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Album review: 'Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn'

November 9, 2010 | 12:01 pm

Lorettalynn The broad reach of Loretta Lynn’s influence is immediately evident in this salute on the 50th anniversary of the start of her career. The all-star roster includes Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, the White Stripes, Kid Rock, Lucinda Williams, Paramore, Faith Hill, Steve Earle and Reba McEntire. Sheryl Crow and Miranda Lambert join Lynn herself in a new version of the title track.

Lynn took the steely character of her mentor, Patsy Cline, and ran with it as both singer and writer of songs that often railed against traditional expectations of women. Gretchen Wilson handles Lynn’s no-nonsense advisory to a wayward man in “Don’t Come Home A' Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind), and Jack and Meg White get to the bare bones of “Rated X,” castigating the double standard toward divorced women that still applies in many quarters. Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Josh Farro take a similarly raw approach with her take-no-prisoners warning to a potential rival in “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man).”

“You’re Lookin’ at Country” brings out the low-key charm often hiding within Carrie Underwood’s formidable pipes, while Hill also stays relatively restrained on “Love Is the Foundation,” a love song revealing Lynn’s vulnerable side.

Most songs here emphasize Lynn’s signature feistiness, but Williams zeroes in on the deep heartache she’s also adept at, choosing her 1976 hit “Somebody Somewhere (Don’t Know What He’s Missin' Tonight),” one of 16 singles Lynn took to No. 1. There’s a full record of this soul-scorching facet of Lynn’s music lurking somewhere, for somebody.

Meanwhile, one of country’s true legends gets a consistently heartfelt tip of the hat from a representative swath of the countless lives her music has touched.

-- Randy Lewis

Various Artists
“Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn”
Columbia
3½ stars

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