Tanya Tucker

Tennessee Woman

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For some mysterious reason, Tanya Tucker's Tennessee Woman sounds out of time for its 1990 year of release. Some of this disc has the feel of a late-'70s outlaw recording with those guitars popping all over the place, pianos dropped in all the right spots, and tempos ranging from the hardcore 4/4 two-step to the rock & roll waltz. But that's not a bad thing. Tucker is in great voice here, turning in a deck of fine songs with a couple of real standouts. In fact, starting with the first two tracks, Paul Overstreet's "Take Another Run" and the Garvin/Shapiro-penned "Shotgun," the set is off with a real bang. In particular, the latter has an old Western feeling in the refrains and minor-key signature that is deceptively ushered in with a near classical piano line before the acoustic guitars and Telecasters come flowing through the middle of a true cowgirl's love song. There's a duet with T. Graham Brown on the cover of Foster & Lloyd's "Don't Go Out." On it, two singers grittily plead with one another not to betray one another. It's a duet with plenty of country soul despite the outrageously slick production. The medley of the Tucker/Gary Stewart-scripted title track with "Ben's Song" is one of those killer honky tonk love songs made regal by the cascading guitars and rim shots. The hottest track, though, is "It Won't Be Me," which is Tucker doing her best (albeit reinterpreted) Dwight Yoakam. It kicks and makes the listener move. Paul Kennerley's "Walking Shoes" is another neo-trad outlaw song; with its road theme, slippery guitar feel, and cut-time honky tonk beat, it's more rock & roll than country, but it never leaves the country idiom. It wouldn't be hard to imagine Waylon Jennings or Hank Williams, Jr. recording this one. A fine effort.

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