The latest albums by two female Country superstars feature classic cover songs. Martina McBride quickly earned a million-seller with her new collection of Country standards, appropriately titled "Timeless." Dolly Parton took the approach one step further by crossing over Country music's boundaries to revisit some of her favorite pop and folk tunes from the 1960s and '70s on her latest CD, "Those Were The Days."
Dolly Parton pays tribute to several legendary singers and songwriters on her latest album, Those Were The Days. Its title track features special guests Mary Hopkin, who had a Number 2 pop hit with the song in 1968, and Dolly's singing partner from the 1960s and early '70s, Porter Wagoner.
Dolly reached out to many of the original artists and songwriters to sing duets with her, including Tommy James, Cat Stevens, Kris Kristofferson and Judy Collins. She also invited some newer stars to the studio, like Keith Urban, Lee Ann Womack and Alison Krauss. Dolly tells us how she chose the tracks for the album.
"I just went into the studio and put down a bunch of the songs I loved from that time," she said. "And, I tried to pick songs that kind of fit the [current] times, but that kind of flowed well together, and that fit my voice well. And I put enough of my little flavors into them and they become sort of like mine."
For instance, this duet with Joe Nichols, "If I Were A Carpenter," made famous in the 1960s by the late Bobby Darin and the Four Tops, then again in 1970 by the late Country legends, Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash.
A few of the songs on "Those Were The Days" recall the anti-war movement from the Vietnam era. The first single from Those Were The Days was Dolly's rendition of the late John Lennon's peace anthem "Imagine."
"The song, I always especially liked and I think, especially now, it's got a lot of hope and inspiration," she said. "And, I think we all wish we could live in peace and imagine the world with better things. And if we can't do it for real, we can imagine."
"Imagine" was a fan favorite at Dolly's recent concerts. She currently has no plans to tour in 2006, but she has plenty of other projects to keep her busy. They include writing the music for an upcoming Broadway production of the 1980 film 9 to 5. She co-starred in the movie with Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda and took its title song to Number One on both the Country and pop charts. Dolly is also writing a children's book and plans to record an album of children's songs to release with the book.