STAND BY YOUR MAN by Tammy with Joan Dew Wynette

STAND BY YOUR MAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

I still think getting paid to sing is too good to be true, and if it ends tomorrow I can always go back to doing hair."" Yes, that's the voice of the Tupelo cotton-picker and Birmingham barmaid/beautician who took herself (and three babes) off to Nashville at age 23 to become a Country-Western star--but there's relatively little about music in this long, flat, misfortune-filled memoir. By the time Tammy (born Wynette Pugh) took off for ""Music City,"" she'd already had some hard times: no father (he died at 26), her ""sister"" (Aunt Carolyn) disfigured in a car wreck, a rushed-into marriage to no-account Euple at 17, and a premature baby that nearly died from meningitis. But ""youth gave me the courage, and ambition gave me the push""; so Tammy made a few rounds, sang for a few people, and soon she had a first hit (thanks to Nashville whiz Billy Sherrill) and a second husband--friendly writer-singer Don, who turned out to be a no-talent leech and a creep (he passed around nude photos of Tammy). Thank heavens, then, for George Jones, with whom Tammy had sung duets--but she didn't know he loved her till he rescued her from Don: ""The legendary George Jones, my idol, in love with me, Wynette Pugh from Tupelo, Mississippi? It was far too wonderful to be true."" Wonderful, also, having baby Georgette, building the ""Old Plantation Music Park,"" and being ""Mr. and Mrs. Country Music."" Less wonderful, however, was George's violent, incorrigible drinking-and-disappearing act--which patient Tammy finally just couldn't take any more. So goodbye George, hello loneliness, near-fatal overdose (""I just wanted to sleep""), erratic romance with nice but footloose Burt Reynolds (Tammy worried about going all the way on date #2), a 44-day marriage on the rebound from Burt, and . . . Marriage #5, which is definitely going to last. Tammy seems a sincere and decent enough mixed-up-lady, not very bright but no phony either. Still, with only one genuinely moving moment (terminally ill Aunt Carolyn's appearance at that fifth wedding) and few words about singing or songwriting--this is a heaping helping of humorless fan-mag heartbreak, and strictly Country-Western except for that fleeting Reynolds affair.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Simon & Schuster