Tanya Tucker

Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)

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Tanya Tucker's third album accomplished two things. First, it cemented her position in country music as a young singer of power, taste, and artistic excellence. Secondly, thanks to the title cut, she brought David Allan Coe out of obscurity and into the country mainstream -- at least as far as he would ever come into it. "Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)" was a bit beyond Tucker's years in terms of subject matter. She was just 15 when she cut it, and in the grain of her voice listeners hear an erotic yearning that goes far beyond the dictates of an innocent love song. Billy Sherrill, who produced the single and the album, understood this implicitly, and his crossover production drew people in by appealing to the image of the young singer versus the maturity of the song; hence, the prurient interests of the country and pop-buying public insured the single a number one position on the Billboard charts. The challenge was to come up with an album that could support its opening track. And Sherrill did it. From Harold Reid's awesome "Bed of Roses" to Ed Bruce's "The Man That Turned My Mama On" to Lobo's paean to infidelity, "How Can I Tell Him," to Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me Lord," Sherrill and Tucker constructed an album of smoldering sensuality and gloriously wrought performances.

Unlike many performers, Tucker arrived two years earlier a fully developed artist. No matter what song she was presented with, she sang the hell out of it with equal conviction, and in her reedy yet throaty wail, the voice of a woman existed in the body of a young girl. Whether it's a somewhat kitschy number like Bobby Braddock's "I Think the South's Gonna Rise Again" or John Rostill's hymn to commitment and undying love, "Let Me Be There," or the tough gospel of "The Baptism of Jesse Taylor," Tucker handles the lyrics and melodies with so much control and aplomb that it's difficult to believe how young she is here. This is also the album that finally convinced everybody that Tucker was no fluke; the cynics liked her first record but credited it to luck, the second they grudgingly accepted, and they embraced this one wholeheartedly and a new superstar was born in country music. The funny thing is, by listening to this record -- now available as part of a two-fer with What's Your Mama's Name on Collectables with fine sound -- you would know Tucker had no doubts from the beginning. Her story has proved her right.

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