Dolly Parton - Live and Well

Dolly Parton
Live and Well

(Sugar Hill)

First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2004, Volume 11, #11

Written by John Metzger


When Dolly Parton embarked on a brief national tour in 2002, it was the first time that she had performed in concert in over a decade. Not surprisingly, the moment has been memorialized with a souvenir collection of material, and Live and Well spreads between its two discs 26 songs that were captured over the course of two evenings at the Celebrity Theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee between its two discs. Although Parton largely played it safe by peppering material from her trio of bluegrass-themed albums (The Grass Is Blue,Little Sparrow, and Halos & Horns) with the requisite hits (9 to 5, Jolene, and Coat of Many Colors), the unbridled enthusiasm of her recitation of the new, combined with the inventive re-visitations of the old, translates into a set that is a cut above most scripted concert compilations. Throughout Live and Well, the ebullient Parton is in fine form and her warbled voice wrenches every drop of emotion out of her lyrics as the acoustic accompaniments provided by her backing band Gary Davis & The Blueniques rise and fall in gentle waves of support. Indeed, the only real problem with the outing is that it incorporates an absurd amount of banter with her audience, which, while entertaining to hear once, becomes downright tiresome on the tenth trek through the endeavor. Otherwise, Live and Well features Parton finding the honest heart and soul of her songs and consequently sounding better than she has in a long, long time. starstarstar

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Live and Well [DVD] is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright 2004 The Music Box