My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Tag Archives: Lorene Allen

Album Review: Loretta Lynn – ‘Your Squaw Is On The Warpath’

MI0003863545Loretta Lynn had released about a dozen albums by the time Your Squaw is on the Warpath was released in 1969. It was her first album released that year and saw her teaming up again with Owen Bradley and Decca Records.

Lynn either wrote or co-wrote four of the album’s songs. The title track, a top 5 hit she penned solo, is a classic. She also solely composed “Sneakin’ In,” a steel-drenched ballad about her cheating husband. She also co-wrote two ballads – “Let Me Go, You’re Hurting Me” and “He’s Somewhere Between You and Me” with Lorene Allen and Doyle Wilburn respectively.

The remainder of the album consists mainly of ballads. “Living My Lifetime for You” is flavorless and Teddy Wilburn’s “Taking The Place of my Man” benefits from the helping of Steel. The cover of Marty Robbins’ “I Walk Alone” has beautiful touches of piano throughout and a powerful vocal from Lynn.

The album’s other top five hit, “You Just Stepped In (From Stepping Out on Me)” has beautiful jaunty guitars and ribbons of Steel. I love the touches of piano, too, dated as they may be to today’s ears. Lynn takes the bull by the horns on “Harper Valley, P.T.A.,” although I cannot help but find her signing it a bit odd. She copes brilliantly but hardly fits the image of the wife in the lyric. The final number, Kaw-Liga, is a wonderful yet also out-of-character cover of the Hank Williams classic.

Your Squaw is on the Warpath is neither here nor there for me. I don’t hate the album but I didn’t feel the magic I felt with Don’t Come Home. This isn’t a bad album in the least just not one that blew me away. I still recommend you listen to it and come to your own conclusions.

Grade: B

Album Review: Loretta Lynn – ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’

Like most of her contemporaries in the 1960s and 1970s, Loretta Lynn was clearly a singles artist.  Her albums were typically built around one or two hit singles, with cover versions of other artists’ hits and other tunes that weren’t considered strong enough for single release providing the album filler.  This is the approach that was used with 1970’s Coal Miner’s Daughter, but the result was a much stronger album than she usually turned out during this era.

The title track, Lynn’s signature hit, is the only single from the album.  Recorded in October 1969, it tells the story of her poverty-stricken childhood in Kentucky.  Decca had reservations about the song’s commercial viability and did not release it until May 1970.  It slowly but steadily climbed the charts until it reached the #1 spot in December.  It was Loretta’s fourth #1, and her first entry into the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at #83.   The tune went on to lend its title to Loretta’s autobiography and the film it inspired, in 1976 and 1980, respectively.

Five of the album’s eleven tracks are covers of hits by other artists, but Loretta  treats them respectfully and never dismisses them as album filler.  Her rendition of her buddy Conway Twitty’s signature hit “Hello Darlin'” is a by-the-numbers interpretation, as are her takes on Ray Price’s “For The Good Times” (written by Kris Kristofferson), Anne Murray’s “Snowbird” and Marty Robbins’ “Too Far.”  Her version of Glen Campbell’s catchy “A Little Less of Me” is excellent.

Of the remaining five songs, “Any One, Any Worse, Anywhere”, written by Loretta with Lorene Allen and Charlie Aldridge’s “It’ll Be Open Season On You” are the weak links, but the other three are first-rate and one wonders why Decca didn’t make any attempt to market them as single releases.  Possibly “Another Man Loved Me Last Night”,  written by Lorene Allen and Loretta’s sister Peggy Sue Wells and later covered by Amber Digby, was considered too risque for country radio in 1970, though much greater risks were taken a few years later with controversial hits such as “Rated X”, “Wings Upon Your Horns”, and “The Pill.”    “The Man of the House” is a typical Loretta-as-the-put-upon-and-fed-up-neglected-wife song, and along with her original composition “What Makes Me Tick” is one of my favorites in this collection.   The latter in particular had the potential to be a monster hit, in my opinion.  It’s amazing that no other artists ever took advantage of Loretta’s missed opportunity to cover the song themselves.

Coal Miner’s Daughter was one of only a handful of Loretta’s studio albums to be issued on CD.   It was her second studio album and third album overall to earn gold certification from the RIAA.   It is out of print in CD form but used copies can be purchased from third-party sellers on Amazon.  It is also available as a digital download from Amazon MP3 and iTunes.  Please be aware that Coal Miner’s Daughter is frequently used as the title for other compilations and live-in-concert recordings that are often of dubious quality.

Grade: A