Coal miner’s daughter

Like any self-respecting country singer, Loretta Lynn was born into poverty in a colourfully named Kentucky hamlet – Butchers Hollow, in this case. The daughter of a coal miner, she was married at 13, though happily not to Jerry Lee Lewis. She does not quite complete the c.v., not having been to jail, but this is serious country cred.


Image: Wikipedia

Though I knew the name and some of the hits, I had not realised how big a star Lynn was. Through the sixties and seventies she was a giant of country who also made the pop charts: “crossover” is the annoying term the marketers use. More to the point, she could really sing. She had that ability to sing sometimes maudlin material and carry it with sheer conviction. Given a half-decent song …

She also had a feisty, no-nonsense assertion on behalf of women: brave stuff in its day. Still needed, actually, judging by the news from Hollywood.

Here is one of her gutsy-sentimental songs, from the 1973 LP, Love is the Foundation, a declaration that this Southern Belle ain’t no doormat.

  • Artist: Loretta Lynn
  • Album: Love is the Foundation
  • Track: A4 “Just To Satisfy (The Weakness In A Man)”
  • Format: 12”, 33⅓ rpm, vinyl, stereo
  • Label: MCA
  • Made in: Australia
  • Catalogue: MAPS 7001
  • Year: 1973

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A busy woman who lives in Melbourne and does a lot of things

I had an eating disorder when I was a teenager. I didn’t think of it that way. I just believed that I was fat, and that it was thus a really good idea to not eat breakfast or lunch. I spent a couple of years like this. I spent the day with a dull ache in my stomach. I felt lethargic and depressed and had trouble concentrating. None of this seemed unusual: it was just how things were.clifton-sleeve

Body image problems are mostly seen as a girl thing. It actually troubles more men than you might think, but yes, sisters, it is worse for you. And this song, which came out in 1984, when I was in Year 10 and subsisting on one cheese and lettuce sandwich per day, is an attempt to take on the whole body image thang from an angry girl’s point of view.

Jane Clifton was famous back then for appearing in the Australian television series Prisoner (also known as Cell Block-H), but she was also a musician. “Girl on the Wall” is not really representative of her work, which was more jazz and soul than pop, but it stands up well: both catchy and pointed.

Clifton was born in Gibralter, but migrated to Australia in 1961, so she’s ours now. She is still about. Her website declares:

I’m a busy woman who lives in Melbourne and does a lot of things – acting, singing, writing, public speaking.  I’m also a registered civil celebrant available for weddings, funerals, naming days, vow renewals and all kinds of celebrations. You might have heard me on the radio, seen me on YouTube or hosting a corporate event or maybe you’re a diehard Prisoner/Cell-Block H fan. Well, you’ve found me.

More than 30 years on, do we still need girl power agit-pop? Given who has just been elected as the next President of the United States, yep. Someone could do worse than release a new version of “Girl on the Wall”. Idea free to good home.


  • Artist: Jane Clifton
  • Single Title: Girl on The Wall
  • Track: Side A “Girl on The Wall”
  • Format: 7”, 45 rpm
  • Label: Mushroom
  • Manufactured in: Australia
  • Catalogue number: K-9294
  • Year: 1984

Many of the records featured on this blog, and hundreds of others, are for sale via Discogs