She mentored the nine finalists and they all, in turn, performed her songs on the air on Tuesday.
Personally, I never thought we'd see her on Idol. If we have Danny Nozell to thank for anything, I suppose it's this. (As I begrudgingly admit that.)
It was really nice, though, to get to see and hear someone honoring a talent of Dolly's that often goes unnoticed... songwriting. It's something that most often times overshadowed by the glitz and the boobs and rhinestones and the hair.
But it was front and center stage on America's number one rated TV show this past week.
The song choices ranged from surprisingly wonderful, (Michael Johns' bluesy, stunning take on "It's All Wrong But It's All Right" and David Archuleta's gorgeous "Smoky Mountain Memories.) to predictable. (Kristy Lee Cook's horrid... let me start with a verse... version of "Coat of Many Colors" and Syesha's hybrid version of "I Will Always Love You." Was it a shocker to anyone that she chose that song?)
It got me to thinking, though, about all of the different versions of songs that Dolly has done over the years.
And that leads me to this post... I've included in this first part of the post, (there'll be another... I promise) five songs that were performed and featured on "American Idol" and that have been performed by Dolly over the years now on TV shows, talk shows, concerts, blah, blah, blah.
I always think it's nice to hear how a certain song has progressed over the years. Some (like "Appalachian Memories") get name changes and have a major overhaul. And some (like "9 to 5") stay pretty similar and consistent thru the years. (Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.) And of course there are songs that I always think sound better live than on CD. ("Here You Come Again" and "Two Doors Down" for me.)
First up is "9 to 5." Sure... that Idol sing a long was very cheesy. But it was also cute. And I was just glad that nobody chose it as one of their songs. (Though, it was supposedly Chikezie's choice had he not been eliminated.) I've included several versions of the song. There's one from the 80's show, one from the "A Capitol Fourth" concert she did in 2003, (she was quite hoarse... put she really dug into it.) and the version from her spectacular "Live in London" special in 1983. Also included is the version from the Vintage Tour stop at Radio City Music Hall, (I was there... it was fantabulous.) and the version she sang on The Tony Danza show while promoting "Those Were the Days."
Next is "Coat of Many Colors." It's timeless Dolly and I just thought that Kristy Lee Cook added absolutey nothing to the song. (I would have preferred Brooke to sing it.) Anyway... the versions I've included are from the 80's show, her Grand Ole Opry performance in 2007 during the Porter tribute, her 1970's performance on the Parkinson, a UK talk show, her heartbreaking performance at Ray Benson's short lived "Stars Over Texas" show, and finally her performance in Yorkshire this past Winter to promote the Imagination Library's introduction into the UK.
Personally, I liked Ramiele and her version of "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind." (And her studio version is even better.) And I really thought that Syesha should went home. But, alas... I'm not America. Anywho, I've included several versions of the song here. One from the 70's show and one from the 80's show, respectively. Also here is a performance from a German concert in 1977 to promote "New Harvest... First Gathering." Accompanying that is a remixed version that came out awhile back. A European record label remixed some of the songs from that concert to make them sound like studio versions. The "Live in London" version is here as well. And capping off the list is the version from "Best of Dolly Parton, Volume 3." It is a slightly remixed version with new instrumentation that was released to give the album a sales push.
"Here You Come Again" was a pretty good choice for Carly. Though, they really should have given Clay Aiken credit because he recently covered the song that way on his ill fated "A Thousand Different Ways" CD. (But... I can't really stand Clay Aiken anyway so I could care less.) Nevertheless, it was a great version and I'm not really sure why Simon didn't like it. The versions of the song included here are from the 80's show, (can you tell I love that show?) the "Live in London" version, a version from "The Midnight Special," the version from the Vintage tour stop at Radio City, and my personal favorite version of the song... ever. It's from a promotional concert she did in Portland to promote "Here You Come Again," the album. And as a bonus, I've included a remix by Milk Kan that was released a few years ago.
The last song in the post is "Little Sparrow." David Cook has never been my favorite. I personally think he's pretty arrogant and smug. But his performance this week did impress me quite a bit. (And Simon's sparrow comment was uncalled for. The man must have been attacked by a bird when he was little.) The versions of the song that I've included for your listening pleasure include her Austin City Limits performance to promote the album, her performance at the 9:30 Club in D.C. for the "Halos & Horns" tour. Also included is the Merlefest performance, the Vintage Tour stop in New York, and the acapella rendition from the UK promo CD.
And... as an added bonus... I've added Dolly's performance of "Jesus & Gravity" from Wednesday night's results show. (And I know, I know... it wasn't her best.)
Anywho... enjoy these songs. It's a big file. And I'll be uploading more songs sung on "American Idol" tomorrow.
And get to livin'!