What Is It With ‘Delta Dawn’ This Week?

The Tampa Tribune SECTION: METRO PAGE: 4 Published Tuesday, March 4, 2003 Vintage Tanya Gets Boots Tapping SO; jbarrs@tampatrib.com BYLINE: JENNIFER BARRS MEMO: REVIEW


PLANT CITY – In 2002, Tanya Tucker released her 31st album. On her own record label. Exactly 30 years after she recorded her first song, which she had heard Bette Midler sing on “The Tonight Show.”

Today, it remains a futile exercise to think of anyone but Tucker delivering that tune: the swamp-rock anthem “Delta Dawn.” With a voice more mature (and just plain naughty sounding) than her 13 years, it was a blockbuster in 1972.

Now 44, Tucker is one of the few stalwarts in a business that has rushed to champion youth, sometimes in lieu of talent. But this singer from Texas, whose vocals still resonate with trademark raspiness, is gifted indeed – if traditional country music is a present you’ d give yourself.

Monday afternoon at the Florida Strawberry Festival, Tucker opened her show with the woozy, bluesy grind of “Some Kind of Trouble,” then followed it up with her huge, late-1980s hit “I’ll Come Back as Another Woman.” From the get-go, what the audience heard was a performance that channeled George Jones and Tammy Wynette: note-perfect and professional, a sophisticated salute to Nashville’s historic giddyap sound.

Singing against a backdrop of leopard-print fabric, Tucker strutted her stuff in butter-colored pants and a form-fitting gold sweater. Clearly, this woman exudes a confident sense of self and style one could only describe as Honky Tonky Honey With Money. She also has learned that the smaller movements are suggestive, not exhaustive. For instance, while singing “It’s a Little Too Late,” Tucker froze in fanciful poses. Call it “vogue-ing,” two-step style.

Among the standouts in her concert was the Columbia years medley, a reference to the record label that launched her career. “The Jamestown Ferry” and “What’s Your Mama’s Name, Child” showcased not only Tucker’ s voice, but also the tender harmonies sung by her seven musicians. The sweetly sensuous “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of …)” – a song written as a lyrical wedding vow by David Allan Coe – also was lovely.

Cuts off her new album, “Tanya,” included a hot, Delbert McClinton nugget called “Old Weakness (Coming On Strong),” and among the best of the old numbers was the irresistible dance tune “San Antonio Stroll.”

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