Picks and Pans Review: Burlap & Satin
updated 07/18/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/18/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Cries of "We want more" should be rising from country music fans—and music fans in general-after they have listened to I Really Don't Want to Know, a track from this album. It is a duet featuring Parton and Willie Nelson, whose voices and styles are about as close to a perfect match as exists in this imperfect universe. The song was written in 1953 by Don Robertson and Howard Barnes. It was a 1954 hit for Eddy Arnold and has become, deservedly, a country standard. That this is Nelson's only appearance on the LP is frustrating. But then, Parton isn't exactly incapable of carrying it off on her own. She has the ability—like Billie Holiday or Frank Sinatra—to lend style to even a jerky pop tune like Potential New Boyfriend, the singles-bar stomper by Steve Kipner and John Lewis Parker. Most of this LP, though, is a welcome half step back toward purer country sounds, and it includes some of Parton's most touching original tunes, such as A Cowboy's Ways, One of Those Days and A Gamble Either Way ("On a dusty road at 15 in a yellow cotton dress/ With the desert sun like an angry dragon breathin' down my neck/ And the dry cracked plains would make me think of a prehistoric time/ Should I fear what lay before me less than what I'd left behind"). Parton is one of those miraculous few, a star who remains a poet, an artist and an uncompromising professional. She ought to be declared a national treasure.