Loretta Lynn was rather famously friends with Patsy Cline when the Coal Miner’s Daughter first moved to Nashville during the early 1960s. Loretta paid tribute to her mentor with the 1977 album I Remember Patsy, but she also got a thumbs-up from the singer for one of her earliest hits.
“You Ain’t Woman Enough” was one of the songs that helped Loretta carve out an identity as a forthright, self-reliant female in a period where women in country music were labelled as “girl singers” and mostly controlled by the men that ran the business. Given the defiant nature of “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” it was considered a daring song. Patsy, who was no pushover, considered it a winner.
“She was my only girlfriend at the time,” Loretta told The Denver Post. “She took me under her wing, and when I lost her, it was something else. I still miss her to this day. I wrote ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man,’ and she said, ‘Loretta, that’s a damn hit.’ It shocked me, because you don’t expect somebody like Patsy Cline to tell you that you have a hit.”
Loretta must have allowed “You Ain’t Woman Enough” to sit on the shelf for some time before she finally did something with it. Patsy died, along with fellow singers Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins, in a plane crash during March 1963. Loretta didn’t record “You Ain’t Woman Enough” until November 1965 — more than 30 months later. It’s clearly a classic. The Country Music Foundation’s book Heartaches By The Number ranked “You Ain’t Woman Enough” among the 500 greatest country singles of all-time.