For this Classic Album Review, we take it back to 1969, to pick up a Loretta Lynn classic. The fourteenth release in her hall of fame career, Woman of The World/To Make a Man was released in June, 1969. It was her final album of the sixties. The album would climb as high as number two on the album charts. Both singles (and title cuts) were top five hits. It is also worth noting that the album sold well enough to break the Top 150 on the all-encompassing Billboard Top 200 albums. That was a very good showing for a country music album in 1969.
On the original vinyl release, both sides are led with one of the title tracks/singles. “Woman of The World” on side 1 and “To Make a Man (Feel Like a Man)” on side 2. They also both happen to be two of the best tracks on the album, as well. “Woman of The World” is one of the best Loretta Lynn hits. Apparently, many others thought that, as it climbed to number one in the spring of ’69. “To Make a Man (Feel Like a Man)”, the album’s second single, and opening track of the second side, became a top five hit in late Summer, 1969. A bouncy track that I would describe as a typical Loretta song; in this case telling women how they should treat their men.
Typical of most albums of that era, there are several cover tracks, including “Johnny One Time”, a song that both Willie Nelson and Brenda Lee had singles on. I would argue that Loretta’s version is as good as the other two versions. Great vocal job, it sounds like it was written with Loretta Lynn in mind. Loretta also does a nice take on the standard “No One Will Ever Know”, which Roy Acuff introduced in the late 1940’s. “No One Will Ever Know” bounced around for over thirty years before it finally found hit status in 1980, at the hands of Gene Watson.
A couple of more covers are songs that are now classics in country music; Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” and Merle Haggard’s “Today I Started Loving You Again”. Loretta’s work on “Stand by Your Man” is good, but “Today I Started Loving You Again” misses, largely because the quicker than normal tempo gives it a rushed feel. The vocals are fine, but not enough to save the overall result.
I like the ballad “If You Were Mine to Lose”, which features yet another excellent Loretta Lynn vocal performance. “The Only Time I Hurt is a solid, steady track, as is “Big Sister, Little Sister”. “Big Sister, Little Sister” starts with how the big sister would always make way for the little sister. Now they’re adults, and a man’s involved; do you know where this is going? Yep, big sister loves the man, but little sister marries him. Sorry for the spoiler.
“Ten Little Reasons” is classic Loretta. The self-penned tear-jerker is a great track, and is one of the album’s highlights. So is the album’s wrap-up, “I’m Lonesome for Trouble Tonight”. Loretta co-wrote it with Doyle Wilburn of the Wilburn Brothers. Good, solid track to put the wraps on this album.
Overall, a very good collection of vintage Loretta Lynn that easily showcases why she has been one of the genre’s legendary performers of the past fifty years. Two strong hit singles featured, here, mixed with several very good-to-excellent album tracks, the best of which are “Johnny One Time” and “Ten Little Reasons”. It’s not her all-time best album, but it is one of her better long plays (and she’s had several good ones to choose from) and very worthy of a four out of five ranking.
About Thy Author
Mike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, lover of vintage agriculture, and big sports fan, including the Colts, Reds, Hurricanes, Pacers, Purdue & Butler Universities. He has collected records since childhood, focusing on classic country and top 40 oldies music. After convincing Vincennes University in Indiana to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting, he has spent most of his adult life on the radio, having worked for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina, including his current gig, hosting the weekly World Famous Ultimate Twang Radio Show. Hear the show on Thursdays, 4-7p ET on WSFM-LP/AshevilleFM, which is at 103.3 FM in Asheville, North Carolina, as well as online at ashevillefm.org. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.