Review: "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" / "Stand By Your Man" - Tammy Wynette

by Jeremy Williams-Chambers,

Tammy Wynette was very far from a one hit wonder, but that does not mean she was an artist without a signature song or two. Ask any member of the public, whether they love country music or not, to name a song by Tammy and we can almost guarantee that they will name either Stand By Your Man or D-I-V-O-R-C-E. The songs, which were released in subsequent years, D-I-V-O-R-C-E in 1968 and Stand By Your Man in 1969, have come to define the late Queen of Country. With her back catalog currently enjoying a series re-release by Cherry Red's Morello Records, it is only apt the two records, which share the names of the singles they are best remembered for, are released together.

D-I-V-O-R-C-E was, at the time of it's release, something of a controversial record, given the frank, but somewhat paradoxical lyrical content which is only given a raw, realness by Wynette's honest delivery. The single became Wynette's debut number 1 on the US country chart, although it only managed to hit number 12 in the UK upon it's release some 7 years later. With the remainder of the album centering on endearing reworkings of recent hits by everyone from Kitty Wells to The Beatles and Patsy Cline, the songs may not be new to those who are only just discovering the album nearly half a decade later, but that does not diminish it's appeal.

Skipping past her gospel tinged release Inspiration, Stand By Your Man may not have managed the number 1 spot on the US Country chart, peaking at number 2; however, it did mark her emergence as a star in the UK, reaching 13 on the album chart and also saw her land in the Top 50 of the Billboard chart for the first time, scoring a number 43 placement. The album also marks Wynette's real growth as an artist. Having proved herself as a striking vocalist, the record sees her come to the fore as a songwriter. While she won a Grammy for Stand By Your Man, the rather deliciously understated self-penned I Stayed Long Enough showcases the intimate appeal of Wynette.

With both albums featured in the set best known for their title tracks, this new release will open your ears to the versatility of the artist that is still so dearly loved by the country community.

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