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Cowboys In Cyberspace - CD Reviews

VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Just Because I'm A Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton Sugar Hill / Shock Records SHCD 3980
Remembering Patsy Cline MCA Nashville / Universal Music Australia 170 297-2
Livin', Lovin', Losin' - Songs of the Louvin Brothers Universal South / Universal Music Australia 038 628-2

CD cover
CD cover
CD cover
Released last year to mark the 35th anniversary of the original Just Because I'm A Woman (Dolly Parton's first RCA solo album) this album features a cast of female stars paying tribute to Dolly the songwriter. While she has become World-renowned as a performer, the quality and depth of Dolly's songs has too often taken a back seat to her flamboyant stage-persona. This collection should help redress the situation as the 'star-power'' of these singers cover Pop, Rock and Country, and yet there is a wonderful consistency to the tracks. It is hard to pick standout tracks, such is the quality here, but Joan Osborne really captures the poignancy of Do I Ever Cross Your Mind, the original definitive cut of To Daddy by Emmylou Harris is here, while Kasey Chambers contributes her own version of Appalachian angst to Little Sparrow. Mindy Smith adds a new slant to Jolene, (the video of which can be found on Mindy's new CD One Moment More that also includes a ‘hidden track' of Jolene featuring Dolly on harmony) and Shania Twain teams with Alison Krauss + Union Station for a delightful version of Coat of Many Colors . Even the most musically adventurous tracks on the album are successful and Dolly herself rounds things off nicely with a new version of the title track. Executive Producer Steve Buckingham provides some interesting liner notes, along with quotes from some of the artists and lyrics to the songs.

How do you pay tribute to a singer, not a writer? To copy the vocal style of a renowned performer would be redundant, yet to ignore it would surely deny the very essence of that which made them great. This is the conundrum facing Remembering Patsy Cline, an album that tries to sidestep the issue by in fact being a tribute to another album; Patsy Cline's 12 Greatest Hits which has sold close to10 million copies. While Patsy could easily take a Jazz or Pop standard and make it Country the reverse is not true of the 'Jazz' singers on this compilation. It gets off to a false start with Natalie Cole's version of I Fall To Pieces that wanders off the mark and Norah Jones, who shines on the Dolly tribute, is hampered by the backing on Why Can't He Be You. The situation is redeemed by Lee Ann Womack who adds a tasty blue note to She's Got You, Terri Clark who puts the right amount of sass into Walkin' After Midnight (featuring excellent work by her touring band) and Martina McBride who shines on Sweet Dreams (of You) with outstanding acapella backing from Take 6. It is 41 years since Patsy died, but in her relatively short recording career she set the standard for many singers to come.

The Louvin Brothers were topping the charts at the same time (late fifties, early sixties) and while they may not be household names today, their influence resounds throughout almost every harmony duo in Country music and beyond. Charlie Louvin and his late brother Ira inspired everyone from Elvis Presley to Elvis Costello. Producer Carl Jackson and co-Executive Producer Kathy Louvin (Ira's daughter) found no shortage of major stars queuing to pay homage to the brothers and the respect for their music pervades this set.  Livin', Lovin', Losin' - Songs of the Louvin Brothers scored two well deserved Grammy awards recently: Country Album of the Year and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals - How's The World Treating You by James Taylor & Alison Krauss.  Other outstanding voices on the album include Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Ronnie Dunn, Glen Campbell, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash and, well just check the track listings below. Every cut is a gem, from the weepy waltzes to the glorious Gospel, and all the artists are inspired and in excellent form. Not to be missed!

-BOB HOWE

LINKS:
Just Because I'm A Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton
Remembering Patsy Cline
Livin', Lovin', Losin' - Songs of the Louvin Brothers

TRACK LISTINGS
Just Because I'm A Woman:
Songs of Dolly Parton
1.Alison Krauss, 9 to 5
2.Melissa Etheridge, I Will Always Love You
3.Norah Jones, The Grass I s Blue
4.Joan Osborne, Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
5.Shelby Lynne, The Seeker
6.Mindy Smith, Jolene
7.Emmylou Harris, To Daddy
8.Shania Twain with Alison Krauss + Union Station, Coat of Many Colors
9.Kasey Chambers, Little Sparrow
10.Sinéad O'Connor, Dagger Through The Heart
11.Allison Moorer, Light Of A Clear Blue Morning
12.Me'Shell N'dedgéOcello, Two Doors Down
13.Dolly Parton, Just Because I'm A Woman
Remembering Patsy Cline

Natalie Cole - "I Fall To Pieces"
Norah Jones - "Why Can't He Be You"
Amy Grant - "Back In Baby's Arms"
Diana Krall - "Crazy"
Michelle Branch - "Strange"
Lee Ann Womack - "She's Got You"
k.d. lang - "Leavin' On Your Mind"
Terri Clark - "Walking After Midnight"
Rebecca Lynn Howard - "You're Stronger Than Me"
Patty Griffin - "Faded Love"
Jessi Alexander - "So Wrong"
Martina McBride - "Sweet Dreams (Of You)"
Livin', Lovin', Losin'
- Songs of the Louvin Brothers
1. Introduction to Ira and Charlie Louvin
2. Cash On The Barrelhead - Joe Nichols/Rhonda Vincent
3. My Baby's Gone - Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell
4. How's The World Treating You - James Taylor/Alison Krauss
5. I Can't Keep You In Love With Me - Vince Gill/Terri Clark
6. Must You Throw Dirt In My Face - Merle Haggard/Carl Jackson
7. If I Could Only Win Your Love - Ronnie Dunn/Rebecca Lynn Howard
8. When I Stop Dreaming - Glen Campbell/Leslie Satcher
9. I Wish You Knew - Kathy Louvin/Pamela Brown Hayes
10. New Partner's Waltz - Linda Ronstadt/Carl Jackson
11. Are You Teasing Me - Patty Loveless/Jon Randall
12. I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby - Harley Allan/Dierks Bentley
13. You're Running Wild - Larry Cordle/Carl Jackson/Jerry Salley
14. The Angels Rejoiced - Dolly Parton/Sonya Isaacs
15. Let Us Travel, Travel On - Marty Stuart/Del McCoury
16. Keep Your Eyes On Jesus - Pam Tillis/Johnny Cash with the Jordanaires

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