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4.8 out of 5 stars
Blue Smoke - The Best Of
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2014
I was so looking forward to this release. Dolly goes back to her roots on a lot of these tracks.the sound of bluegrass is evident.so nice to hear the voices of dolly and kenny together again with you can t make old friends....a beautiful track that comes from the heart. A varied selection of songs from Dolly. A truly beautiful album that's been put together with love and dedication.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2014
12 tracks featuring duets with Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson on this latest release from Dolly to coincide with her current World Tour.

The CD begins with a rip-roaring title track, full of choo-choos and woo-woos (other appropriate train noises are available), leaving you somewhat breathless. Fortunately the next track, "Unlikely Angel", is one of those ballads that only Dolly can sing so well. Next we have a cover version of the old Bob Dylan classic, "Don`t Think Twice". Track number 4, the best, in my opinion, is the heartfelt duet with Kenny Rogers, "You Can`t Make Old Friends", Recently On Radio 2, Dolly did a 2 hour show entitled `Dollys` Jukebox`, where she stated that this song was recorded on the thirtieth anniversary of "Islands In The Stream". This is followed by another sad longing type song "Home", not to be confused with a Jim Reeves song with the same name. This track will be the first single from the CD.

Strangely, Dolly looks at the next song, "Banks Of The Ohio", with a mans perspective, as opposed to the version by Olivia Newton-John. Still she does it justice, as you would expect. Followed by a raucous covering of "Lay Your Hands On Me". It seems that everybody and their uncle joined in. "Miss You-Miss Me" is a strange tug-of-love story of a child caught in the middle of warring parents, beautifully performed. "If I Had Wings", sensitively sung, follows. The next track, sung partly in French, and entitled, "Lover Du Jour", is an amusing track (listen out for Dollys comments at the end). Willie Nelson accompanies Dolly on the penultimate track, "From Here To The Moon And Back". It is about enduring love, not the Space Race as I had imagined. Finally, "Try", another uplifting song, penned by Dolly herself.

Yes an all-round cracker from `The First Lady Of Country Music`. All Dolly Parton fans probably have this already. If you are not a fan, try it, you will like it, I`m sure.

On the UK release there is also a second CD of `Greatest Hits`, making it all the more worthwhile.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Taking the new Blue Smoke album (the first CD) first, Dolly is clearly still in great form, with plenty of new songs, along with some covers.

The title track with its steam train imagery doesn't appeal to everybody, but it definitely appeals to me. It is interesting to see that, even in America where the last commercial steam trains ran in 1959. these sounds are still part of our culture. Dolly grew up in the mountains well away from the railroads so would not have seen many trains in her childhood, if she saw any at all, yet she still uses the.steam train imagery. This track is my favorite here, but other great original tracks include Home, Unlikely angel, If I had wings and the duet with Kenny Rogers, You can't make old friends.

The covers include Don't think twice it's all right (Bob Dylan), Banks of the Ohio (with added lyrics to explain that Dolly supposedly got the story from a man in prison for the murder; the true story actually dates back to the 19th century)., Lay your hands on me (Bon Jovi) and From here to the moon and back (a song that Dolly originally wrote and recorded with Kris Kristofferson and Jeremy Jordan, but this time she duets with Willie Nelson). I don't think the Bon Jovi song quite works, but the rest of the covers are fantastic.

In the UK, the Blue Smoke album was released with a bonus 20-track hits compilation that I didn't really need, but I won't complain. At least it's a bit different from other Dolly compilations, because it includes tracks from Backwoods Barbie and Better day.

Committed Dolly fans could argue forever about what is included or omitted, but a lot of those fans have all the major hits from whatever period of Dolly's career appeals to them. The bonus CD is presumably designed to appeal to the less committed, and maybe also some fans who have those far only been interested in one part of her career. As such, this CD might do the trick. It features the songs that Dolly is most famous for - I will always love you (the 1982 version from Best little chicken house in Texas, not the 1973 version from the Jolene album as the booklet says), Islands in the stream (with Kenny Rogers) 9 to 5 and Jolene. Along with these, you'll find Coat of many colors, My Tennessee mountain home, Here you come again and Love is like a butterfly, all of them popular well beyond Dolly's core fan base. I'm also particularly pleased to see Applejack included. It was never a hit anywhere and may not ever have been released as a single, but it's a great traditional country song.

My only real quibble is the inclusion of the 2011 version of From here to the moon and back with Kris Kristofferson and Jeremy Jordan, given that the Willie Nelson version appears on the main album. Perhaps the intention is that this 20-track bonus CD will eventually be released on its own.

I bought the album for the new recordings on cD 1 so I'm not too fussed about the other CD, but I will play it and sometimes, and I can see that it includes all the really famous hits while including tracks from Backwoods Barbie and Better day.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2014
Blue Smoke is an album with Dolly on fire, a very original genre somewhere between blues country bluegrass and pop
This album has everything. What was most amazing to me was Dolly's voice is still as young and fresh and gorgeous as ever; in fact I think some of her singing on this album is even better than past years, and in some songs like "If I had Wings" the emotional character in her voice is nothing less than sublime - what an amazing performer. There are some very well picked covers the likes of Bob Dylan and Bon Jovi, but as always enough of Dolly's own brilliant imagination at work.
A very good album and a "must have" for any Dolly fan
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2014
Love this new album of Dolly Parton! I saw her on tv at Glastonbury and was blown away with her new record! A very amazing songwriter. This is the first album I have bought of Dolly Parton so she has gained another new fan! I will be buying more of her albums.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2014
Another great album from a country and western legend. Thoroughly enjoy listening to this album and is now a form favourite in my music collection. Definitely would recommend.
Can't wait to see her in concert!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2014
The latest album from the legendary Dolly P includes a bonus disc of almost her old favourites-many of which she sang at her recent showstopping performance at Glastonbury-including I Will Always Love You, Jolene, 9 To 5 and Coat of Many Colors. The highlights of the album are the title track, Blue Smoke, a catchy song that will become a favourite of audiences, Home, the rockier Lay Your Hands on Me (written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora) and two covers, Don't Think Twice and Banks Of The Ohio. Essential listening from the Queen of Dollywood!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2014
One of the best albums I have heard in a long time. Full of fun, inspiration and love. Amazing. A great album. Love it, love it, love it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2014
I have always loved dolly's voice, the sound of a southern angel?
until know I have only had 2 double best of hits cds.
after reading the reviews I knew I had to buy blue smoke.
tasteful covers and interesting new songs.
plus a phone friendly single hits cd.
every one over 40 needs a copy!
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I love Dolly Parton's music, the sheer energy keeps me going. When I have a long, hard task and my energy levels are low, I just put on Dolly's music and the energy rushes back. "Blue Smoke" is a lovely mixture of new songs and some favourites. The energy is there and coupled with beautiful lyrics - the new album is a fantastic feel-good, pick-me-up and carry-me-along and walk-beside-me essential to my day.
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