Loretta Lynn, Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner’s Daughter
Loretta Lynn is still telling it like is
Loretta Lynn writes in the preface to her newly reissued Coal Miner’s Daughter that her fans are her friends, and after reading her book I’m ready to commit to full-fledged fandom, not the least because I really want to be one of her friends. I could come over to her ranch in Hurricane Mills and we could eat chicken and dumplings, and if her husband, Doolittle, came home, I know the two of them would scrap with each other, but that’s just the way they are together. After eating maybe Loretta would take me on a tour of her ranch, describing to me in detail how she’d fixed up each of the rooms, real fancy, even though she’s still really just a country girl from Butcher Holler. She might even take me out to her special writing room. Did you know that she writes most of her own songs? And that she actually gets more out of writing than singing? In the writing room I might ask her about some of the graver parts of her life. Like how she got married to Doo when she was only 13, and sure wished she had known about the birth-control pill then. Or how in the early ’70s she had multiple tumors removed from her breast; they were non-malignant, but she had to vow to never play guitar again. And, given these issues, I might ask her whether she’d consider herself a feminist. She’d say no, because she doesn’t like those labels, but that she’s always considered herself to be singing to the women, first and foremost. She even thought about putting together an all-girl band when she first started out. Later, on her tour bus — decorated by Loretta in purple velvet and white leatherette — we might get to talking about the country music industry: Patsy Cline, Ernest Tubb, and some pretty up-front talk about how much money she makes, and what she does with it. Oh, and I’d compliment her for getting Sissy Spacek — who won an Oscar for portraying Loretta in the film of Coal Miner’s Daughter — to do the reading on this audiobook. She read it so convincingly sometimes I forgot it wasn’t Loretta reading! I mean, we could talk about anything, endlessly. But probably at a certain point Loretta would get tired and tell me I could answer all my questions by just listening to her songs — because, as she says, “I don’t come up with ‘em, I’ve lived ‘em!” 34 years after the fact, Loretta Lynn is still telling it like is.