July 9, 2009

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Tanya Tucker, My Turn
Saguaro Road/Time Life Records, June 30

In contrast to Donna Fargo’s two-hit wonderdom, Tanya Tucker — who would have confined Fargo to obscurity had she had the brains to record “Happiest Girl in the Whole USA” when she was offered first crack at it — has had as many sky-high ups and downs as male C&W counterparts (and ex-boyfriends) Merle Haggard and Glen Campbell. At 50, her teen-sensation days singing “Delta Dawn” are blurs that came sometime before a steep sales slide that led to a stint at Betty Ford Clinic that led to a ton of hits in the 80s and finally to a return to oldschool country, where she remains content to dabble in releasing albums while remaining the root inspiration of your basic Martina McBride yet-to-come. In her first-ever foray into doing cover songs, all of these new recordings are gender-flips of classic cowboy-hatters of the past — George Jones’ “Walk Through This World With Me”; Buck Owens’s “Love’s Gonna Live Here” — which can be a little eerie in that she now sounds so much like ultimate gal-done-wrong Tammy Wynette. To prove she’s still aware that there’s this device called a TV and it shows shows, she duets with The Grascals on “After the Fire is Gone.” AEWS