Image via Wikipedia
I am a Tammy Wynette fan. Most people assume this is because of her association with the KLF in the early 1990s; their song “Justified and Ancient ” harkened back to her massive 1960s hit about submissiveness to men, “Stand by Your Man.” While I certainly can dig the KLF with Tammy, my obsession with Ms. Wynette started when I saw a fantastic documentary about her on the Ovation channel a while back…I think the documentary was done by the BBC circa 1985 – 1986. At the time she was starring on an awful soap opera called “Capitol,” and she was married to some shady guy who allegedly was just killing her with drugs and abuse.
The documentary charted Wynette’s meager beginnings as an embattled housewife in an abusive relationship with several children; she was encouraged not to sing, but to simply stay on as a dissatisfied housewife.
The best part of this BBC documentary was Tammy’s rendition of a song called “Alive and Well ”. She’s singing along to an unmixed version of the song, straight out of the studio, in her house while casually dressed and sipping a Coke. Her winsome, smiling looks into the camera are priceless – Tammy certainly knew how to work a song – but it also amazes me that someone who was probably in such physical and mental agony could bring forth this spectacular, off-the-cuff performance. By the mid-1980s Tammy had a prodigious addition to painkillers due to severe intestinal problems (which would eventually lead to her death in 1995).
The book Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen by Jimmy McDonough has just been released in the