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COUNTRY ROUNDUP

Tanya Bringing Torrid Style to the Fair : The superstar is known--and loved--for her many hit records and her skimpy fashions.

August 18, 1994|ROBYN LOEWENTHAL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Say what you will about country superstar Tanya Tucker--the dust, after all, has barely settled after all the revelations in her kiss-and-tell autobiography. And then there are those outrageous outfits. But for many die-hard country fans, few performers can match her.

She will bring her high-energy show to the Ventura County Fair on Wednesday.

Tucker cut her first demo record at age 9 and in the '70s, when she was 13, leaped to the top of the charts with such hits as "Delta Dawn." By the time she was 15, Tucker already had her first Grammy nomination, a "greatest hits" album and a Rolling Stone magazine cover story.

A consummate and time-tested entertainer, Tucker has recorded 27 albums. And as Liberty Records' second top-selling artist (next to Garth Brooks), she is one of the first country artists to achieve mainstream recognition.

Tucker chooses songs that reflect the bravado and independent spirit her fans admire. And her performances deliver spark and sass with upbeat songs such as "Just You Watch Me."

But most critics and fans seem to agree that when Tucker is dripping with anguished torment or smoldering with provocative sensuality-- as in "Soon" off her current album of the same name--she is at her best.

These days, Tucker's hotter than ever, as evidenced by her one-word star-status name, Tanya. Guitar legend Chet Atkins--who performed here last May--was still talking about the skimpy, '60's retro outfit that Tucker had worn several days before on the Academy of Country Music awards show. While tuning his guitar on stage at the Ventura Theatre, he suddenly looked up and said, "Did ya'll see Tanya's outfit on TV the other night?" Then he just rolled his eyes to complete the thought.

But don't let Tucker's trashy fashion style fool you. The 35-year-old is all business. In addition to scores of artistic accolades, including 1991 Country Music Assn.'s Female Vocalist of the Year, Tucker has an exercise video, "Country Workout," and a line of Western clothing to her credit. And she supports the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as spokeswoman for the Black Velvet Smooth Steppin' Showdown, the first national country dance competition for amateurs.

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The Crazy Bull in Camarillo has planned a week jam-packed with great country events and live music. Things should get off to a hot start with the popular seven-piece group Darlene O'Connell & the Dixie Flyers on Friday and Saturday. Then on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday you can rock out with the Rhythm Rangers. Be sure to catch them Tuesday night when K-HAY deejay Charlye Parker plans to teach her own special line dance.

Hot, new country singer-songwriter, Bryan Austin will bring his seven-piece band to the Bull for a real Nashville road show at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Monday. All you Monday Night line-dance-aholics will have to stay seated because there will be no dancing at these shows.

Critics have compared Austin's sound to Vince Gill's. And his debut album on the Patriot label has received strong reviews. He co-wrote the two hit singles getting air play on K-HAY, the upbeat "Radio Active," and the ballad "Is It Just Me?"

So if you want to hear what critics called his "straight ahead country" sound, book early. There will be table seating only and a two-beverage minimum. Children will be admitted to the early show. Advance tickets are $10 per person until Monday when they go up to $12.50; 988-4209.

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Congrats to two of our local bands for getting radio airplay. You can catch singles off Platte River Crossing's debut CD, "Sleepin' With My Boots On," over the Thunder 105.5 FM airways. And while driving to Los Angeles last Sunday evening I tuned into KPFK 90.7 FM during the "Folk Scene" program. And I recognized the progressive bluegrass-acoustic style of The Acousticats before the host could credit their second and newest CD, "The Cat's Meow."

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Dance fans, watch for lessons to learn "Cruisin'," an easy line dance you can do when you don't have a partner for those ever-increasing cha-cha numbers. And if you speed up "Black Velvet," it's a great line-dance substitute when couples are doing West Coast swing.

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I dropped by Alexander's Country Night on a recent Tuesday and the place was packed. I'm happy to report that midweek at the Crazy Bull also looked good. And next week I'll be able to give you the scoop on some new places that have introduced country music.

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Insufficient profits have caused Santa Paula's Frontier Club to change its format from country to Latino. Maxie's, a popular watering hole in Oak View, is considering dropping live music in favor of darts tournaments if support for the bands doesn't improve. The Starting Gate in Ventura may abandon its country format if attendance on the weekends doesn't pick up. And Schooner Time in Simi Valley is experimenting with rock bands. But management said it plans to reinstate country on Thursday nights beginning in September in response to many requests.

Details

* WHAT: Tanya Tucker Concert.

* WHERE: Ventura County Fairgrounds, 10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura.

* WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

* COST: The concert is free with admission to the fair ($6 adults, $3 seniors and children age 6 and older).

* CALL: 648-3376.

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