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EMMYLOU HARRIS + DOLLY PARTON + LINDA RONSTADT - TRIO (*Used-CD, 1987, Warner)                                                TR092119

Well cared for

This recording, almost 20 years old now, has everything going for it: a varied and beautiful selection of songs, excellent backup musicians-- and most importantly-- the heavenly voices of Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. The rumor is that these fine artists wanted to do these songs for years but couldn't get their managers in sync. So we have a perfect example of what happens when performers and not the money men get their way.

There are so many good songs here-- where to start? "The Pain of Loving You" by Ms. Parton and Porter Wagoner as well as "Making Plans," also sung by the Parton/Wagoner duo. There is also Phil Spector's "To Know Him Is To Love Him" and a Jean Richie song "My Dear Companion." Ms. Parton includes one of her own compositions "Wildflowers," which is all about leaving home in order to grow. David Lindley's lacy autoharp playing is a perfect accompaniment for the women's etheral singing. One of my favorites is Jimmy Rodgers' "Hobo's Meditation," which is straight out of the Great Depression and asks the plaintive question: "Will there be any freight trains in heaven/Any boxcars in which we might hide?" Then there's the last two selections: "Rosewood Casket," where Mark O'Connor's weepy mandolin is perfect for setting the mood for this little tear-jerker; and the traditional hymn "Farther Along," where each artist sings solo on a verse and is joined by the other two for the chorus.

And if all this isn't enough, the women camp it up in long white lace dresses for a photo that goes with the notes, and paper dolls with clothes are included for those into that sort of thing.

This perfect CD should belong to everyone who loves beautiful music.