You may remember a previous compilation, Ultimate Dolly Parton, that was released a couple of years ago. The standard American version was a single CD containing 20 tracks. The UK version had those tracks plus a bonus re-mix of Early morning breeze. There was also a double-CD version that contained 36 tracks, available by mail order only from one outlet in the USA, which did not allow orders from outside the USA. However, this version was released as standard in Germany so anybody who wanted it could by the German version if they couldn't buy (or didn't know about) the mail order version - it is available from several Amazon sites. This new compilation is a re-packaging and re-issue of that double-CD with one extra track added - Shine. Therefore, if you've already got the 36-track version of Ultimate Dolly Parton, you don't need this - you can buy Shine elsewhere. The remainder of this review is for those who haven't got the 36-track double CD.
To anybody who already owns a compilation of Dolly's music for RCA, the track listing here has a familiar look to it with few exceptions. The exceptions are Please don't stop loving me, a sensational duet with Porter Wagoner not normally included on Dolly's solo compilations, To know him is to love him, from the first Trio album, and Why'd you come in here looking like that, from Dolly's period with Columbia.
The other tracks here include many Dolly classics, notably Jolene (her only UK top ten solo hit), Islands in the stream (a duet with Kenny Rogers that became a USA number one pop hit and UK top ten hit), Here you come again (a USA top three pop hit), Coat of many colors (Dolly's autobiographical signature song), Bargain store (which some radio stations thought too risqué), 9 to 5 (a USA number one pop hit), It's all wrong but it's all right (much more risqué than Bargain store), My Tennessee mountain home (a look at the good times in her childhood), Love is like a butterfly (one of Dolly's finest romantic songs), The seeker (another great romantic song though this one can also be interpreted as a gospel song), Mule skinner blues (a cover of a Jimmie Rodgers song that provided Dolly with her first major American country hit - it made the top three), Joshua (her first number one country hit) and Dumb blonde (her first country hit of any size - it made the top thirty).
Even 37 tracks can't include everything though I will admit to being particularly disappointed at the omission of Yellow roses, a number one country hit and one of my favorite Dolly songs. Other omissions include Real love (a duet with Kenny Rogers), Applejack, Baby I'm burning, Think about love and Do I ever cross your mind.
If you only want one collection of Dolly's music covering both her traditional country and her pop-country music, make it this one. Even if you want to build a collection, this is a great way to start.