Tammy Wynette: tragic, country, queen



You a "bookish type"? That's how biographer Jimmy McDonough addresses some of you in his audience — readers who maybe don't know enough of Tammy Wynette's music; even less of Wynette herself. Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen (Viking) introduces you to both the woman and her work. But given her history with alcohol and medications and five husbands (the first, when Wynette was 17, to a man named Euple Byrd; the second to songwriter Don Chapel — in 1967, annulled in 1968; the third to George Jones, no slouch himself in the boozing department; the fourth to Michael Tomlin — in 1976, annulled in 1976; the fifth to her manager, by many estimates a real creep, named George Richey), the "tragic" of the subtitle isn't overstating it. Wynette died in 1998. Her music, which McDonough does a good job steering you to, lives on. But you'll either view it as a minus or a plus to find the biographer himself so often in these pages too. Janet Maslin in The New York Times takes the latter view. McDonough himself: He's at Davis-Kidd signing Tammy Wynette today, March 10th, at 6 p.m.

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