Legend is a hefty title to carry, especially if you're still kicking. The standards are high, the expectations immense. Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Tammy Wynette are, nevertheless, legends of country music with decades of albums and awards to prove it. And they are very much still kicking on Honky Tonk Angels -- just in case anyone needs a little reminder. You can even hear how much fun they had singing together, setting aside any historic competition and letting their love of country music shine through, each gracefully moving between lead and harmony vocals.
As for the song selection, it covers a wide swath of country history from tunes made famous by early pioneers like Ferlin Husky, the Davis Sisters, and Hank Locklin, to their own more contemporary compositions. If that weren't enough credibility, Kitty Wells lends her amazing voice to the opening anthem "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels. In another twist, Patsy Cline sings on "Lovesick Blues" with Parton, Lynn, and Wynette backing her, which must have been fun to record, but not the best end result. The closing track sums up the humorous reverence that permeates much of country music. I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven was a hit for Tex Ritter in 1961 and is a surprising choice that seems a bit out of place, but somehow works well enough.
The album managed a very respectable number 6 on the Country chart, but the great lead single, Silver Threads and Golden Needles barely dented the charts. For fans of traditional country or great singers, this is a fun listen because it nicely captures three of the best voices around.
1. It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels (JD Miller)
2. Put It Off Until Tomorrow (Dolly Parton/Bill Owens)
3. Silver Threads and Golden Needles (Jack Rhodes/Dick Reynolds)
4. Please Help Me I'm Falling (In Love with You) (Don Robertson/Hal Blair)
5. Sittin' on the Front Porch Swing (Buddy Sheffield)
6. Wings of a Dove (Bob Ferguson)
7. I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know (Cecil Null)
8. Wouldn't It Be Great" (Loretta Lynn)
9. That's the Way It Could Have Been (Tammy Wynette)
10. Let Her Fly (Dolly Parton)
11. Lovesick Blues (Cliff Friend/Irving Mills)
12. I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven (Hal Sothern/Eddie Dean)