‘One of us’: B.C. musician recollects jam classes in rooster coop with Loretta Lynn


The dying of Loretta Lynn has brought again memories to a B.C. musician who states he used to play in her band long ahead of she turned a place music legend.

Len Lemieux of Penticton, B.C., remembers carrying out with Lynn, who spent time in Vancouver and lived just south of the Canada-U.S. border in Washington condition. 

“She was just a single of us,” Lemieux told CBC’s B.C. Right now on Tuesday subsequent news of Lynn’s death. 

Lemieux, 89, says he played steel guitar in Lynn’s band, sitting in for her regular guitarist Roland Smiley at gigs in Blaine, Clean., right before drawing the ire of regional musicians and border guards.

He states when Lynn and her spouse, Oliver “Mooney” Lynn, passed by way of B.C., they would end at his Surrey residence for jam sessions before heading out to perform at a hen coop, at what is now East Kent Avenue in close proximity to Elliot Street in Vancouver.

The coop, which was owned by a pair named Ernest Clare ‘Mac’ McGregor and his spouse Irene Loranger, was some thing of a new music hot place at the time, where by the few held country new music jam sessions and hosted a variety of waltzes, prairie-type dances and hoe-downs.

Len Lemieux claims Lynn and her spouse, Oliver “Mooney” Lynn would halt at his Surrey home for jam periods right before enjoying at a rooster coop, pictured listed here (circled). (Museum of Vancouver)

Through her vocation, Lynn was known for appearing in floor-length gowns with elaborate embroidery or rhinestones, but Lemieux recalls seeing her at a bar in Blaine undertaking barefoot. She later wore what he describes as Western outfits, he says.

“Presently they’d connect with it ‘ridiculous as hell’ but it fit right in for the outfits of the time,” he explained. 

Lynn was born to a Kentucky coal-mining family members but moved to Washington state after marrying Mooney although nonetheless a teenager.

Lemieux said the few led a hardscrabbled life that was mirrored in her songs. 

Loretta Lynn and her spouse, Oliver “Mooney” Lynn, noticed below in a 1982 photo, put in time in B.C. just before she became a place songs star. (AP Photograph/Antonio Carozza, File)

He remembers a story wherever Mooney stole some chickens from a Washington point out farm and took them to Smiley’s Bellingham property. There Smiley and his spouse plucked and gutted the birds then cooked them in a substantial pot. 

“We all arrived down and experienced a terrific working day of audio and hen,” Lemieux reported.

In 1959, Lynn’s talents caught the attention of some executives from a regional Vancouver document label called Zero Documents.

“They actually appreciated the way she sang,” writer Rob Howatson explained to CBC back again in 2017. “They signed her and served her file her to start with hit solitary.”

Lynn and Mooney afterwards travelled south in lookup of achievement, which was something but assured. 

“All of us that realized them considered, ‘Oh, what are they accomplishing now? My God, that’s just a waste of time,'” Lemieux stated. “None of us experienced even a believed of [how it] was going to close up.”

Lynn went on to turn out to be the initial woman at any time named entertainer of the 12 months at the genre’s two major awards reveals, first by the Country Audio Association in 1972 and then by the Academy of Nation New music 3 many years later on.

Lynn’s family says she died peacefully in her snooze Tuesday early morning at property on her ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.

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