Originally created 10/11/05

Review: Dolly Parton, 'Those Were the Days'



On her new CD "Those Were the Days," Dolly Parton offers renditions of 12 songs from the 1960s and thereabouts that originated with some of that era's most prominent artists - Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Pete Seeger, among them.

Joining Parton to sing the works of those big names are other big names, including Norah Jones, Alison Krauss, Keith Urban, Judy Collins, and the gang from the Grand Ole Opry.

The result is a mostly appealing set of classics that, despite some nips and tucks, should make baby boomers - of which Parton is one - wax nostalgic.

"Those Were the Days" is an appropriate choice for introducing the set. Parton's version of Mary Hopkin's huge hit stays fairly true to the original. Porter Wagoner and Hopkin herself help out, although their contributions are subtle.

Some other cuts also feature artists who had a hand in the originals. Kris Kristofferson on "Me and Bobby McGee," Tommy James on "Crimson and Clover, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds on "Turn, Turn, Turn" and Collins on "Both Sides Now."

"Twelfth of Never," Johnny Mathis' lush and tender ballad, gets a twangy, down-home, fiddle-and-banjo treatment in a duet with Urban.

Two songs that were not hit singles are among the album's most appealing: "Where Do the Children Play," Cat Stevens' pleasant ballad about the cost of progress; and "The Cruel War," Peter, Paul and Mary's gentle folk song in which Parton yearns to join her "Johnny" as he goes off to war.

The set ends with John Lennon's "Imagine," on which David Foster plays piano and those bluegrass fiddles become violins.