A lot of country artists today wear designer clothes with not a hair out of place. They are beautiful and travel with dozens, if not hundreds of support staff as they sing their country/pop songs, which sell millions of copies. Tammy Wynette did not just sing country music; she lived country music.
Tammy Wynette (1942-1998) remains one of the most influential of female country singers. Her 41 studio albums and 69 country hits, including twenty number ones, kept her in the limelight for over a quarter of a century. Her personal life, which included five marriages, plus various addictions, would add to the realism of her songs of sorrow, loss and depression. Her marriage, divorce, and further relationship with country superstar George Jones were legendary.
The Country Music Hall Of Fame through its Legendary Performances series has done a good job of assembling 15 rare television performances which span Wynette’s career from 1967-1981. The picture quality is average due to the recording equipment of the time but in some ways this adds to the charm of the release.
The oldest performance is from the second season of the Stoneman Family’s syndicated show which originated in Nashville. This 1967 track finds a 24 year old Tammy Wynette singing “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)” which would be included on her first album release. This track finds a young Tammy Wynette’s voice in fine form as she would perform the type of song that would become a staple for her.
Later in 1967 she performed “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” and “I Don’t Wanna Play House” on country star Bill Anderson’s syndicated show. By this time she is sporting a bouffant which would become her trade mark. She is backed by the famous Po’ Boys and is well on her way to becoming a star.
1969 found her appearing on the Wilburn Brothers show to sing her signature song, “Stand By Your Man.” She had almost a perfect country voice and gives a powerful performance of this all time country classic.
Four tracks, spanning the years 1974-1980, are duets with George Jones. “We Loved It Anyway,” “Golden Ring,” “Near You” and “We’re Gonna Hold On” all show the chemistry that existed between them. Jones’ smooth country twang serves as a good counterpoint to Wynette’s vocal purity. Despite their problems over the years the voices meld together well and they seem very at ease together.
The bonus extras include her posthumous induction into The Country Music Hall Of Fame, wedding footage, and an archival interview section.
This DVD is for country purists as Tammy Wynette was far removed from the Nashville sound of today. What we find on Legendary Performances: Tammy Wynette is a wonderful historical overview of a country legend who does not receive enough recognition for her contributions to an American art form.