Written and recorded by Lynn in 1969, the song went on to become a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Country chart after it was released the following year. The track, which later became the title of the record, tells the story of her father who worked as a coal miner in rural Kentucky during the Great Depression. Lynn experienced the Great Depression herself as a child, given that she was born in 1932.
Reflecting on her time writing the hit track in her 1976 autobiography, Lynn states that she had “to match up words like ‘holler’ and ‘daughter’ and ‘water.’ But after it was done, the rhymes weren’t so important.” The song was originally written in bluegrass style, as that was what the country legend had grown up listening to.