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** 1/2 VARIOUS ARTISTS, "Tammy Wynette Remembered," Asylum

September 13, 1998|Richard Cromelin

In her '60s and '70s hits, Tammy Wynette presented herself as blindly forgiving, submissive, pliant and dependent to the point of helplessness. It took a great singer and a powerful personality to convey those qualities without getting muddied by them--someone like the First Lady of Country Music.

There are some worthy performances on this tribute to Wynette, who died in April of a blood clot at age 55. Elton John stands by his mannerisms in his version of her signature song, and in another odd and oddly affecting match, Wynette herself sings a "duet" with Brian Wilson--a studio-patched pairing on his anthem of introversion, "In My Room." It was her last recorded vocal.

Wynonna, Wynette's ex-husband and vocal partner George Jones and the team of Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and the McGarrigles also rise to the occasion, but this lineup of familiar and/or faded country artists was chosen primarily for personal links to Wynette rather than stature in the field or standout artistry.

It's a sentimental gesture that Wynette would no doubt endorse, but with too many routine performances, "Remembered" falls short artistically, and without such A-list participants as Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless, it lacks the star power a First Lady deserves.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four stars (excellent).

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* Excerpts from these albums and other recent releases are available on The Times' World Wide Web site. Point your browser to: http://www.latimes.com/soundclips

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