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Various Artists

Tammy Wynette Remembered – 1998 (Asylum)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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Unlike some other tributes which have been tainted with a quick-buck aura, this was done for all the right reasons. The contributing artists were all friends and admirers of Tammy's, and their comments on Miss Wynette and photos with her make the accompanying booklet a real keepsake.

Wynette's music is sometimes perceived as being from another era, with little relevance for the '90's. And certainly a song like "Stand By Your Man" (performed here by Elton John) does sound somewhat quaint in these politically correct, post-feminist days. But most of her music was timeless and will be loved and listened to as long as the war between the sexes rages on. Melissa Etheridge does "Apartment #9" and it sounds cutting-edge enough to be her a cut on her next album. The same could be said of Emmylou Harris' interpretation of "Golden Ring." There are legends here George Jones (who successfully transposes "Take Me To Your World") to "Let Me Take You To My World," the aforementioned Elton John and Wynonna and Trisha Yearwood but what none of them can do is sing with a tear in your voice the way Wynette could. She could sing her laundry list and make you weep over the pure existential angst of ring-around-the-collar. Sara Evans comes close on "I Don't Wanna Play House" and Rosanne Cash nearly accomplishes the impossible on "D-I-V-O-R-C-E."

In the Wynette eulogy Rosanne Cash wrote for Time magazine, she said "The world will never be innocent enough again to produce another Tammy Wynette." If that doesn't make you cry, nothing will.