My Bitch Tapes mix this week is a celebration of the punkest women out there: the women of country music. While other genres largely excluded female musicians, women country singers back in the day were a dime a dozen (thank god!) Not even poverty, abusive husbands and managers, substance abuse issues, or a male-run music industry could keep these ladies away from the mic. It was hard to whittle my list down to eight of my favorite songs, but here it is.
1. Hazel Dickens - West Virginia My Home
Hazel Dickens’ music is some of my favorite. She’s got a beautiful voice, and I especially like it when she sings about the labor movement and women’s rights. This is one of her prettiest songs.
2. Tanya Tucker - Don’t Believe My Heart Can Stand Another You
I love Tanya Tucker’s voice. My roommates always used to know when I was awake in the morning because I would blare her Greatest Hits album in our living room.
3. k.d. lang - Down To My Last Cigarette
Were you aware that k.d. lang lists Patsy Cline as one of her influences? You can tell in this early song of hers.
4. Kitty Wells - It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
Kitty is sick of men blaming all their troubles on women and she’s gonna tell them about it!
5. Brenda Lee - My Baby Likes All the Western Guys
You probably recognize this voice as the one that made “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” famous. Brenda Lee had a long and successful country career, too. And is it just me, or does the man in question in this song not sound 100% straight?
6. Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt & Dolly Parton - Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?
I’m cheating a little bit on this one by including three of my favorite country singers on one song. This tune was penned by Dolly Parton, and it’s one of those songs that sounds completely different depending on the tempo. This version has Emmylou on lead vocals and is taken at a slow pace, which gives it a kind of sad and nostalgic sound. This is absolutely one of my favorite Dolly songs.
7. Patsy Cline - Blue Moon of Kentucky
Patsy Cline made a career out of singing heartbreaking songs, but if we’re to believe Beverly DeAngelo’s portrayal of the singer in Coal Miner’s Daughter, she was actually a lot of fun and really sassy. I would have loved to have gone out on the town with her and Loretta.
8. Loretta Lynn - Fist City
My old roommate has one of those fancy-people’s cell phones that let you record a noise that will play when somebody calls you. Whenever I call her, the ringtone is set to me reciting Loretta Lynn’s line, as spoken by Sissy Spacek in Coal Miner’s Daughter, “I’m glad you’re proud of me, Dew, but I just cain’t sang in front of all those pay-ple, I just cain’t!” ‘Nuff said.