Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A long long way from Tennessee

In what can only be attributed to early onset dementia - or, more likely, my ever present absent-mindedness - I nearly forgot that today was Dolly Parton's 64th birthday! Yep, she's 64 years old and she doesn't look a day over...well, I don't know that I can answer that question.

I wasn't sure what I would write about, as I already did my favorite Dolly songs last year (those haven't changed much), and posted random videos of her two years ago (and most of those have been removed, damn it.) She's also a frequent subject on this blog, so I was a little worried that there just wasn't anything left to say about Dolly that I hadn't already said.

Don't believe that for a single minute.

For Christmas this year, I got two Dolly related items, the Dolly Live In London CD/DVD and the brand new 4-disc box set Dolly. The live CD and DVD, I'm sorry to report, was completely and utterly bungled. Neither the CD nor the DVD contain the whole concert. Also, as seems to be more and more the case these days, Dolly's vocals have been manipulated such that many of the songs have lost their "live" feel. It also helps nothing that the show was filmed at the 23,000 seat O2 in London and the intimacy that was felt at the two shows I saw is not present at all in the concert footage. A complete misfire and ultimately disappointing as that live show was so good.

The Dolly box set, on the other hand, is very enjoyable. Predictably, I have a lot of the songs already, but the first two discs really have a lot of very early Dolly, including stuff with Porter Wagoner that I would never be inclined to seek out on my own that it is worth the price of admission. Sure, by the time you get to disc three and four, the usual suspects that have been on a million Dolly hits packages start to show up ("Here You Come Again," "9 to 5", "Two Doors Down," etc. etc.), you forgive it because 1) it's Dolly and 2) the rare and unreleased tracks more than make up for it. It's also provides for a fun chronological listen, even though it is far from complete as the last song is from 1993.

My favorite of the unreleased tracks is one called "Eugene Oregon" which came out of the sessions for My Tennessee Mountain Home in 1972. It's classic Dolly and really, that says it all. I'm glad it finally saw the light of day on this box set. You can stream it here for free.

Happy birthday Dolly! And hurry up on that dance record that's supposed to be coming out. If it doesn't contain a remixed version of "Potential New Boyfriend" there will be words.

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