Tanya Tucker, 'T.N.T.' (MCA)
Tanya Tucker turned 20 the month before T.N.T. was released, and it does feel like a young woman coming of age. About half the album features playful, exuberant versions of songs that were already oldies but goodies when she'd scored her first hits as a 14-year-old. She covers Chuck Berry's "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man" and, featuring an especially impressive performance from harmonica man Mickey Raphael, Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away.” She also honors the late King with a bumpy-grindy go at "Heartbreak Hotel." Yet far from feeling nostalgic, T.N.T. regularly sounds like Tucker is looking to engage in an arena-rocking heart-to-heart with A.O.R. radio sisters like Linda Ronstadt, Pat Benatar and Heart. On "If You Feel It," she even works in bits of groove borrowed from Fleetwood Mac. Her "Angel From Montgomery" is the best by someone not named Bonnie Raitt, and her "Texas (When I Die)," a Top Five single, is a fantastic cowboy-loving Outlaw number, albeit one that never, ever gets pegged as Outlaw because it's by someone named Tanya Tucker.