Country Music’s most timeless Trio release “The Complete Trio Collection” including unreleased tracks and never-before-heard versions of their original recordings.
Their collaboration wasn’t the masterful plan of a studio executive. They didn’t have a worldwide tour to support their albums. They were simply three artists who held mutual admiration for one another and formed a sister-like bond that led to what is arguably the most stunningly beautiful music of the 20th century.
Today, 42 years after their first meeting, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris are releasing their final Trio project. Still pulled in different directions both professionally and personally, Dolly, Emmylou and Linda are still fans of one another and consider it a privilege to have been a part of The Trio phenomenon.
“The Complete Trio Collection” is a three-disc set that ties together remastered versions of the 1987 and 1999 albums, but also includes another disc of rarities and unreleased takes on many of the songs that fans have come to know over the past 30 years.
In talking about the new release Dolly said,
“It’s nice to have it all together. I just think we all take such pride in this. I know that for me, this will always stand as one of the greatest musical things that I’ve done in my entire life. I’ve never been prouder of anything else. I love these girls like sisters, but what we did as ‘The Trio’ will stand up long after we’re all gone.”
Hearing the music as a collective unit was a moment that Emmylou said she would treasure.
“When I heard it, I remembered we did that, but I had forgotten how great it was. It was like a Christmas present that you forgot to open, and you finally get to discover.”
Disc one is a remastered version of the original Trio album. Released in the spring of 1987, the set went on to sell over four million copies. Produced by the award-winning George Massenburg, Linda says the ladies could not have made a better choice in the role of producer. She said,
“He was just great at listening and at carrying out a whim. The music ideas would come from us, and he would keep us from getting into a muddle and going off in twenty-nine different directions. He has the best way of recording acoustic instruments – where they still sounded natural, but they sounded at their best. He was really an invaluable partner, in that he really didn’t interfere with us. He let things develop, and just kept things organized.”
The treasure of “The Complete Trio Collection” is the third disc of the collection. A twenty-cut collection of outtakes and unreleased tracks from the original 1986 and 1994 sessions, the set features never-before-heard versions of songs such as “Farther Along” and “Wildflowers,” which is notable for its’ more up-tempo arrangement. The collection also is highlighted by the soaring harmonies of “Grey Funnel Love” and the groove of “You Don’t Knock.” There is also a stunning a cappella version of “Calling My Children Home,” as well as the historic cuts of “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues” and “Mister Sandman,” which are generally regarded as the recordings that began the Trio process.
As The Trio, Dolly, Linda and Emmylou have sold over 5 million albums and won three Grammy Awards. “The Complete Trio Collection” is in stores now.
Before GRAMMY awards were presented, before millions of records were sold and before hearts were ever touched by the musical harmony that can easily leave poets at a loss for words, there was a phone call.
Watch: “Wildflowers (alternate take 1986)” lyric video
When Emmylou Harris decided to share the joy of a visit with another songstress friend of hers, history was in the making and an extraordinary union was set in motion. When she telephoned Linda Ronstadt to invite her to her home for a visit with Dolly Parton, none of the three ever anticipated how harmonious that meeting would be. Linda recalls the phone ringing in her Malibu cottage,
“I was living at the beach, about 45 minutes from Emmy’s house, when she called to tell me that Dolly was coming over and asked if I wanted to come too. I think I made it to her house in about 20 minutes!”
Fortunately, they did more than just talk during that visit…they sang together, and what they discovered was more than just three part harmony.
Although all three have extremely unique and recognizable vocal stylings of their own, they couldn’t have anticipated the heavenly blend of their combined voices.
“I don’t think any of us were prepared for what the sound was the first time we heard it. It blew us all away. It was a serendipitous combination of voices that was stunning!”
Simply stated, there are moments in life that are destined to be, and in that moment they knew they not only shared a melodious connection between the three of them, but they also realized that beautiful connection needed to be shared with the world. Although they had to wait several years to coordinate their schedules, Dolly says,
“You always know when it’s the right time when you listen close to your heart, and timing is everything!”
Timing is everything indeed! The first Trio project was hailed as one of the greatest collaborative efforts in American music history, garnering four huge hit singles and crossing genres and generations to remain at the top of the charts for five consecutive weeks. The album also won two GRAMMY Awards, one for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and the other for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.
Twelve years later, Trio fans around the world were elated when the friends reunited for another spectacular recording and released Trio II, which won the supergroup another GRAMMY for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.
Now, nearly 30 years after the release of the first Trio album, Emmylou has championed the highly anticipated “Trio Collection,” which features newly remastered Trio and Trio II albums, plus a third disc filled with rare, unreleased music!
The “Trio Collection” holds a special place in the hearts of these friends and their fans due to Linda’s battle with Parkinson’s disease. She shares,
“No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease, no matter how hard you try. My life is very different. That’s all there is to it.”
Although Linda may be unable to sing, the timeless songs go on.
“We had a wonderful time doing the sessions and just loved every minute. Now that we’re all older and that’s been so many years past, some of my fondest memories are thinking back on a lot of the days I spent with the two of them working on all of this wonderful music. What could be greater than that? Hope everybody enjoys this Trio project as much as we have.”
It all started with one phone call all those years ago. Little did Emmylou know it would be a call to us all, not only to listen to the sisterhood of song, but more importantly to hear the harmony of heart.
THE COMPLETE TRIO COLLECTION
LISTEN: “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” (Dolly Lead – Alternate Take 1994)
Disc One – Trio
1. “The Pain of Loving You”
2. “Making Plans”
3. “To Know Him Is To Love Him”
4. “Hobo’s Meditation”
6. “Telling Me Lies”
7. “My Dear Companion”
8. “Those Memories of You”
9. “I’ve Had Enough”
10. “Rosewood Casket”
11. “Farther Along”
Disc Two – Trio II
1. “Lover’s Return”
2. “High Sierra”
3. “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind”
4. “After the Gold Rush”
5. “The Blue Train”
6. “I Feel the Blues Movin’ In”
7. “You’ll Never Be The Sun”
8. “He Rode All The Way To Texas”
9. “Feels Like Home”
10. “When We’re Gone, Long Gone”
Disc Three – Bonus Material
1. “Wildflowers” (Alternate Take unreleased 1986)
2. “Waltz Across Texas Tonight” (Unreleased 1994)
3. “Lover’s Return” (Alternate Mix – Unreleased)
4. “Softly and Tenderly” (Unreleased 1994)
5. “Pleasant As May” (Unreleased 1986)
6. “My Dear Companion” (Alternate Take 1986)
7. “My Blue Tears” (Unreleased 1998)
8. “Making Plans” (Alternate Take 1986)
9. “I’ve Had Enough” (Alternate Mix 1986)
10. “Grey Funnel Line” (Unreleased 1986)
11. “You Don’t Knock” (Unreleased 1986)
12. “Where Will The Words Come From” (Unreleased 1985)
13. “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” (Dolly Lead – Alternate Take 1994)
14. “Are You Tired of Me” (Unreleased 1986)
15. “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues”
16. “Mr. Sandman”
17. “Handful Of Dust” (Unreleased 1993)
18. “Calling My Children Home” (Unreleased Acapella Version 1986)
19. “White Snow” (Unreleased 1986)
20. “Farther Along” (Alternate Mix 1986)
MY DEAR COMPANION: SELECTIONS FROM THE TRIO COLLECTION
1. “The Pain Of Loving You”
2. “My Dear Companion”
3. “To Know Him Is To Love Him”
4. “Telling Me Lies”
5. “Farther Along”
6. “Lover’s Return”
7. “After The Gold Rush”
8. “The Blue Train”
9. “You’ll Never Be The Sun”
10. “When We’re Gone, Long Gone”
11. “Waltz Across Texas Tonight” (Unreleased 1994)
12. “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” (Dolly Lead – Alternate Take 1994)
13. “Wildflowers” (Alternate Take 1986)
14. “Calling My Children Home” (Unreleased Acappella Version 1986)
Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.
Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Dolly, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt record GRAMMY Winning “Trio”
On March 2, 1987, Dolly and fellow country music legends Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt released their album “Trio” on the Warner Brothers Nashville Label. “Trio” became one of the most honored and loved albums of 1987, including the remake of the Ronnie Spector single performed originally by the Teddy Bears, “To Know Him is to Love Him.” The song reached No. 1 on the Country Singles Charts.
Dolly, Harris and Ronstadt had tried since the 70’s to come together to make an album, but 1987 was the first window where all of the superstars’ schedules matched up.
The album won the GRAMMY for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and was nominated for Album of the Year. The win marked Dolly’s fourth GRAMMY award.