DOLLY PARTON: Halos & Horns: CD

This was an impulse buy. My cousin who works for a big recording studio told me about this. He told me that this was brilliant! Brilliant?!? That peaked my curiosity. I am one not to appreciate country music. I think of it as top forty music with a twang in the vocals. At least that is what modern country sounds like to me. I do like Dolly Parton’s song “Jolene,” which was covered with perfection by the band Strawberry Switchblade back in the ’80s. I was at Best Buy anyway, buying some blank discs for the computer when I saw this out of the corner of my eye. I grabbed it and said what the hell. I was there to also pick up the new Tracy Chapman. The first thing I noticed on the package when I got home is that she is doing a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” That alone makes it a great purchase. Can’t wait to hear it. I popped the sucker on to hear the stripped down, old school country I remember hearing as a child back in the ’70s. Very rootsy and not annoying like the overblown pop that passes as country these days. I discover another cover in this release and it’s Bread’s “If.” I didn’t recognize it at first, but I knew I had heard it somewhere. A brief search on the internet rewards my curiosity. I forward through the CD to “Stairway to Heaven.” Here is a song that I could not stand listening to because of how much it was on the radio and being played by students when I was in junior high and high school. They were teaching the song to the guitar students too. I would hear it everywhere. The only time I enjoyed it was the times I would see Dread Zeppelin play it. They took it as their own and made you believe it was theirs. The same with Dolly. She adds her beautiful voice and rearranges the song to make it her own. It’s old school, in the way that people appreciate Johnny Cash. I can’t believe I bought this but I can’t say that I made a mistake.

 –don (Sugar Hill)