Dolly Parton | 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs(RCA Nashville/Legacy)

cd_dolly-parton.jpgIn conjunction with the opening of 9 to 5: The Musical on Broadway, RCA Nashville/Legacy has re-released Parton’s original 1980 album with three additional tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dolly Parton was already a star in late 1980 when her single "9 to 5" was released, to be followed by the movie of the same name and the tie-in album 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs, but the success of all three thrust her career into the stratosphere. The single went to #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Top Country charts (and became an anthem of sort for office workers across the country), the album went gold, and the movie grossed over $100 million.

In conjunction with the opening of 9 to 5: The Musical on Broadway, RCA Nashville/Legacy has re-released Parton’s original 1980 album with three additional tracks. It’s not the movie soundtrack but a concept album (remember those?), a collection of songs about work and hard times. Almost 30 years later, some of the tracks sound as fresh as they day they were recorded, while others serve more as an interesting time capsule of popular taste from another era.

The title tune (written by Parton) has never left the airwaves, and for good reason: smart lyrics, a peppy arrangement and a subject of evergreen interest (the struggle of the little guy to survive while someone else holds most of the good cards) keep it as fresh today as it was in 1980. "Working Girl," also by Parton, similarly transcends its era with a strong lyrics and an upbeat arrangement. "Sing for the Common Man" (by Dolly’s sister Freida Parton and Mark Andersen) shows off her ability to sustain a melody, while "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)" by Woody Guthrie and Martin Hoffman demonstrates how she can break your heart with the simplest of songs.

Leading the less successful cuts is "Dark as a Dungeon" (Merle Travis): This solid country classic is not suited to the high-pitched, breathy delivery Parton gives it. Likewise, whose idea was it to pair an a capella excerpt from "Hard Times Come no More" (by Stephen Foster, although not credited to him on the album) with the country-rock pop song "Hush-A-Bye Hard Times" written by Parton? The pairing seems bizarre in retrospect, and the simple beauty of the former only highlights the inanity of the latter. A beat-heavy rock arrangement of "The House of the Rising Sun" (credited as "arranged by Dolly Parton and Mike Post") is an ill-advised intrusion on a classic song which doesn’t need any modernizing.

The additional tracks include a previously unreleased version of "Everyday People" which sounds more dated in this treatment than it does on the original 1968 release, and two new versions of the title song: "9 to 5": "Love to Infinity Radio Mix 2008" and "Karaoke Mix 2009," which don’t improve upon the original but really can’t do it much harm, either. B | Sarah Boslaugh

RIYL: Backwoods Barbie; Troubadour; Highwayman

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