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Loretta Lynn learns how to live without husband, mentor

Loretta Lynn August 19, 1997
Web posted at: 7:41 p.m. EDT (2341 GMT)

From Correspondent Bill Tush

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Loretta Lynn is often referred to as the first lady of country music. While she might be a long way from her days as a simple coal miner's daughter, she still feels like she's a down-home kind of girl.

The 1980 movie "Coal Miner's Daughter," based on her book of the same name, went like this: Poor country girl marries her first boyfriend, gets pregnant while still a teen-ager, has four kids before she's 20, then goes on to become a country music legend.

Her music career, she said, was her husband's idea -- despite the fact that "he never heard me sing a note unless I was rocking the babies to sleep, and he'd come in and hear me sing 'White Christmas' or something like that," she said.

When Loretta Lynn started writing her own songs, the titles and words often got taken the wrong way; eight songs were actually banned.

"They banned 'What Kind of Girl Do You Think I Am,'" she said. "It was a great song about a girl, she was not going to do anything wrong till she got married. They banned it, they banned 'Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' on many stations."

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But a funny thing happened when her records would get banned. "The preachers would preach about it on Sunday, and all the women would go out on Monday and buy them," Lynn said.

Loretta and her husband, Dolittle Lynn, better known as Mooney, were laughing all the way to the bank. He was her guiding force until his death last year.

"They don't make 'em like that anymore," she said. "This month has been real bad because this is the month I lost him."

She's moving on, for the first time in her adult life without Mooney. "I think if I work more, I think that'll help me, 'cause I don't go home. ...I need to go home, 'cause my kids need me and -- but it's hard, but I know I have to," she said.

So it's back into the recording studio where she has just completed her third gospel album, "Loretta Lynn: All Time Gospel Favorites." She also plans to write another book, because just one book and one movie can't tell the entire Loretta Lynn story.

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