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Loretta Lynn

Coal Miner’s Daughter

Review by Lisa Palmeno

Loretta Lynn starts off this classic country masterpiece with a story about her youth in Butcher Hollar, a bleak mining town. As she reminisces about her childhood home and the family she grew up with, the “tear” in her voice never leaves. Coal Miner’s Daughter gave birth to an autobiographical movie and established Lynn forever as the reigning Queen of Country.

Simple and to the point, her songs drive home the inner strength of a little gal with a habit of speaking her mind and taking what she wants. Just as she took Nashville by storm after marrying “Dew” before high school, she boldly tells what she thinks about love and men in her songs. Falling in love, breaking up and getting back together are the themes of all songs except the title cut. The album has two Lynn originals, a song co-written with Lorene Allen, and love songs penned by Glen Campbell, Marty Robbins and Kristofferson. The only thing that is missing on the CD version is any mention of the fine musicians and back-up singers. Coal Miner’s Daughter was recorded in 1969 and released in 1970.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Coal Miner’s Daughter
The title song is pure country, with a twanging guitar, steady beat and happy tone. Even though “tired” and “hard” do not really rhyme, Lynn pulls it off with her southern drawl, an effect she has never lost and never should. The simplicity in the way she describes the daily routine and fondness demonstrated in her voice give the listener vivid images of her childhood.
Hello Darlin’
Lynn and Conway Twitty share this Twitty original in a duet that kept rumors of a steamy side romance circulating for decades. The slow ballad shares the tale of two lovers who have parted ways; in the song, they reunite for a conversation about how to get back together without actually saying it outright. Beautifully harmonized, “Hello Darlin’” is a hard one to forget.
Less of Me
Upbeat with tambourines, Lynn’s voice is great backed by a subtly strong male group. The inspirational cover written by Glen Campbell offers up a prayer to be a better all-around person. “Let me think more of my neighbor and a little less of me” is the theme as melodic piano riffs round out this praise song.
Any One, Any Worse, Any Where
Steel slide guitar punctuates this syncopated ballad about a woman asserting her love for a married man. She says “If how bad I love him shows how bad I am, then you won’t find anyone, any worse, anywhere.” Lynn’s voice is backed by ooohs and aaaahs from the guys again, who fill the spaces very nicely.
For the Good Times
Lynn’s cover of the legendary Ray Price’s classic is authentic and true. Filled with sadness of an unwanted break up, “For The Good Times” urges the departing lover to stay together just long enough to rest together and listen to the rain while remembering the good times.
The Man of the House
Larry Brinkley and Lee McAlpin wrote this song about a woman threatening to be gone some day when her man gets home, if he ever gets there. She tells him it will be all his fault if she falls into another man’s arms with “When the man of the house ain’t never home, that’s enough to cause most women to go wrong; when you stagger in the house tonight and find me gone, it’s cause the man of the house ain’t never home.”
What Makes Me Tick
Lynn examines her own sanity in this foot shaker, asking herself why she puts up with her man’s cheating, dogging ways. Her laughing tone keeps this one light and fun.
Another Man Loved Me Last Night
This terrific ballad is slow, drawn out and beautiful with slide guitar, steady drums and super soft piano. Filled with a guilty heart, the singer is hiding a secret from her man who has not been giving her what she needs.
It'll Be Open Season on You
This up tempo number is percussion driven with appropriate back-up vocals and nice piano forays. The song serves as a threat to a girl in a mini-skirt flirting with the wrong husband. Lynn is very believable when she talks about “trespassing” and “hunting.”
Too Far
This slow, steady ballad tells the story of a girl who gives away her virtue to a lover who abandons her. She says “sometimes a girl in love will go too far” and laments letting her heart rule her mind. The slide guitar moans along with Lynn’s sad voice. Hope bleeds through as the girl reveals a baby on the way and the promise of new love through the child.
Snowbird
Happy, upbeat and catchy, this tune by Gene MacLellan sounds much brighter than most songs about lost love. Still, Lynn conveys the sadness through a smile, a technique that is one of her trademarks.
 
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