Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Happy Birthday Tammy Wynette

Remembering the
lovely and legendary
 country songstress 
whose birthday was
this week.

From humble origins to worldwide fame,
Tammy's songs often reflect the
good times as well as the 
disappointments,the loneliness,
 and heartbreak experienced by
men and women
from all walks of life.

Born Virginia Wynette Pugh near Tremont, Mississippi,
she was the only child  of  William Hollice and Mildred Pugh.
 Her father, a farmer and a musician, died of a brain tumor when 
 Virginia was only nine months old.

During World War II, young Virginia was sent to 
live with her maternal grandparents while
her mother worked in a defense plant in Memphis.

At 17, and barely out of high school,
Virginia married Euple Bryd,
a construction worker.
It seems her husband had trouble holding down
a job, which often left Virginia to be the
family's sole breadwinner.
She worked as a
waitress and a bar maid, and was once
employed in a shoe factory.

Although the couple moved several times
during their marriage,
Virginia managed to attend the 
American Beauty College
in Birmingham, Alabama
where she studied to be a hairdresser.

Even after becoming
a successful singer years later, Virginia renewed her
 cosmetology license  every year for the rest of her life ,
"just in case" she had to go back to working a daily job.

Virginia dreamed of being a country-western singer.
Although she often sang in local night clubs,
her husband would not support her dreams.
When she took their three daughters and
left him,  Byrd's parting shot to
his wife was, "Dream on baby."
Years later, he showed up backstage
 at one of her sold out concerts
where she obligingly signed an autograph for him,
"Dream on baby."

Virginia's first break into show business came
in 1965, when she sang on a local
television program,
the "Country Boy Eddie Show"
 on WBRC-TV in Birmingham.
This later led to a singing appearance
with  country crooner Porter Wagoner.
In 1966, she and her three daughters
moved to Nashville where Virginia worked
as a hairdresser.  And, where she also hoped
to break into the recording industry.
After much frustration and disappointments,
Virginia landed an audition with famous
Nashville producer, Billy Sherrill.
Although initially reluctant,  after hearing
Virginia sing the song,"Apartment #9"
Sherrill offered her  a contract  with Epic Records.
He also suggested that Virginia
 change her name.
The pretty young woman who
wore her long blonde hair in a ponytail
reminded him of Hollywood actress,
Debbie Reynolds in the movie,
"Tammy and the Bachelor".
 And so, they decided to 
change her name to
Tammy Wynette.
And the rest is history!

The song, "Apartment #9" just missed
 making the Top Forty on the country charts,
coming in at a close #44.
However, Tammy's second hit, 
and one of my personal favorites
"Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad".
was a smashing success!

Released in 1967, it made it to #3 on
the Country Singles chart.

That same year,
Tammy also recorded the song,
"My Elusive Dream"with David Houston.
The song was a number #1 hit
 record on the country charts
 in the summer of 1967.

This success was followed by
a string of other hit songs for Tammy, including,
"I Don't Want To Play House""Take Me To Your World"
"D-I-V-O-R-C-E" and, perhaps her
 most famous and recognizable
signature song, 
"Stand By Your Man"
released in 1968.

When Tammy met George...

"We're Gonna Hold On"
George Jones and Tammy Wynette

Not only did Tammy and  legendary country artist, George Jones
make beautiful music together,  but I believe he was the great
love of Tammy's life. They were married in 1969.
 Unfortunately, Jones' violent mood swings, often fueled
 by his battle with alcoholism, eventually brought
 their stormy six year marriage to an end.
Fortunately, Tammy and George were able to remain
on friendly terms and would once again team up
to do an album together in 1995.


Tammy's Most Recognizable Song 
Was Not Without Controversy...

"But if you love him, you'll forgive him
Even though he's hard to understand
And if you love him, oh be proud of him
'Cause after all he's just a man."
-Tammy Wynette

Stand By Your Man

In her infamous "60 Minutes" interview in 1992,
  soon-to-be First Lady and leading feminist icon,
 Hillary Clinton used, or rather misused,
 Tammy's song in  her response
to the interviewer's pointed question
about her husband's alleged infidelity. 
  In a huff of self-righteous indignation, 
 Clinton countered defensively, 
"You know, I'm not sitting here like some little woman,
 standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette."

  Her thoughtless response was said to have infuriated Tammy,
 who was watching the interview at the time.
"With all that is in me I resent your caustic remark,"
Tammy shot back later in a letter to Hillary,
 I, with no apologies, am as angry
 as I can be with your statement."

Personally, I never understood why Mrs. Clinton
 made reference to Tammy's song in the first place.
I think if she wanted to make a real impact,
she should have offered up this song instead:

 Tammy's Standing Tall

 Furthermore, if "standing by your man" is foolish,

   so was Hillary by deliberately evading the question asked, 
when, thanks to the intense media coverage 
of the subject matter, everyone watching 
already knew the answer.  

The only fool that night was Hillary.

But so much for trying to understand
the intricate subterfuge of national politics...
and personal ambition...


Now back to the beautiful young woman
from Mississippi...

"Till I Can Make It
On My Own"

  ...who rose from poverty with the determination to 

"to make it on her own", and who dared to "dream on"
to become a country music legend...

Bedtime Story

...and who, despite the
criticism from feminists for,
"Stand By Your Man"  
  made it big time back in the day
 when country music was an
essentially male-dominated
industry in the 1960's and early 1970's.

Tammy's life is a classic American
 rags-to-riches success story, and a great
inspiration to dreamers everywhere,
to never give in, and never give up! 

Although she has gone home 
 to be with the Lord, Tammy's legacy as
 one of greatest queens of classic country 
music will live on forever in the hearts
of those who love her and her songs
about love, and loss...
and life.

In honor of 
Tammy's birthday,
here's a
 sweet and delicious
dessert I first learned
to make during a
trip to meet my relatives
in Australia
 in 1987

Cherry Trifle

2 pints heavy whipping cream
2 16-ounce jars of cherry pie filling
1 cup sugar
2 packages ladyfinger sponge cookies
cherry kirsch

Line a large round dessert bowl
with a layer of ladyfingers
enough to cover the bottom
and sides of the bowl.
Drizzle cookies evenly with
about 2 T cherry kirsch.
Set aside.
Beat heavy cream until
thick peaks form.
Carefully fold in sugar.
Spread alternate layers of
cream and cherry pie filling
on top of ladyfingers,
finishing with the
whipped cream.
Garnish with remaining
cherries if desired.
Refrigerate for several hours
or overnight if possible.

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