Some country fans do not like Dolly's Hollywood recordings, and regard this as her sell-out period. While I generally prefer her more country recordings (which are still under-represented on CD, though things are improving slowly), my very first Dolly album was Here you come again. This was her first Hollywood album and it is still among my favorite Dolly albums of all time.
So, I enjoy her Hollywood music (with a few exceptions, none of which made it on to this CD). This CD includes eighteen of her most successful hits from 1979 to 1986 (about half of them were #1 country hits, while two of them were also #1 pop hits), plus two earlier tracks.
The oldest track here is To Daddy, which Dolly wrote and recorded for her All I can do album of 1976. Emmylou heard the album before it was got ready for release and immediately recorded To Daddy. Dolly was so impressed by Emmylou's cover that she dropped it from the album and included another song instead. Dolly eventually had a hit with a live version of the song on Columbia (to be found on her Heartsongs album and two Dolly compilations on Sony). It is probably that hit which prompted RCA to include the original version here - and it's every bit as good as Emmylou's version.
Other reviewers have failed to notice another rarity here - Real love. The version included here is a solo recording. It was a #1 country hit for Dolly and Kenny singing it as a duet, and it is the duet version which is normally to be found on compilations of Dolly's music, and which appeared on the original LP.
The second oldest song here is her re-recorded version of Two doors down, one of her pop hits from the Here you come again album. (For the original version of Two doors down, you must seek out the Australian import Legendary, which I've also reviewed, and which contains a lot of the same songs.) Other tracks from Here you come again, plus some from 1978's Heartbreaker, can be found on Essential Volume 2.
The remaining tracks are taken from the albums Great balls of fire (1979), Dolly Dolly Dolly (1980), 9 to 5 and odd jobs (1981), Heartbreak express (1982), The great pretender (1984), Real love (1986), two soundtracks (Rhinestone and Best little chicken house in Texas - yes, I know it wasn't really a chicken house) and Kenny's 1983 album, Eyes that see in the dark. Sadly, Dolly's 1983 album, the wonderful Burlap and satin, is not represented at all, though several tracks have appeared on other compilations.
Some of these tracks have appeared on many Dolly compilations, but apart from To daddy and Real love, there are other tracks that don't come round too often - Sweet summer lovin', Single women and the two Rhinestone tracks (the countriest recordings here apart from To daddy and Old flames), Tennessee homesick blues and God won't get you.
Whatever you may think of this period of Dolly's career, these recordings helped to massively increase her popularity. It is possible to enjoy both these recordings and her more traditional country. I should know - I love both. And if you want all the essential RCA recordings by Dolly, you must not only buy volume 2, but also The Essential Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton. That's the best of the lot !!!!