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She’s 41 and her daddy still calls her, “Baby”

September 1, 2009

My sister sent me Tanya Tucker’s new record of covers, a sweet and sentimental gift. Speaking of covers, Tanya’s looking shockingly like Dolly Parton in her cover photo! It’s great to hear a familiar old voice, but it makes me want to dig out her old music, which is a touch more raw.
“Delta Dawn” was my first favorite song, at age 3. According to legend, I sang it to the neighborhood from the front porch, and those were pre-karaoke days.


She might be 11 here. Still don’t know what she’s saying: “a man of loaded peas stood by her side”??

My second favorite. So southern (and in the prairie dress). Little glimpse of Buck Owens, too.

Check out the interview in Texas Monthly to hear what the old days were like. sorta.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2009 11:35 am

    hey, delta dawn is one of my all-time favorites too, but i heard it first by helen reddy. just looked up the lyrics, and the mysterious line is:
    “Then a man of low degree stood by her side”
    but that’s not what i hear either! how cute that you used to sing it to all the passers-by…!

    • September 1, 2009 9:27 pm

      Hey hey! I have the Helen Reddy version (my mom gave it to me long time ago), but I don’t remember hearing her version growing up. Tanya talks about that in the interview and how Reddy’s version got to be the hit. Shame. Well thanks for clearing up the words for me after all the time. Low degree, huh. Yes, and it’s said I used to sing in my “when you’re hot, you’re hot” t-shirt. I was an extrovert at 3 apparently… ;)

    • September 1, 2009 9:31 pm

      Wouldn’t it be amazing if Neko Case would cover Delta Dawn?!?! She sings loud!

      • September 2, 2009 11:12 am

        OMG… that would be AWESOME! especially with kelly hogan signing harmony…

  2. September 1, 2009 5:16 pm

    LOL “man of loaded peas” Yeah it’s man of low degree. It sounds like she’s saying “a case of gum” in Jamestown Ferry. lol,I love Tanya! She’s a legend and deserves more attention rather than Taylor Swift. (JMO) Tanya,you rock! and your fans love you!

    • September 1, 2009 9:34 pm

      Hi Jamie. “Low degree” is an expression I’m just not familiar with though, so now it kind of jars me. But I can hear my Tennessee kin saying something like that…”looka there that man of LOW degree” but then I haven’t been to Tennessee in a long long time.

  3. Bob Suomela permalink
    September 1, 2009 7:36 pm

    It was that Hee Haw episode, in the clips above, that made me fall in love with Tanya Tucker! At one of Tanya’s meet ‘n’ greets she talked about how Delta Dawn was based on a true story by the song writer. Basically it is the story of a woman who was going to get married, but her husband-to-be left her high-n-dry and the woman went a little loco…..I still sing Delta Dawn at the top of my lungs. If you are interested in hearing a different version, check out Bette Midler’s take on the song.

    • September 1, 2009 9:30 pm

      God bless Hee Haw! I think the whole she-bang is out on youtube, too. Makes me happy knowing there’s a song everybody loves to sing as loud as they can. Thanks for the tip–didn’t know Bette Midler dipped into country but I will keep my ears out for it..

  4. Kylie permalink
    September 3, 2009 9:11 pm

    I used to LOVE heehaw and I would skip around our striped oval rag rug singing Delta Dawn (also) at the top of my lungs. So glad to hear I wasn’t alone. I really wanted to see that castle in the sky that he was going to take her to. How would they get all that grey stone up in the air? Would the towers be crenalated?
    I think having Neko Case do that song would be more than awesome- but I can’t come up with a word for it right now.

  5. September 9, 2009 11:39 am

    I’ve tried to leave messages here before, but seems too technically advanced for me….

    “In her younger days they called her Delta Dawn
    Prettiest woman you ever laid eyes on
    Then a man of low degree stood by her side
    And promised her he’d take her for his bride”

    • September 9, 2009 11:41 am

      Oh, look I posted and now I read the thread above… OK, a bit behind, but enjoyed the singing along…

    • September 11, 2009 8:15 pm

      Hey Ash! Seems everybody knows the words but me, and I’m finding out I’m not the only one who harbors a little love for Tanya ;)

  6. March 6, 2010 2:13 pm

    Late to the party as ever. :)

    I loved (and bellowed out) this one as a girl, too, though I must have been older than 3. It took a Southerner to illuminate this one for me years later: You’re spot-on with how “man of low degree” would be used, and it strongly suggests that she was of higher degree, of course — had a good old family name, or money. Which further leads to the possibility (hinted at but not stated) that her daddy might have taken care of the problem. Kind of puts a different spin on a great song.

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