Dolly Parton Halos And Horns

Okay, anyone who picks up this album will first skip to the last track, a cover of "Stairway To Heaven," so let's get that out of the way. Unbelievable as it may seem, Dolly tackles it as a straight bluegrass tune. I'm still coming to grips with it, so I'll have to deal with the rest of the record instead. Rest assured, every Zep fan owes it to themselves to hear it. Halos And Horns is Dolly's latest in a series of traditionally based albums that have restored her reputation as an archetypal American artist. This time the general theme is sin and salvation (hence "Stairway"), and though the results are sometimes cringe-inducing ("Hello God," a cover of Bread's "If"), more often than not they are generally inspiring (the title track, "Not For Me"). Her backing band is once again impeccable, making the album never less than a pleasure to listen to. However, the deciding factor is how far one is willing to allow Dolly to indulge in bringing a mainstream rock and pop sensibility to bluegrass. It's worth it to get to the good stuff. (Sugar Hill)