Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Loretta Lynn: Country Music Hall of Fame Series [MCA, 1992]
She's not quite the singer Patsy was and Tammy theoretically remains, but her sense of self is more archetypal--deep country without Patsy's jazzy detours, male-identified without Tammy's sultry masochism. When she was flying she wrote her own songs, the feistiest (and best) the politically incorrect "Fist City" (biff-bam-boom, sister) and "Your Squaw Is on the Warpath" (his metaphor, she revels in it). But the borrowed marital laments of her decline--"After the Fire Is Gone," "When the Tingle Becomes a Chill," and Shel Silverstein's eternal "One's on the Way"--sound lived in. That can happen when you get hitched at 13, have four kids before you're 20, take off at 26 with a song that goes "Success has made a failure of our home," and stand by your man. A