Despite the fact that her current popularity is dwarfed by successes like those of Dolly Parton and Barbara Mandrell, to millions of country fans, the queen of music remains Tammy Wynette. Backed by a sterling six-piece band and a female vocal quartet, Wynette entertained the packed house at the Bayou with energetic gospel, hard honky-tonk, some down-home humor and especially her classics like "D-I-V-O-R-C-E." She marched through the songs of her career with the confidence of a performer who has owned the heart of the American housewife like no country singer before or since.
It was particularly nice to hear her sing material like "Apartment Number Nine" stripped of Billy Sherill's glossy production veneer. Wynette's voice, an excellent pop vehicle with considerable range, was especially moving when she placed one of her trademark sobs in the middle of a syllable. More than anything, it is the emotional force and credibility of her singing that raises Wynette's songs of female resignation and suffering from the maudlin to painfully real. Of course, she ended with her anthem, "Stand By Your Man," a song whose message may seem a little old-fashioned but whose gut-wrenching power is timeless.