Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen by Jimmy McDonough

Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen starts and ends with bizarre letters to Tammy from author Jimmy McDonough, which just felt creepy, and nearly derailed me from reading the book altogether.  But fortunately, it quickly moved on to the engaging story of Wynette’s upbringing, first marriage (of five), young motherhood, and her tenacious pursuit of a career in country music. Unfortunately, what began as a truly inspiring life quickly turned into a horror story when Tammy got rich and her health went to hell in a handbag.

There were, however, several things I learned about Tammy that made this book well worth the read. For example, I didn’t know that Tammy was the first country artist to produce a platinum-selling album. And McDonough’s tales of how Billy Sherrill and Wynette wrote, recorded and produced her music made we want to go back and listen to the music, words and phrasing. I also really enjoyed reading about Tammy’s marriage to Jones, which was apparently born of infidelity and true love and filled with passion and craziness. What was most disturbing to me about Wynette’s life was her distant relationship with her children. She obviously loved them, but at the same time, neglected them horribly. Friends described Wynette’s children as being uncared for, dirty, unfed and emotionally detached from their mom.

Wynette’s life ends in horribly poor health, a suspicious death, a conniving last husband, and little left of her legacy other than, “Stand By Your Man.”  To this day, one of her kids supports herself cleaning houses. What a sad epitaph. 

If you are interested in the history of country music or Tammy Wynette, I think you’ll enjoy Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen, just know that it all ends, well… tragically. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm waiting to read Georgette's book, "The Three Of Us"