September 18, 2000 12:00 PM

Loretta Lynn (Koch)

For those of you who may have thought Loretta had gone salsa, perhaps, or become the house mother/ live-in singing coach for the Backstreet Boys…think again. At 65, Lynn is still in strong voice, still vital and still the best woman around to sing the clever Larry Cordle-Betty Key-Larry Shell tune “Country in My Genes.”

Nashville veteran Randy Scruggs, who produced the album, includes one of his own tunes, “On My Own Again.” Scruggs also draws on the diverse composing talents of bright country lights like Matraca Berg, Vince Gill and John Prine. Lynn herself wrote “God’s Country.” The latter is only vaguely preachy, but if anyone has earned the right to preach a bit, it’s Lynn, who’s up there with Kitty Wells, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and the rest of Nashville’s reigning royalty. She’s not ready for emeritus status yet, though. This first-class album is proof of that. Bottom Line: Still something!

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