Coal Miner's Daughter

Loretta Lynn

MCA Nashville , 1971

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


It’s hard to believe sometimes that the Daily Vault has been in existence for 25 years, and I’ve been writing for it on and off for 23 of them.

It’s also hard to believe that with all those years, with a goal of publishing at least one new review a day, we’ve missed so many classics. The day I wrote this, one of the greatest country-western singers ever, Loretta Webb Lynn, finally passed on at the age of 90, and I realized as a result that we had never reviewed her 1971 classic my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Well, thought I, let’s fix THAT.

I had never listened to Daughter; my exposure to classic country was mostly a function of my childhood where, living in rural Illinois, WMAQ (“The Trucker’s Friend”) was one of the radio stations we could get in really well. Many a night I fell asleep listening to country music and road reports. I’m sure Loretta Lynn figured in that prominently, though I don’t recall specifics.

Damn shame. Coal Miner’s Daughter is one of the best classic country albums I’ve ever heard.

Let’s get the negative out of the way first. Most sixties and seventies country was not recorded on state-of-the-then-art equipment; the sound on Daughter is restricted in its dynamic range and a touch tinny, to an even greater extent than pop music of the same era. This was four-track reel-to-reel stuff when recorded, and remastering can only do so much.

But, the songs—DAMN. Lynn was a genius when it comes to picking her tunes; there is a judicious selection of covers (Conway Twitty’s “Hello Darlin’,” Anne Murray’s “Snowbird”) and originals. Standouts among those are the autobiographical “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (the song) and the wistful “Another Man Loved Me Last Night.” Among the things that makes Lynn stand out is her wicked sense of humor, featured on “What Makes Me Tick” and “It’ll Be Open Season On You” (yes, Loretta Lynn threatened to blow someone away in a song. Woman was TOUGH.)

Anyone who wants a rudimentary education in great American music needs to give Coal Miner’s Daughter a listen. It only misses a perfect score because of that recording issue. Check it out.

Rating: A-

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