Something Special (Columbia/Blue Eye, 1995)
Reviewed by Norm Rosenfield
For an entertainer who released over 60 albums, the title might be seen as looking for trouble, especially coming off last year's "Heartsongs" where Parton reached way back into the songwriter's catalogue for a moving series of performances. The new disc doesn't quite deliver the same measure of emotion and spirit, but does contain a winning collection of country-pop truths. Two 20-year-old children have come back home in honor of the occasion, "Jolene," and "I Will Always Love You." On the latter, Vince Gill and Dolly make nice in a duet in spite of low readings on the chemistry scale. Out of the four actual new songs. "Crippled Bird," a sad tale comparing a broken heart to a bird's broken wing, comes closest to a Kentucky hills lullaby. The disc works on a number of levels, from its pseudo-South African guitar rhythms to the smooth Gill-esque Telecaster riffs. "Change" is the largest dose of string-sweet pop you're bound to find this side of Dollywood, but Dolly delivers heartfelt sentiments on the well worn but true message that change is the only thing staying the same. "Green-Eyed Boy," a tale of a young girl's crush on a lad with traffic light-colored headbeams, sports some great fiddle and slide guitar. Had there been more new material, the title might have been more justified. Still, variety and quality almost compensate enough.
CDs by Dolly Parton