As this Christmas season comes to a close, I decided to dust off another old Christmas album. I needed some classic country to take me back home. For my holiday cheer, I choose the Loretta Lynn Christmas album from 1966, Country Christmas.
I am originally from the red dirt of Oklahoma. I’m a stranger in a strange land living in New York. To say the least, the holidays were quite different back home.
The album opens with the Loretta Lynn penned, “Country Christmas.” This song takes me back to all the years I spent Christmas at my grandparents. This song is all about the “Christmas feel,” which I believe my Grandma perfected.
This album also contains many of the great Christmas classics like “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” “Silver Bells,” and “White Christmas.” Lynn’s gentle approach to “Away In a Manager” is meek with a powerful conviction.
Side two is where Loretta Lynn’s classic writing and spunk took shape. It opens with “To Heck With Ole Santa Claus,” which portrays a bitter Lynn after Santa seemed to skip her house. She states her feelings rather bluntly singing, “when he goes dashin’ through the snow I hope he falls.” She gave Santa Claus about the same sympathy she gave her husband Doolittle in “Don’t Come Home A-drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind).” This same sentiment is shared on “I Won’t Decorate Your Christmas Tree.”
Although, It wouldn’t be a Loretta Lynn record without a little bit of heart-break. First, Lynn touches on a family loss with “Christmas Without Daddy.” This was written by her brother Jackie Webb. Although this song comes from the view-point of a mother, I believe the emotion comes from the love Lynn has for her own father.
Lastly, she covers the Hal Cochran penned, “Gift of The Blues.” It’s classic country heartbreak. Lynn traveled “miles and miles” to see her man only to find him in another’s arms. For some reason, this lady got a pass, even though Lynn released “You Ain’t Woman Enough” earlier that year in 1966.
Country Christmas was released 3 years into Lynn’s career. She had already made a name for herself as a country queen you didn’t want to mess with. I believe it is hard for established artists to make Christmas albums that speak to who they are, while standing the test of time. This is exactly what Loretta Lynn accomplished with Country Christmas.