Loretta Lynn

Gold

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Add Gold to the running list of Loretta Lynn best-of compilations issued by MCA Nashville during the early 2000s, a list also including The Definitive Collection (2005), All Time Greatest Hits (2002), and 20th Century Masters (2001), as well as holiday and inspirational collections (20th Century Masters -- The Christmas Collection [2005] and The Gospel Spirit [2004], respectively). Obviously, MCA Nashville is doing its best to monetize Lynn's rich back catalog, as each of these successive releases is a bit more complete than its predecessor. Gold is the first to expand its reach to a second disc, encompassing 39 songs spanning 35 years, from 1960 to 1995. Truth be told, The Definitive Collection was plenty definitive, cramming 25 of Lynn's absolute biggest hits onto one disc. And while its time line was a bit shorter, from 1964 to 1979, without question those were Lynn's peak years. So if you're a thrifty consumer who wants to maximize your economy, stick with The Definitive Collection. You'll be mighty satisfied. On the other hand, if you don't mind spending a little extra money, Gold does paint a fuller picture of Lynn's illustrious career. In particular, it includes "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl," a 1960 single released by Zero Records that is historically interesting, and it also includes a couple latter-day recordings that are likewise interesting historically. "Silver Threads and Golden Needles," from 1993, is a fun cover featuring Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette, and "Country in My Genes," recorded in 1995 but not released until 2000, is produced by Randy Scruggs and is a surprisingly strong performance with lots of Lynn's trademark vigor. The latter foreshadows the sort of stark, traditionally styled production that Jack White would grace Lynn with several years later on the wonderful Van Lear Rose album. That 2004 album is about the only milestone of Lynn's career not represented here on Gold, in fact. A few more of Lynn's duets with Conway Twitty would have been welcome, granted, but above all, her solo career is well accounted for on Gold, a best-of that falls somewhere between a standard greatest-hits collection and a full-fledged box set.

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