REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/11/2008
Thousands of women have sung country music, but Tammy Wynette lived country music. Wynette was born May 5, 1942 in Itawaba County, Mississippi, and before her death 56 years later, she had been married five times, dated Burt Reynolds, become addicted to prescription medicine, survived a kidnapping attempt, and was part of a savings and loan scandal. She also managed to release twenty chart topping country singles, sell over 50,000 records, and acquire the title of the queen of country music.
D-I-V-O-R-C-E was Wynette’s third solo album and established her as a country superstar. The title song began a seemingly never-ending string of songs about suffering and love lost. Both the album and its lead single would both reach number one on the national country charts, and Wynette was named female vocalist of the year by the
Tammy Wynette’s early albums consisted of a few original songs written especially for her, plus a number of country interpretations of some of the popular songs of the day. Producer Billy Sherrill always had the sense to keep it simple, with Wynette’s vocals in the forefront of the production mix allowing the listener to focus on her clarity and purity.
“Gentle On My Mind” was given a stripped down, simple performance which suited Wynette’s capabilities well. Her gentle approach to the lyrics gives this song new life and is one of its better interpretations. “The Legend Of Bonnie and
“All Night Long” and “Sweet Dreams” are both ballads that set the tone for hundreds of songs that Wynette would later record during her career. The first is a simple song with a piano as its most prominent instrument, while the second features a steel guitar that builds upon itself throughout.
The album’s title track is a song of love and marriage gone bad. The couple’s child must be protected, so all the hurtful words are spelled rather than actually pronounced. This song is ‘60s country at its best, and Wynette could sing about loss, suffering, and angst better than any woman in country music history.
The final songs are all in the same tearjerker vein: “Come On Home,” “When There’s A Fire In Your Heart,” “Kiss Away,” and a wonderful version of “
D-I-V-O-R-C-E is the album that focused attention upon Tammy Wynette. She built on its foundation and produced a series of high quality country albums that would eventually solidify her legacy as one of country music’s premier and legendary performers.