If there were ever any doubts about Parton’s ability as a duet singer, they were dispelled on the Rhinestone sound track, when she made Sylvester Stallone sound like the second coming of Porter Waggoner—well, the first-and-a-half coming, anyway.
This album lets her flaunt her collaborative abilities in high style, including as it does contributions by talents ranging from Parton’s old buddy Emmylou Harris to relative newcomers Ricky Van Shelton, Vince Gill, Lorrie Morgan and Patty Loveless.
Parton sings the title song, a poetic sort of feminist anthem (could we now put “I Am Woman” to rest forever, please?), on her own; engages in a melodious debate with Morgan on “Best Woman Wins”; and does the thoughtful “Rockin’ Years” with Shelton. She wrote or cowrote nine of the album’s 11 tunes; many of them are notable additions to her admirable catalog, and the two outside contributions—Buck Owens’s “Dreams Do Come True,” especially—have something to say too.
Much like Barbra Streisand, Parton has conglomerated herself over the years. But unlike our Babs, she has never forgotten what her biggest strength is: music. (Columbia)