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“Coal Miner’s Daughter”

Posted by purplemary54 on June 19, 2014

Sorry about yesterday.  I’ve been trying to reset my sleep rhythms by spending less time at the computer and taking melatonin.  (BTW, melatonin is the bomb.  Totally works if you’re having trouble sleeping, and totally natural.)

Spending less time at the computer has, for better or worse, led to me watching a little more TV.  And the other day, I ran into one of my favorite movies, Coal Miner’s Daughter.  It’s the story of how Loretta Lynn went from obscurity to superstardom.  I first saw it on TV when I was eleven or twelve, and even though I barely knew who Loretta Lynn was (and a lot of the content of the movie sort of went over my head), I was enchanted.  She was just an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent, trying to cope with life.  It’s the kind of story anyone can enjoy.

I couldn’t find any good clips of Sissy Spacek singing this (although here’s a video of her with Lynn singing “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man.”)  When you listen to the incomparable Loretta Lynn speak and sing, though, you can appreciate how dead on Spacek’s performance is.  She really nailed it.  (Her colleagues thought so, too; Spacek won an Oscar for the role.)  The movie also features Tommy Lee Jones as Lynn’s husband, who everyone called “Doolittle” even though he seemed to work pretty damn hard; and Levon Helm as Lynn’s father, the titular coal miner.  It really is fun to watch and listen to all that great Country music.

Lynn was always something of a trailblazer for female Country singers.  She wrote a lot of her own music, and tackled controversial topics like birth control and domestic violence.  Once she got past her youthful insecurities, it seemed like Lynn never stood for any nonsense in her life.  She did things her way, the rest of the world be damned.  What’s most remarkable is that her toughness never outshone her kindness.  You could always tell that Loretta was a nice woman, just by the way she smiled at the camera.

Lynn has continued to be a vital artist.  In 2004, she released Van Lear Rose, a collaboration with musical wunderkind/renaissance man Jack White.  The album was recorded shortly after Doolittle’s death, with my favorite track being the heartbreaking “Miss Being Mrs.”  She’s one of those wonderful people and artists that stays relevant to generation after generation.


2 Responses to ““Coal Miner’s Daughter””

  1. Thanks. Really love this film and LL too. Should also say how affecting levon helm is in the fathers role. Regards thom

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