a similar emotional terrain (the aching spiritual loneliness of Not For Me and her direct address to her maker on the sonic swell of Hello God), revisits a few personal pieces from her history in a bluegrass style, and offers a couple of unexpected and alarmingly good covers: Bread's warhorse If comes off as heartfelt, and she also offers a reconfigured (with banjo) and lyrically rewritten version of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven.

She also gets saucy on Sugar Hill (sensuality still interests Dolly), and amid the earnestness you can feel she hasn't lost her humour, although for the apocalyptic Raven Dove and Stairway she effectively brings out that blowtorch again.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS... > Read more

The Cactus Blossoms: Easy Way (Walkie Talkie/Southbound)

The Cactus Blossoms: Easy Way (Walkie Talkie/Southbound)

If you don't whisper “Everly Brothers” within 10 seconds of the opening track Desperado (an original) on this album by a duo out of Minneapolis then your music history is woefully... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

PAUL WELLER'S PHASE TWO: THE STYLE COUNCIL. There are second acts in English life

PAUL WELLER'S PHASE TWO: THE STYLE COUNCIL. There are second acts in English life

After six exhausting years in the Jam, singer-songwriter Paul Weller pulled the plug in October '82 and within months re-appeared with his keyboard-playing friend Mick Talbot as The Style Council,... > Read more

James' "no worries" Curried Alaskan King Crab

James' "no worries" Curried Alaskan King Crab

My friend James has appeared at Recipes from Elsewhere with two excellent dishes, his authentically Thai chicken and his chilli lime Thai fish with coriander. But this one is especially special.... > Read more