Chris Willman
November 07, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Just Because I'm a Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Various Artists
Producers
Sugar Hill

We gave it an A-

These two tributes rely on conceptual gimmickry — the Louvins’ homage is strictly duets; Dolly’s, just womenfolk — with mutually sterling results. Teaming legends ranging from James Taylor to the late Johnny Cash, brotherly ”Lovin”’ is a harmonic feast, even if spotlighting 32 lead vocals on 16 shortish tracks eventually makes the album feel like one big all-star medley. Parton’s even-better paean runs the Shania-to-Sinead gamut, with only Melissa Etheridge’s painful ”I Will Always Love You” misfiring. The ”Woman”liness commences with Alison Krauss making ”9 to 5” into startlingly funky bluegrass and ends with Meshell Ndegeocello turning ”Two Doors Down” into actual funk.

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