Dolly Parton, Jolene
Big-voiced two-steps and lonely minor-key folk gloom surround these country classics
Dolly Parton's Jolene inevitably revolves around the matched pair "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You." The former, covered by renegades from the Geraldine Fibbers to White Stripes, ranks with the most devastating country songs ever written — a plain Jane intensely pleading with an auburn-haired jezebel not to steal her man. By "I Will Always Love You," later transformed into one of history's longest-running pop hits by Whitney Houston, the man is gone, but the woman pledges eternal devotion regardless. The decidedly unplain Dolly surrounds these classics with both big-voiced two-steps and lonely minor-key folk gloom that carries you back to her Tennessee mountain home. And the expanded reissue of Jolene adds four new tracks, including one where Dolly sings with unironic innocence about her dog, one where her man mutters another woman's name in his sleep just like in "Jolene," and one where Dolly convincingly plays the other-woman role herself.