Born April 14, 1935 in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, Loretta Lynn turns 68 today.
Beyond anything else, Loretta is the top female artist in the history of country songwriting, excepting maybe Dolly Parton. Of course, Dolly didn’t manage to have six children and 29 grandchildren while she was making her mark. Loretta had whole other tales to tell about domesticity and curbing a wayward man that Dolly didn’t know anything about.
The coal miner’s daughter was peaking just as I was in the five to ten year old range. With my place and time, Loretta became a major icon of womanhood to me. She had all those anthems of pride in family and roots, but also no-nonsense knocking down on drunk philandering husbands and the little Sheilas leading them on. She’s what a woman is supposed to be about. If I had to pick just one song, I’d probably favor “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”.
As to her best recordings, she has a big ol’ box set that’s great for us hardcore fans, but for practical purposes you couldn’t really improve on the MCA Loretta Lynn – 20 Greatest Hits CD. It should be a staple part of any even half-decent country music collection.