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Classic Album Review-Tammy Wynette “Just Tammy”

Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always found on the turntable, in the CD player, or in the MP3 player. Today’s Classic Album Review remembers one of the nearly sixty albums that Tammy Wynette released during her illustrious career. Just Tammy, her thirty-seventh album, was released by Epic Records in June, 1979. Tammy had twenty-two albums reach the top ten, during her career, but this one is not among those, having stopped at twenty-five on the album charts. Despite the album’s lower peak, both singles from the album were able to break into the top ten. The album, itself, was recorded during two sessions in December, 1978, and March, 1979.

One of the album’s singles kicks off the album, “They Call It Making Love”. A Springtime hit, it would peak at six, on the charts. A beat that borders on pounding, the quick paced track has some attitude in it’s sound.

Of course, in the minds of many, Tammy Wynette was at her best when she sang the slower ballads, such as “We’ll Talk About It Later”. A fairly typical sound for the era, falling more to the traditional side, but still with a smoothness that is a trademark of a Billy Sherrill produced project. As for the song, not as strong as some others we’ve heard on various Tammy Wynette albums, but not a weak, filler track, either.

“Somewhere” is a catchy little mid tempo track that just flows along, taking you along for the ride.

Vintage Tammy comes through strong on “Mama Your Little Girl Fell”. A ballad, it’s simply a very good piece of work. Hidden Gem contender.

Side one ends with “I’m Not Ready Yet”, which in 1980, would become a near-number one hit for George Jones. Tammy’s version is slower and has a more slicker feel to it. But don’t let the slicker feel fool you, this is still a fine track, in fact, I’m not so sure that her version isn’t even a tad better.

Side two opens with the album’s other single, “No One Else In The World”. A number seven hit during the Summer of 1979, despite it’s top ten status, it’s always seemed to me, that it’s airplay as a “gold” title was nowhere near many of it’s contemporaries, which is a shame, because I’ve always thought it to be a great track, certainly one of her more underrated hits. Again, as I mentioned earlier, many would argue that Tammy Wynette’s best work was on the ballads, and this song is an extremely good argument for that line of thinking. Great vocal work, here.

“You Don’t Know The Half Of It” is an okay track, but really doesn’t do anything for me. Mainly a neutral reaction.

One of the best vocal performances by Tammy Wynette on the album, can be found on “I L-O-V-E Y-O-U”. The song, itself, is likable, the refrain is a good example of a potentially infectious hook. Certainly worth Hidden Gem consideration.

“You Never Crossed My Mind” is a ballad that is a solid track.

Also nothing fancy about the album’s final track, “Let Me Be Me”. Simply a solid tune that gives the album a decent wrap.

An album that is off the market, I was a bit surprised at the prices I saw for used vinyl, as almost all copies I found were in the $10 to $15 range.

“No One Else In The World” gets my nod for Standout Track. My Hidden Gem is “I’m Not Ready Yet”. Weakest Track, “You Don’t Know The Half Of It”. Not a bad track, just one that didn’t do much for me.

Overall, a good, but not great, album. In an era, when albums weren’t always given a lot of attention and thought during their formation, Tammy Wynette was one of the best at putting out an outstanding collection, be it mostly original tracks, covers, or a combination. This album isn’t quite to the level of her best work, but it’s far from a throwaway disc. Tammy Wynette, along with Flatt & Scruggs may well be the only two acts I can think of, where their weakest works still rate better the best works of many others. This one is a solid 3.5 out of 5.

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