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Keywords

Loretta Lynn, Van Leer Rose, Country Music, Content Analysis, Textual Analysis

Abstract

The release of Loretta Lynn's 2004 album Van Leer Rose welcomed back after 33 years one of the premier feminist voices in recorded music. The songs that Loretta wrote in 60s and early 70s were some of the most controversial and politically charged to hit the airwaves. They encompassed a microcosm of issues that rural women were facing including the changing sexual roles of women, ideas on marriage, the ravages of war and substance abuse. This textual analysis looks at the 94 songs that Loretta wrote and co-wrote between the years 1960 to 1972 (the year which she stopped writing), as well as the music of Van Leer Rose. By looking at Lynn's writing, we begin to understand the viewpoints of this trailblazing artist and how she reflected her life and the social times in her music. It is a testament to her that these works remain as timely and as politically charged today as they did 40 years ago.

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References

1. Lynn,Loretta. Coal Miners Daughter. New York New York: Warner Brothers Books, 1976.

2. Bufwack, Mary and Robert Oermann. Finding Her Voice: The Illustrated History of Women in Country Music. New York, New York: Henry Hold and Company, 1993.

3. Bufwack, Mary and Robert Oermann. Finding Her Voice: The Illustrated History of Women in Country Music. New York, New York: Henry Hold and Company, 1993.

4. Russell, T. Blacks, Whites and Blues. New York, New York: Stein and Daily 1970.

5. Branscomb, H. Eric. Literacy and a Popular Medium: The Lyrics of Bruce Springsteen. Journal of Popular Culture; Summer 93, Vo. 27 Issue 1, p29-42.

6. Lebold, Christopher. Oral Tradition, Volume 22, Number 1 (November 2007), pp. 57-70.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/ort.2007.0016

7. Fox, Pamela "Recycled 'Trash': Gender and Authenticity in Country Music Autobiography American Quarterly 50.2 (1998): 234-267.

8. Consequently, it does not include many of the songs that are closely associated with Lynn but not expressly written by her. While hits such as “Wine, Women and Song” (1963), “Happy Birthday” (1964), “Woman of the World” (1968) and “One?s On the Way” (1971) are important, they are not a reflection of her writing, and are thus not the focus of this article.

9. Malone Bill C., County Music USA, Austin, Texas: University of Texas, 1968.

10. D?Emilio, John and Estelle B. Freedman. Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America. Chicago Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

11. Others female C & W artists like Jean Shepard, Goldie Hill and Wanda Jackson did have sporadic chart success in the 1950s but none to the level of Wells.

12. Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits. New York New York: Billboard Books. 1996.

13. Fox, Pamela "Recycled 'Trash': Gender and Authenticity in Country Music Autobiography American Quarterly 50.2 (1998): 234-267.

14. Lynn, Loretta. Still Woman Enough. New York New York: Hyperion Books, 2002.

15. Lynn, Loretta. Still Woman Enough. New York New York: Hyperion Books, 2002.

16. Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits. New York New York: Billboard Books. 1996.

17. Bufwack, Mary and Robert Oermann. Finding Her Voice: The Illustrated History of Women in Country Music. New York, New York: Henry Hold and Company, 1993.

18. Lynn,Loretta. Coal Miners Daughter. New York New York: Warner Brothers Books, 1976.

19. Frieden, Betty. The Feminine Mystique, New York, New York: WW. Norton Comp, 1963.

20. Brown, Helen Gurley. Sex and the Single Girl. New York, New York: Random House, 1962.

21. The songs original writing credit on 45 rpm and the album Songs From My Heart (DL 74620) went to Oliver Doolitle, Lynn?s husband. It was common practice in 50s and 60s to give song credit to a family member in order to spread the tax liabilty or as a personal gift. Since the release, Lynn has taken ownership of the song as her own.

22. This isn?t to construe that these songs were written solely by men. Betty Sue Perry contributed the top-20 hits The Other Women (1963) and Wine, Women and Song (1963) to Lynn. It must be said though that her other 6 hits were written by men.

23. Guterman, Jimmy. Honky Tonk Girl: The Loretta Lynn Collection. Los Angeles, California: MCA/Universal Music, 1994.

24. Lynn has always had a love/hate relationship with male radio disc jockeys. In her autobiography she accuses them of being fearful that some of her songs such as The Pill (1972) would challenge men?s way of thinking. (Lynn, 90).

25. D?Emilio, John and Estelle B. Freedman. Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America. Chicago Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

26. Sanger, A. (2004) Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom in the 21st Century, New York: Public Affairs.

27. Brown, Helen Gurley. Sex and the New Single Girl. New York, New York: Random House, 1970.

28. Brown, Helen Gurley. Sex and the New Single Girl. New York, New York: Random House, 1970.

29. Greer, Germaine. The Female Eunuch. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970.

30. In 1970, Brown frequently referred to the world for young women being much “happier” than in 1960. She also claimed that there were more good jobs for young women and a greater degree of drug use.

31. Greer, Germaine. The Female Eunuch. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970.

32. Banner claims, as do other media scholars that although many media reported the women burning the bras at the protests, they actually only threw then into a giant container rejecting conformity, but the container was not lit on fire. The concept of angry “bra burning” feminists was one that conservatives often used. p. 234.


33. Greer, Germaine. The Female Eunuch. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1970.

34. When the song was released in 1975 it was without credit to Lynn. This was due to the contract dispute with the Wilburn Brothers. Recent releases of the song include 3 other writers including her husband, Doolittle.

35. There are many reasons why Lynn quit recording her own material at the top of her career. Her touring schedule by 1971 not only included stops around the U.S. but in Europe as well. Demands for television and personal appearances were increasing. Most importantly, she believed her lifetime contract with the Wilburns kept her growing professionally. When told that she would have to honor the contract, Lynn in true rebellious fashion simply stopped writing.

36. Author unknown. ABC News website. March 11, 2007. http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/Voices/story?id=2960166 Accessed on March 1, 2008.

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