If you take a good long listen to Tanya Tucker's singles like "Delta Dawn" and "Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone)," you will find yourself flabbergasted that a teenage girl got away with any of it, never mind the men who signed her checks. All of 13 when "Delta Dawn" became a Top 10 country hit in 1972, Tucker showed off a maturity that lesser singers can take years to muster. The super-saccharine Taylor Swift wouldn't touch a song like "Blood Red and Goin' Down" in 2012, though gals like Miranda Lambert have made similar material their career calling cards. In the course of female country history, Tucker's touch is palpable in almost every big-time act. Shania Twain did it most successfully, and Gretchen Wilson added a rock slant, with middling results. "Down to My Last Teardrop," from 1991, is still a stone-cold jam as it reaches legal drinking age, and "(Without You) What Do I Do with Me" smokes anything the Lady Antebellum crew can throw at radio.
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