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

By Joe Heim

loretta lynnLoretta Lynn gets the tribute treatment from the likes of Paramore's Hayley Williams and Miranda Lambert. (Richard Lipski/TWP)

Loretta Lynn writes songs that knock you on your head and off your feet. For 50-plus years, the 76-year-old pride of Butcher Hollow, Ky., has stamped the country charts with her tunes of trouble, turmoil, payback and sweet satisfaction. And on this perfectly rough-around-the-edges tribute album, a host of like-minded musicians -- country and otherwise -- join in the fun and fury.

Along with Kitty Wells and Dolly Parton, it was Lynn who opened the biggest doors for women in country music. She did it with songs that sparked controversy, many of which she wrote herself. Songs such as "Don't Come Home A Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)," the feisty album-opening mood-setter delivered here by Gretchen Wilson. Paramore's Hayley Williams serves up a spare but still ornery "You Ain't Woman Enough (to Take My Man)." And Lucinda Williams, with her familiar mouthful-of-molasses delivery, wrings new hurt from "Somebody Somewhere (Don't Know What He's Missing Tonight)."

Unexpected highlights include the White Stripes doing "Rated X" and Kid Rock tackling "I Know How." Both songs are inspired and mercifully free of any Nashville wannabe-ness. Another gem is Alan Jackson and Martina McBride singing "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man," with McBride's twang resonating on such magical lines as "When he holds me close/It feels almost/Like another hurricane just ripped the coast."

Lynn appears only on the title track, where she shares vocal duties with the wonderful Miranda Lambert and the ubiquitous Sheryl Crow. It would have been nice to hear more, but she has more than 50 original albums for anyone who wants to dig deeper.

Recommended tracks: "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" "After the Fire Is Gone"

By Joe Heim  | November 9, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags:  Alan Jackson, Hayley Williams, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow  
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