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Music DVD Review: Tanya Tucker

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Tanya Tucker just celebrated her 49th birthday at Tootsie’s Orchard Lounge in downtown Nashville.

For those who don’t know, Tootsie’s has a rich Nashville history as the favorite post-Grand Ole Opry watering hole for such country royalty as Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn.

Reading about Tucker’s birthday bash, during which Tucker serenaded Elvis Presley’s former bodyguard Sonny West and other attendees, put the star’s newly released DVD into a whole new light. As I watched the DVD, titled simply Tanya Tucker, I was struck by how the style of show hasn’t changed a great deal, even as she’s matured from a 13-year old child prodigy.

In the video, Tucker twirls, pouts and flirts with the audience much like she did years ago when she reached young adulthood and gained some notoriety as one of the first hot, bad girls of country (think the Gretchen Wilson of the seventies).

But when the camera panned to the faces of those at this Orlando, Florida concert, I could see why. The audience relies on Tucker to take them on a trip back to their youth when her hits had frequent radio play and buzz. As anyone who has been to Church Street Station can tell you, this venue is frequented by fans who enjoy up-close and personal proximity to the performers.

Tucker is in fine voice during the eight songs on the DVD. Of course the song which she truly brings alive in concert is "Delta Dawn," her breakout hit from 1972. Not only is her voice strong and firm throughout the performance, but Tucker belts out the song with a gusto that belies the 30 plus years it has been her trademark tune. And the audience clearly loves it, clapping, shouting and singing along.

Another song that Tucker performs with fervor is “What’s Your Mama’s Name?” Not only does her singing continue to be full and strong, but she conveys the earnest facial expressions and gestures that fans of classic country artists savor – and find in short supply.

Of course, when Tucker followed up with “Baby I’m Yours,” moving suggestively in her short, black, off-the-shoulder dress as she sang, the audience practically charged the stage. She belongs to them and they belong to her. There’s just no two ways about it. That type of affection between stars and the audience is one of the most endearing qualities of country music concerts.

Now that Tucker has moved with her kids to Malibu, California, some reviewers have wondered if she’s moving her career away from country and more toward Hollywood. If this concert is any indication, the answer is no.

This 60-minute long DVD features bonus tracks by Terri Gibbs, a talented country singer/piano player whose big hit was “Somebody’s Knocking,” released in 1981. The bonus is a mixed blessing though.

The blessing is that the footage of Gibbs performing four songs is terrific and clearly shows how fans and critics underestimated her abilities. The downside is that after Tucker’s robust performance, Gibbs straightforward singing and playing about more dour topics (“Ashes to Ashes” is the prime example) is jarring, to say the least.

While partnering the two performances on one DVD is a bit questionable, both performances sparkle. This DVD is a great addition to any country music lover's library.

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About Nancy Dunham

  • KATHY GOSS

    TANYA TUCKER IS THE GREATEST WHEN IT COMES TO SINGING AND PERFORMING. SHE IS ONE ARTIST THAT CAN NEVER BE REPLACED. SHE HAS THAT SPECIAL TALENT TO CAPTIVATE HER AUDIENCES. SOME OF THE NEW SINGERS DON’T HAVE A CLUE HOW TO SING AND PERFORM THE WAY SHE DOES. SHE WAS A SUPERSTAR AT 13 AND SHE WILL ALWAYS BE A SUPERSTAR. SHE IS ALSO A WONDERFUL MOTHER TO HER THREE CHILDREN. KATHY GOSS

  • Nancy

    Thanks for your comment! For what it’s worth, I agree.

  • Sherry

    I was on the fence about getting this DVD collection but i’ll be looking for the audience reaction to Tanya now and looking forward to enjoying the nostalgia.