We’re back with another look at a couple of releases from Cherry Red’s country-focused Morello Records. The imprint has been releasing country music reissues for the past several years. Today, we’re looking at two new releases featuring one of the biggest names in country music history: Tammy Wynette. Morello has released several twofers of Wynette previously, and these contain albums spanning nearly two decades.
First up is the CD, due on March 24, containing two of Wynette’s earliest albums: 1968’s D-I-V-O-R-C-E and 1969’s Stand By Your Man. These of course also contain two of her most famous songs. Soon after moving to Nashville in 1966, Wynette signed with Epic Records and teamed up with producer Billy Sherrill. She had some success with her first two albums, but things really began to take off with the release of the single: “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.” The Bobby Braddock/Curly Putman tune would become Wynette’s first Billboard Country #1 song and go to #63 on the Pop chart. On the subsequent album, the tune was accompanied by covers of songs which had been hits for others such as “Gentle On My Mind” for Glen Campbell, The Beatles’ “Yesterday” and “Honey (I Miss You)” for Bobby Goldsboro. The album would climb to the No. 1 Country position itself and also chart on the regular Billboard survey.
After releasing the gospel LP Inspiration, Wynette would then return an even bigger success with the Stand By Your Man album. The title single, written by Wynette and Sherrill, preceded the album by several months and made Wynette a superstar. It hit the peak of the Country chart for three weeks and also made #11 on the Easy Listening Chart and #19 on the Hot 100. When it was released in the U.K. in 1975, it topped the Singles chart. It would also win Wynette the Grammy for “Best Female Country Vocal Performance.” The Stand By Your Man album was populated by less covers and had more songs written for Wynette including one of her solo compositions: “I Stayed Long Enough” Propelled by the success of the single, the LP peaked at #2 on the Country chart and crossed over to #43 on the Top LPs and Tapes chart. Wynette became one of the most prominent names in country music during this time, garnering 12 more Country #1s in the ’70s, marrying George Jones and collaborating on him for a series of successful duet recordings (including 3 additional Country #1s) and being named the CMA’s “Female of the Year” for three years straight.
By the mid-1980s, Wynette’s chart fortunes had waned a bit. She had divorced Jones nearly a decade earlier and began to have health issues. While still producing music and touring, she was no longer hitting the top of the charts. By the time of 1985’s Sometimes When We Touch album, she hadn’t had a Top 10 Country single in three years. That would change when the title song hit #6. The Dan Hill/Barry Mann song was the biggest hit of Hill’s career, going to #3 on the Hot 100 in 1978. It had received numerous covers and for her version, Wynette duetted with Mark Gray from the band Exile. The album, produced by Steve Buckingham, had songs from several prominent writers including Conway Twitty contributing to two songs. It also featured Vince Gill and The Oak Ridge Boys on background vocals.
That idea would continue on 1987’s Higher Ground, also produced by Buckingham. Rather than have other famous musicians contribute to duets with Wynette (although she did perform a song with Vern Gosdin on the album), they would instead lend their voices as backing singers. Gill would return, along with The O’Kanes, Rodney Crowell, Paul Overstreet, Gene Watson, Ricky Skaggs and Emmylou Harris, among others. The album would hit #43 on the Country charts (slightly lower than the #32 placement of Sometimes) and have three singles make the charts, the most successful being the #12 Country “Your Love.” (The Beckie Foster/Tommy Rocco tune featured Skaggs on background.) Wynette would record three more albums for Epic Records and also have a big success when she teamed with Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton for 1993’s Honky Tonk Angels on Columbia. In 1998, she succumbed to her health issues and passed away at 55.
Morello’s two CDs were both produced by Lee Simmonds and remastered by Alan Wilson at Western Star Studios. Each features an eight-page color booklet containing a two-page essay from Tony Byworth. The original sleevenotes from Stand By Your Man and Sometimes When We Touch are also included. We’ve got the full tracklisting below together with ordering links if you’d like to give them a listen. D-I-V-O-R-C-E/Stand By Your Man arrives on March 24, while Sometimes When We Touch/Higher Ground is available now!
- Gentle on My Mind
- Honey (I Miss You)
- The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde
- All Night Long
- Sweet Dreams
- Come on Home
- When There’s a Fire in Your Heart
- Kiss Away
- Lonely Street
- Stand By Your Man
- It’s My Way
- Forever Yours
- I Stayed Long Enough
- It Keeps Slipping My Mind
- My Arms Stay Open Late
- I’ve Learned
- Cry, Cry Again
- If I Were a Little Girl
- Don’t Make Me Go To School
Tracks 1-11 from D-I-V-O-R-C-E, Epic Records LP BN 26392, 1968
Tracks 12-22 from Stand By Your Man, Epic Records LP BN 26451, 1969
- Sometimes When We Touch
- You Can Lead A Heart to Love (But You Can’t Make It Fall)
- Breaking Away
- Every Time You Touch Her (Think of Me)
- Between Twenty Nine and Danger
- It’s Only Over For You
- The Party of the First Part
- It’s Hard To Be a Dreamer (When I Used To Be the Dream)
- If It Ain’t Love
- He Talks To Me
- Your Love
- Some Things Will Never Change
- Beneath a Painted Sky
- I Just Wasn’t Meant to Live My Life Alone
- Higher Ground
- Talkin’ To Myself Again
- A Slow Burning Fire
- There’s No Heart So Strong
- All Through Throwing Good Love After Bad
Tracks 1-10 from Sometimes When We Touch, Epic Records LP FE 39971, 1985
Tracks 11-20 from Higher Ground, Epic Records CD EK 40832, 1987