Loretta Lynn wrote enough great songs worrying about other women stealing her man that you could occasionally wonder why she didn’t choose better men in the first place. But maybe we should be glad, because otherwise we wouldn’t have ever gotten a song as awesomely clever as “Fist City.”
Yes, I know that violence is awful and stuff, and apparently the violence threatened in “Fist City” got it banned from Country radio, no doubt because said violence was threatened by a woman, that didn’t matter to the vast majority of the late 1960s country music audience, because “Fist City” was a Country #1 in 1968.
Kicking off with a churning, striking guitar riff, “Fist City” gets right to the point:
You’ve been makin’ your brags around town
That you’ve been a lovin’ with my man
But the man I love when he picks up trash
He puts it in a garbage can
That’s at least a five fire emoji opening right there, but she’s just getting started. You see, like Sam Kinison, Loretta Lynn knows exactly what it takes to make Ms. Hand turn into Ms. Fist.
And that’s what you look like to me
And what I see is a pity
You’d better close your face and stay out of my way
If you don’t wanta go to Fist City
After that, there’s a pretty explicit explanation of what a trip to Fist City entails while the massed background chorus echoes the threat, as Loretta almost sighs as she explains her logic.
I’m not a sayin’ my baby is a saint cause he ain’t
And that he won’t cat around with a kitty
I’m here to tell you gal to lay off of my man
If you don’t wanna go to Fist City
As sung with a tone that’s half amused and half deadly serious, “Fist City” is enough of a manifesto that anyone with even a lick of sense would just turn around and skedaddle from Fist City straightaway.
“Fist City” performed live
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