Certain Songs #969: Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty – “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man”

Album: Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man
Year: 1973

Like Rod Stewart or Neil Young, Loretta Lynn was such a juggernaut in the early 1970s that she had two separate careers happening at once: releasing solo records and collaborations with a frightening frequency.

I can’t pretend to heard — well — any of these, but she released 17 solo albums and another 9 collaborations with Conway Twitty in the 1970s, and while they probably weren’t all great, or even good, judging from a song like “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” there were probably gems throughout.

The tale of a pair of lovers from different states — Louisiana and Mississippi, as it turns out — separated by the Mississippi river, “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” is a Vox explainer in song form on just what lengths people will go for great sex.

As Conway Twitty explains:

See the alligators all a waitin’ nearby
Sooner or later they know I’m gonna try
When she waves from the bank don’t you know I know
It’s goodbye fishin’ line, see you while ago
With a Louisiana woman waitin’ on the other side
The Mississippi River don’t look so wide

And it’s not just Conway; Loretta yearns and burns, as well.

Well, I thought I’d been loved but I never had
‘Til I was wrapped in the arms of a Mississippi man
When he holds me close it feels almost
Like another hurricane just ripped the coast
If he can’t come to me I’m gonna go to him
That Mississippi River, Lord, I’m gonna swim

Now, at some point, a cynical person might ask if these people don’t have access to boats or cars or bridges, or any other way of crossing the Mississippi, but folks, I’m not that cynical. OK, I am, but not in this case. Instead, I just love the way they sing circles around each other on the chorus.

That chorus is the sound of them getting together and just enjoying the hell out of it.

And that’s how a song like “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” gets over: if even for a second you felt like either Conway Twitty or Loretta Lynn weren’t communicating the emotional truth in the words — I’ll do anything to be with you, babe — the whole thing would fall completely apart.

Fan-made video for “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man”

“Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” performed live

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