10 Classic Country Albums Turning 50 This Year

From Johnny Cash's 'At Folsom Prison' to Dolly Parton's 'Just Because I'm a Woman'

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Tammy Wynette, 'D-I-V-O-R-C-E'
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Tammy Wynette, 'D-I-V-O-R-C-E'

The chart-topping title track, about a mom trying to keep her little J-O-E from knowing, for as long as that's possible, that his parents are splitting up, is sometimes mocked as kitsch by country haters while being heard by country fans as closer to a kind of realism, tricked out with rhythm and melody. That's for sure how Wynette sings it and most everything else here. On "Gentle on My Mind" and "Honey (I Miss You)," she gender-switches the lyrics of recent hits; on "Sweet Dreams" and "Lonely Street," she successfully rides war-horse standards; on everything she manipulates what producer Billy Sherrill called the built-in "tear" in her voice to embody each song's joy or pain or, more typically, both at once. Bonus: Though she would become best known for her slow balladry, D-I-V-O-R-C-E also includes "When There's a Fire in Your Heart," the kind of speedy, sexy anthem that, at least early in her career, was Tammy's secret specialty. 

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