- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
This item may be
Check for Availability
Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughterby Loretta Lynn
Synopses & Reviews
Well, I was borned a coal miner's daughter,
In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler,
We were poor but we had love. . . .
—Coal Miner's Daughter,
by Loretta Lynn
Most people know that much about me, because those are the first words of my biggest song. I open my show with it because I know people are gonna request it until I sing it. I wrote it myself, nine verses, and it broke my heart when I had to cut three verses out because it was too long. I could have written a thousand more verses, I've got so many memories of Butcher Holler.
To me, that place is the most important part of my life. My fans and writers are always making a big deal about me acting natural, right from the country. That's because I come from Butcher Holler, Kentucky, and I ain't never forgot it.
I'm always making Butcher Holler sound like the most backward part of the United States—and I think maybe it is. I've travelled all over this country, down South and out West, and I ain't never seen anything like it. And I ain't making fun of it, because I'm the most backward person you ever saw. I never knew where babies came from until it happened to me.
This might give you an idea of how backward we are, but first, to appreciate this story, you've go to know that in eastern Kentucky we saw the word press instead of closet. Anyway, one of my best friends is Dr. John Turner, who took care of me when I was younger.
Doc swears he saw this patient standing in front of the hospital elevator, looking confused. Doc asked him what was the matter, and the patient said, Doc, I just seen a nurse get into that press—and when the door opened she was gone See, that patient live in a holler all his life and never saw an elevator before. Myself, I never rode in an automobile until I was twelve.
Holler people are just different from anybody else. They live high up in the hills, one day at a time. There's probably a few who don't know who the president is, and there have been times when they were better off that way. Maybe things are changing now, with television and better roads and stuff, but I've got relatives living up in Butcher Holler who have never been further than Paintsville, ten miles away, in their lives. They're really beautiful people in their own way. Everybody else is worrying about the energy crisis, and talking about getting back to the simple things. My people are already there. If we run out of energy, my relatives know how to patch their houses and grow gardens, so they're gonna have the last laugh on everybody.
Let me explain where Butcher Holler is. You take any place in the United States today, and they've got an interstate highway, right? Well, you get on one of them interstates and drive to Huntington, West Virginia, which is already pretty hilly country—but you ain't seen nothing yet. You get off Interstate 64 and head south along Highway 23 into Kentucky. That's a good three-lane highway going past some nice farms and factories and mobile homes. You drive for about an hour and a half until you get to Paintsville, which has around 4,000 people.
Paintsville may not look too big to outsiders, but in Johnson County it's the biggest thing going. That's the first place I ever saw a toilet with running water, just before I got married. I went i
Overview: Born into deep poverty, married at thirteen, mother of six, and a grandmother by the time she was twenty-nine, Loretta Lynn went on to become one of the most prolific and influential songwriters and singers in modern country music. Here we seethe determination and talent that led to her trailblazing career and made her the first woman to be named Entertainer of the Year by the country Music Association and the first woman to receive a gold record in country music.
What Our Readers Are Saying