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Picks and Pans Review: Evangeline

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Emmylou Harris

While the long-discussed all-star album by Emmylou, Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton was never completed, snippets of sessions they did continue to appear. This collection contains two gems by the trio, featuring lead vocals by Harris: the title cut (written by the Band’s Robbie Robertson in 1977) and the Chordettes’ 1954 hit Mister Sandman. If that isn’t highfalutin company enough, there’s also a fine, mournful duet on Spanish Johnny with Waylon Jennings. With a lesser artist those acts would be hard to follow, but Emmylou’s wonderfully twangless country soprano is carefully used by producer/husband Brian Ahem. The obligatory tune by late mentor Gram Parsons (Hot Burrito #2) appears, along with James Taylor’s Millworker and John Fogerty’s Creedence Clearwater Revival rock classic Bad Moon Rising. Harris added two tunes by Rodney Crowell, one of country rock’s finest songwriters, and a credible version of the pop standard How High the Moon. The broad stylistic spectrum represents a change of pace from Roses in the Snow, Harris’ back-to-basics country LP last year, and it is most effective.