Dolly Parton Those Were the Days

The concept is interesting enough; Dolly Parton selects some of her favourite songs of the ’60s and ’70s, enlists the help of some of the original performers (including Roger McGuinn, Yusef Islam, and Tommy James) and puts her personal stamp on each track. It’s a pure enough idea so why does the end result sound so glossy? Parton is in fine form, her voice as full and jubilant as ever but there are instances where her jauntiness is overpowering. Her take on folk songs like "Blowin’ in the Wind,” "Both Sides Now” and "Turn, Turn, Turn” are far too Sesame Street to be taken seriously. The bluegrass accompaniment is not enough to mask an unfortunate duet between Parton and Keith Urban on "Twelfth of Never” and, despite the author’s presence, all the grit is sucked out of Kris Kristofferson’s "Me and Bobby McGee.” Virtually every song here would’ve fared better with minimal accompaniment and Parton’s delicate voice. (Sugar Hill)