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Song Stories

“Coal Miner's Daughter”

Loretta Lynn | 1970

Loretta Lynn was sitting around rehearsing one day when the words "Well, I was born a coal miner’s daughter" came to her. "And I went on from there. I made up the melody at the same time, line by line, like I always do," she said. Lynn had written strong verses for herself but never anything quite as directly personal before. This Number One country hit concerning hardscrabble life in Kentucky mining country would go on to share its title with a book and a film about the singer; her signature tune and life story, all wrapped tight in one prideful song.

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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