And Dolly’s rocking versions of ‘Satisfaction’, ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and ‘Free Bird’ too
About Rockstar, which finally arrives today, Dolly Parton has challenged herself to step out of her comfort zone by focusing on singing rock & roll for the first time in her career. She wrote a few songs for the album, but the vast majority of the tracks are covers, including some surprising choices.
Her version of Prince and the Revolution’s “Purple Rain” delves into the song’s gospel feel, giving Parton room to vocalize all the melisma she can handle where Prince played guitar. It starts with church organ and some guitar riffs from Hendrixy, before she sings the iconic opening line, “I never wanted to cause any sadness/I never wanted to cause any pain” in her signature Tennessee drawl. When Parton sings, “I just want to see you bathing in purple rain,” she looks like she really wants to conjure up some kind of grape Kool-Aid bath. A gospel choir backs her for about two and a half minutes and they bring it all home in eight minutes – about a minute less than Prince’s original.
In her cover of the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” she completely subverts Keith Richards’ iconic riff into something even simpler that sounds a little like tuning up “Start Me Up,” but then the fingers of the guitarist slips and kind of collapses. Still, the rhythm section picks up a good pace and Parton, Pink and Brandi Carlile take turns updating Mick Jagger’s lyrics here and there. In the second verse, Pink skips the cigarette line in favor of “When I’m watching TV, and a man comes up and tells me how white my shirts can be/But he has no right to preach to me about who I am and should be” And Parton sings about putting a “man into action” instead of a girl and later sings about “trying to make a boy.” (Note: Parton has been married since 1966.)
Parton first recorded Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” for herself Halos and horns album in 2002, but for Rockstar she sweetens it with a guest appearance from Lizzo and her flute player, Sasha Flute, who adds a little more flute to the song. Parton is so interested that she even adds a few impromptu rounds of “Stairway to Heaven, Stairway to Heaven” to the middle.
She ends the tour in true rock & roll style with a lighter in the air, singing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” for 10 minutes and 45 seconds — which is about a minute and a half longer than the Skynyrd original and even longer than the 10-minute outtake the band released in Innyrds by Skynyrd. The recording features the voice of late Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zant, along with a guitar solo by Gary Rossington of Skynyrd (who died in March) and the Artimus Pyle Band, which features the former Skynyrd singer. chunk Pyle man. Parton delivers, adding a few “spread my wings and touch the sky” and “fly high” riffs here and there. For the first time, you can shout “Free Bird!”