Something that amazes me is how Tanya Tucker recorded her first record, at the age of 13. I guess by modern standards that’s not so surprising in today’s youth obsessed entertainment industry. With Youtube and shows like ‘America’s Got Talent’ (and of course the likes of Oprah, Ellen et all) it’s not such a far stretch to see youth possess such raw talent anymore.
But for me – when I was younger (and buying a lot of old records at local garage sales) – it really did blow my mind when I first heard her debut record, Delta Dawn, originally recorded in 1972. Moons before I was ever born.
There is a strange, yet seductive contradiction to TANYA TUCKER and this record. Some say for a girl who was only 13 at the time, to sing about LOVE, DEVOTiON, LUST and a crazy local named Delta Dawn – was a rather unfamiliar thing back in those days, particularly when radio was a very male-dominated arena. Very few women were heard on the air waves prior to the likes of PATSY CLINE, LORETTA LYNN, TAMMY WYNETTE and DOLLY PARTON paving the way. Then there was a new breed of talent with Tanya Tucker. And particularly when you consider how husky and deep her voice is; years beyond its age in numbers. Another reason why I found Miss Tanya Tucker so FASCiNATiNG. iNSPiRATiONAL. iNFLUENTiAL.
Originally when Tanya was signed to Columbia, producer BiLLY SHERRiLL wanted her to record Donna Fargo’s “The Happiest Girl In The Whole USA” and release it as her debut but Tanya saw Bette Midler perform “Delta Dawn” on The Tonight Show and wanted to do that song instead. Despite Bette’s version and Helen Reddy taking the song to the top of the pop charts the following year, there is no doubt Tanya makes it her own. *Important to note is that BiLLY SHERRiLL is/was a record producer most famous for his association with a number of country artists, most notably TAMMY WYNETTE. In 1968, Sherrill co-wrote with Wynette her most famous hit, “Stand By Your Man”, helping her to develop her stage persona, as he did with Tanya Tucker. It goes to say that BiLLY SHERRILL is an amazing man – and I would give my left nut for the opportunity to create THAT SOUND from THAT ERA. That is QUiNTESSENTiAL NASHViLLE TENNESSEE.
Many years, transformations, tabloids – and many records later, Tanya Tucker still records and By Golly – she still HAS IT. Weather radio knows this – I do. Here’s to Tanya Tucker, Billy Sherrill and a record I only WiSH I could have made myself.