Loretta Lynn: Women’s Libber
I was listening to KEXP in Seattle last summer, and a song came on that was pretty good; a very recently recorded pop tune, slightly distorted guitar, kinda fun. One of these bands made up of twenty or thirty-somethings that is KEXP’s most frequent fare. Then the singer’s voice came in, and I thought, Wow! Who is this? She was singing in a sort of country style, and she had a kind of powerful, belt-it-out kind of voice, but at the same time completely controlled and lilting over the top — in short, that high, lonesome sound. I got quite excited about it, and thought, whoever this is, I’ve got to get their album. She’s fantastic. At the end of the song, the DJ said “That was Loretta Lynn and the White Stripes”. So that explains it.
I particularly like Loretta’s women’s libber songs, and this is one of my favorites. Country songs from this era tackled social issues that were not addressed by other pop music of the day. The mainline pop and rock musicians had bigger fish to fry when it came to “topical” music: war, social justice, civil rights. The politics of country music of the 60s and 70s was more personal: home, work, relationships. While country music and country fans may have officially scorned the so-called women’s libbers, their female artists nevertheless created music that was all about liberating women, and fans ate it up.
Cross-posted on Righteous