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Dolly Parton - Live And Well 
CD Review: Jim Moulton

Dolly Parton is still very much alive and well after decades of making music. This two disc live full concert is very reminiscent of Alison Krauss's two disc live bluegrass release from a couple of years ago. Dolly has a crack bluegrass band which rivals Union Station, great mandolin, fiddle, dobro, banjo, guitar and upright bass.

I can't say enough of the sonic excellence here, the music sparkles and shimmers. Dolly's vocals are as sweet and strong as ever. Not a pinch of distortion and a full sound which would make a lot of sound engineers envious. 

Recorded live at Dollywood in December, 2002. Dolly's antic's with the crowd and her band are left in tastefully, Dolly is just as much an entertainer as a singer. Her songs take you away, making you joyful or tasting the sadness.
Dolly has quietly been making bluegrass CDs for Sugar Hill Records the last few years and she intertwines songs from these CDs with her standards and a couple of surprises like Neil Young's' "After The Goldrush" and an angelic version of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven". Dolly's vocals can send chills through you, she sings with so much emotion and animation. 

"Little Sparrow" is done better here than on the studio version with great Dobro and backup vocals. Dolly really works the crowd, sending them from a state of awe to frenzy. The crowd explodes when she jumps into "Rocky Top", incredible dobro. Interestingly enough, none of the names of the musicians are mentioned in the liner notes and these folk are very noteworthy. Listening to Dolly's stories and jokes really add to the show, relieving tension and explaining the story behind the song. 

A very mountain music version of "My Tennessee Mountain Home", sometimes, she almost whispers the lyrics, quiet guitar strumming, beautiful dobro and fiddle. By the way, this will be available on DVD also. Beautiful version of "Coat of Many Colors". Her intro to "Smoky Mountain Memories" and the song was really touching to me. Dolly talks about her dad, who is mentioned in the song and his recent death. Well, honestly, this reviewer grew up near there and this brings back memories. 

Of course, "9 to 5" and "Jolene" are included. A total of twenty three tracks make up the two discs. I loved everything about this show, it's like experiencing a full concert in super hi-fidelity. 

Release date 9/14


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