Tanya Tucker

Girls Like Me

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Given her predilection for switching record labels, it's more than interesting to look at the debut albums Tanya Tucker issued for each. They are always undeniably strong, consistent, and soulful. Girls Like Me is no exception, produced by Jerry Crutchfield and featuring a tight collection of songs that reflects Tucker's considerable experience as a vocalist and a country music icon. From the Paul Overstreet and Paul Davis-penned opener, "One Love at a Time," which could almost be interpreted as autobiographical, to the beautiful swanky pop of Davis' "Fool, Fool Heart," Tucker shows both sides of her complicated amorous life. But it's when the shimmering synthesizer introduces the Karen Brooks/Matraca Berg-authored title track that Tucker turns in her most inspired performance on the set. Beginning slow and sultry as an "other side of the tracks" story, it shimmers with a desperate but simmering passion that reflects the dreams and wreckage of "passion on the beach" through the eyes of a "paperback dreamer." Again, as she relates the tale of finding a love whose intensity she couldn't sustain, Tucker is baring her own soul. She seeks the "long and lonely streets" before the bridge and screaming guitar usher in a moment of hope, a desperate one that in fact refuses to say die. And then there's Marshall Chapman's tough "Daddy Long Legs," which sits deeply in Tucker's interpretive groove. The track is part Bobbie Gentry, part Tucker, and part Delbert McClinton; it drips funky blues and steamy honky tonk. Girls Like Me is a winner from end to end and one of the best efforts of the '80s for Tucker.

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