"TRIO." Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris. Warner Bros.
Who's responsible for some of the most sensual vocals of the pop season? Clue: Samantha Fox wasn't within 50 miles of the recording studio.
No, it's Dolly Parton, who finally--as promised almost a decade ago--joins pals Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris for a country album. Singing lead on "Those Memories of You," Parton manages to impart the forgotten country standard with a subtle voltage that runs like an electric current through the traditional, acoustic arrangement. The sense of loneliness and loss in relatively unsaucy lines like "In dreams of you, my body trembles / I wake up and call your name. . ." is given a real, physical pungence by Parton's smart reading. She's so good, and so real, that you're instantly willing to forgive her all the bad movies and awful crossover records of the last decade.
Of these three warblers, Parton is the one with the most to gain (or regain) image-wise, and she acquits herself more than admirably. Rediscovering the wonders of just what made Parton a star in the first place is only one of the joys connected with "Trio," though: Harris and Ronstadt are in equally redoubtable voice, and the way in which the three singers blend is never quite the same from track to fine track.