Tammy Wynette – [Album]

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Playwright William Congreve may have been correct when he wrote that “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” but it was Tammy Wynette who proved that the voice and words of a woman scorned could come framed with gold and platinum trim when set to just the right rhythm. Wynette's signature anthem “Stand By Your Man” remains one of the most recognized and best-selling hit singles in Country music history and it sealed the singer's place as one of the style-defining voices of “the new breed” in the genre alongside the likes of June Carter, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton after Country began to infiltrate pop circles in the Sixties and Seventies. That name still carries a lot of weight in Country, but it proves to only be the gateway for this two-disc set.

Right away, long-time fans will feel gratified to learn that Essential really is a collection of Tammy Wynette's greatest, most classic songs; pretty much all of the hit singles the singer released between 1966 and 1975 are included here (“Apartment #9,” “I Don't Wanna Play House,” “My Elusive Dreams” and, of course, “Stand By Your Man” – to name only a few)  and compiled in a way which develops a flow between the songs instead of simply being a clunky, utilitarian offering. Listeners will find they're able to drift along between songs like “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “Stand By Your Man,” “Singing My Song” and “Too Far Gone” with fantastic ease, and really see that Wynette's voice and delivery of the songs do have a hypnotic quality; even if they're all about hard luck and heartbreak, each feels fresh and special in this context – they're rich, not repetitive.

Were the early, huge songs in the singer's canon all that was included on The Essential Tammy Wynette, that would really be enough to make for a satisfying set which could live up to its name but, wonderfully, it goes further than that. Disc Two continues the chronology and collects the singles Wynette would release later in her career but, while more clearly mature, doesn't sacrifice the consistent flow that Disc One set up. Songs like “I Still Believe In Fairy Tales,” “(Let's Get Together) One Last Time,” That's The Way It Could Have Been” and “No One Else In The World” all see Wynette aging gracefully and not losing the dew-eyed charm she had at the beginning of her career. Granted, Tammy Wynette didn't end up aging quite as well as some of her contemporaries did and she did have to compromise artistic integrity to get older fans to believe in her (the proof can be found in the “star-studded audience pandering of “That's The Way It Could Have Been”), but the songs still stand up with those on Disc One for being memorable, even if they're not quite as good as their predecessors. True, they're diminished, combined as they are on these two discs, it can be said that The Essential Tammy Wynette is a well-rounded and satisfying offering. Young fans who are just getting into Country music are encouraged to take advantage of this set's economy to get them started; this is a great primer to see where Country was, and also how it got where it is.



The Essential Tammy Wynette
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

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