Emmylou Harris

The Ballad of Sally Rose

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AllMusic Review by

This is one of the most intriguing albums of Emmylou Harris' career, and that is saying a lot. It marked the first album where she wrote or co-wrote all the songs, and the strength of the songwriting makes one wonder why she had never attempted it before. One can tell that this album is truly a labor of love, as it is a semi-autobiographical concept album that she also co-produced. It tells the story of a girl from a small town who gets taken under the wing of singer that takes her (and her angelic voice) out on the road. (The story mirrors her relationship with Gram Parsons, although it is a fictional account of the life of another woman.) As a concept album, it only partly holds together; one must read the liner notes to get a true feeling for the story. However, Emmylou Harris sounds particularly inspired, and the songs themselves are strong both musically and lyrically. As expected, she truly shines on the slower ballads such as "Diamond in My Crown" and the closer "Sweet Chariot." While not essential for casual fans, it is an interesting album worth tracking down for Emmylou Harris fans.

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