Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Merle Haggard died today. Shit. No one lives forever, but he was one of those people that I can't remember not being cognizant of. Always around somewhere. That's the sort of thing that makes you stop and think. My earliest memories of him were from appearances on Hee Haw, a TV show that my Dad watched. From there it was cover versions of his songs in my own record collection, by John Fogerty, Gram Parsons and the Knitters (John Doe and Exene from X and Dave Alvin from the Blasters). By that time he had all the credibility a younger me needed. Not that it mattered. As I would find out, he was country cred incarnate.

As a kid he was in and out of juvenile detention centers, escaping twice, ran away, hitch hiked and rode the rails, and ended up in full grown prison before he even reached drinking age. It was after seeing Johnny Cash play while he was doing time in San Quentin that he decided to turn his life around. But before any sort of music career, in the midst of all that running around before and after his release, he worked as a short order cook, a ditch digger, he wired homes and he drove a potato truck. He was a regular guy. So, when he sang songs like "Working Man Blues", or songs about drinking or break ups, it wasn't patronizing fluff. In terms of American music, country or otherwise, he was the real deal. Shit.

Merle Haggard - Skid Row (streaming) at YouTube His first record
Merle Haggard - Today I Started Loving You Again mp3
at Internet Archive

Merle Haggard - You Got the Money mp3 at Internet Archive
Merle Haggard - Turn Me Loose mp3
at Internet Archive
Merle Haggard - Green Green Grass of Home mp3
at Internet Archive
Merle Haggard - Long Black Limousine mp3
at Internet Archive

Merle Haggard - Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down mp3 at Internet Archive
Merle Haggard - Silver Wings mp3
at Internet Archive
Merle Haggard - Please Mr. DJ mp3
at Internet Archive
Now, go attack the search engines.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe there are no comments on this one! Merle was an absolute giant, and "Okie" aside, there was a lot of subtlety in both his lyrics and his voice. RIP, Merle. You will be missed.


Tom G. said...

Well said Marc, particularly about "Okie From Muskogee", but if you know his music, you likely know how he felt about that one in his later years. That's another thing about him, he was never afraid to say he was wrong.

Don't let the lack of comments around here discourage you from piping in again. Only a handful of people comment and while that can be a little disconcerting, the people who do comment usually know their shit.