For Those Were the Days, Dolly Parton and various guest singers revisit some favourite songs from her youth, in the bluegrass style that has revitalised her career over the last few years. It's a bit of a mixed bag, with some successes - notably a "Both Sides Now" that sounds as fresh as it did 40 years ago, and a "Twelfth of Never" whose bluegrass setting exposes the Celtic folk melody at the heart of the song - and a few failures, such as a "Crimson and Clover" that doesn't quite retain the requisite pop momentum, and a "Me And Bobby McGee" that's not as strikingly transformative as Janis Joplin's version. It's a pleasant enough set, with an interesting subtext: songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind", "Where Have All the Flowers Gone", "The Cruel War" and "Imagine" lend the album a distinctly protest-oriented aspect that offers a subliminal challenge to her core conservative fanbase. Particularly interesting is the duet with Yusuf Islam, "Where Do the Children Play", a courageous cultural crossover to set before a whitebread American audience at this time.
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