Monday, January 17, 2022

Merle Haggard - Hag, The Studio Recordings 1969-1976 [2007] (6 x CD's)

MERLE HAGGARD

Merle Haggard -  Hag, The Studio Recordings 1969-1976 [2007] (6 x CD's)

Merle Ronald Haggard (April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016) was an American country singer, songwriter, guitarist, and fiddler.

Merle Haggard was an inspired signing by Capitol Records. They bought out his contract from Tally Records in 1964, and he recorded for Capitol until 1976. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he was the biggest Country artist to emerge in the 1960's, and he was also one of the artists recognised as creating the Bakersfield sound. 

This 6 CD Box Set deals with only a part of his time with Capitol, the Studio recordings from 1968 to 1976. Untamed Hawk, a previous Bear Family Box Set dealt with his earlier Capitols, and now this new Box Set moves the story forward. In 1968, Merle Haggard was a very big star indeed. He really had no need to push himself. He could have coasted on his earlier classic hits, Mama Tried, Sing Me Back Home, The Bottle Let Me Down etc. and enjoyed a comfortable life. Instead he kept going, with no noticeable weakening in his creative energies. The hits flow. I'd Rather Be Gone leads off CD1, and What Have You Got Planned Tonight Diana is virtually the last track on CD6. In between, the whole set is studded with his self written songs or recordings of classic songs to honour their creators, Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell etc.

This is truly remarkable. What is also surprising is that Bear Family who dutifully do a thorough job in unearthing unreleased material, usually do so just to satisfy historical interest. For Merle Haggard it represents insight into artistic creation and puts songs like I Wonder What She'll Think About Me Leaving into a new light. There are other interesting facets as well, and here we are walking on the fighting side. Note the way Irma Jackson was downplayed to avoid the mixed race message, and the involvement of Ken Nelson, the Producer, who was certainly no racist. This is illuminating, as is the reworking and rewriting of Somewhere In Between. The USA was a troubled country during the late 1960's and early 1970's. Okie From Muskogee is now seen as a bit of fun and a throwaway. Not what it sounds like from these two recordings, more like an anthem.

Still, Merle Haggard, judged on this body of work, had a social conscience probably ahead of his audience, and that says a lot about the man, all I believe to his credit.

The Box Set comes with a magnificent hard back book, which would have cost a fortune to produce separately. Deke Dickerson has worked on the biography, and my, it is good. Anecdotes abound. Gram Parsons asking Merle to produce him. Merle and his signature Grammer guitars. The sidebars to his career when he did his concept albums. All interesting and relevant to his life. The discography is good too, and allowed me to join the rest of humankind in noticing that Johnny Meeks the former Blue Cap played with the Strangers for a year or so on Bass. Kind of makes you think about the available talent in the Band that confined Johnny to the rhythm section. (Amazon)

A superb box set. High standard of songs from start to finish. 

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Track lists


CD1

01 Merle Haggard I'd Rather Be Gone 2:35

02 Merle Haggard Montego Bay 2:54

03 Merle Haggard I Die Ten Thousand Times A Day 3:03

04 Merle Haggard California On My Mind 2:39

05 Merle Haggard California Cotton Fields 2:47

06 Merle Haggard White Line Fever 2:47

07 Merle Haggard I Came So Close To Failure 2:50

08 Merle Haggard Workin' Man Blues 2:34

09 Merle Haggard The Sea Shores Of Old Mexico 3:42

10 Merle Haggard Okie From Muskogee 2:43

11 Merle Haggard If I Had Left It Up To You 2:57

12 Merle Haggard Streets Of Berlin 2:49

13 Merle Haggard Huntsville 3:07

14 Merle Haggard Train Of Life 2:43

15 Merle Haggard They're Tearing The Labor Camps Down 2:11

16 Merle Haggard The Fightin' Side Of Me 2:53

17 Merle Haggard I Wonder What She'll Think About Me Leaving 3:19

18 Merle Haggard No Reason To Quit 2:36

19 Merle Haggard Jesus, Take A Hold 2:17

20 Merle Haggard I Ain't Got Nobody 2:10

21 Merle Haggard New York City Blues 2:36

22 Merle Haggard One Row At A Time 3:07

23 Merle Haggard Shelly's Winter Love 3:22

24 Merle Haggard I'll Be A Hero When I Strike 2:02

25 Merle Haggard If You've Got Time (To Say Goodbye) 2:52

26 Merle Haggard I'm A Good Loser 2:40

27 Merle Haggard I Can't Be Myself 2:52

28 Merle Haggard I've Done It All 2:14

29 Merle Haggard One Sweet Hello 2:46


CD2

01 Merle Haggard Worried, Unhappy, Lonesome And Sorry 2:46

02 Merle Haggard Somewhere In Between 2:27

03 Merle Haggard The Sidewalks Of Chicago 2:30

04 Merle Haggard The Farmer's Daughter 2:56

05 Merle Haggard Tulare Dust 1:48

06 Merle Haggard When The Feelin' Goes Away 2:55

07 Merle Haggard Soldier's Last Letter 2:11

08 Merle Haggard The Only Trouble With Me 3:10

09 Merle Haggard Making Believe 3:02

10 Merle Haggard Big Time Annie's Square 2:34

11 Merle Haggard You're The Only Girl In The Game 2:55

12 Merle Haggard The Conversion Of Ronnie Jones 2:46

13 Merle Haggard Carolyn 2:33

14 Merle Haggard It's Great To Be Alive 2:18

15 Merle Haggard Someday We'll Look Back 2:30

16 Merle Haggard Somewhere In Between 2:28

17 Merle Haggard My Heart Would Know 2:49

18 Merle Haggard Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man) 3:19

19 Merle Haggard Goodbye Comes Hard For Me 2:42

20 Merle Haggard The Man Who Picked The Wildwood Flower 3:24

21 Merle Haggard You Don't Love Me (But I'll Always Care) 3:19

22 Merle Haggard This Cold War With You 2:56

23 Merle Haggard Irma Jackson 2:55

24 Merle Haggard Recitation: The Proudest Fiddle In The World (A Maiden's Prayer) 2:20

25 Merle Haggard Turnin' Off A Memory 2:46

26 Merle Haggard Grandma Harp 3:08


CD3

01 Merle Haggard They're Tearin' The Labor Camps Down 3:29

02 Merle Haggard Bill Woods From Bakersfield 3:12

03 Merle Haggard Old Doc Brown 3:25

04 Merle Haggard A Shoulder To Cry On 3:01

05 Merle Haggard The Funeral 3:17

06 Merle Haggard Bring It On Down To My House, Honey 2:51

07 Merle Haggard Combine Blues 2:29

08 Merle Haggard Blues Stay Away From Me 2:16

09 Merle Haggard Tired Of Your Understanding Ways 2:20

10 Merle Haggard Hag's Dixie Blues #2 2:51

11 Merle Haggard I Ain't Got Nobody (And Nobody Cares For Me) 2:42

12 Merle Haggard Moanin' The Blues 2:05

13 Merle Haggard Don't Let The Deal Go Down 2:24

14 Merle Haggard Stingeree 4:04

15 Merle Haggard Lovesick Blues 2:36

16 Merle Haggard Blues For Dixie 2:39

17 Merle Haggard I Forget You Every Day 2:51

18 Merle Haggard A Shoulder To Cry On 3:10

19 Merle Haggard I Know An Ending When It Comes 3:10

20 Merle Haggard Dad's Old Fiddle 2:51

21 Merle Haggard I'm A White Boy 2:03

22 Merle Haggard I Wonder Where I'll Find You At Tonight 2:08

23 Merle Haggard My Woman Keeps Lovin' Her Man 2:33

24 Merle Haggard It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad) 3:20

25 Merle Haggard Somewhere To Come When It Rains 2:57

26 Merle Haggard My Woman Keeps Lovin' Her Man 2:43


CD4

01 Merle Haggard I Wonder If They Ever Think Of Me 3:04

02 Merle Haggard To Each His Own 2:28

03 Merle Haggard I Wonder What She'll Think About Me Leaving 3:11

04 Merle Haggard I'm An Old, Old Man (Tryin' To Live While I Can) 2:32

05 Merle Haggard I'd Never Told On You 3:01

06 Merle Haggard I Wonder If They Ever Think Of Me 2:50

07 Merle Haggard I Forget You Every Day 3:10

08 Merle Haggard Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now) 2:46

09 Merle Haggard If We Make It Through December 2:42

10 Merle Haggard I'll Break Out Tonight 2:52

11 Merle Haggard Love And Honor Never Crossed Your Mind 2:50

12 Merle Haggard This Is The Song We Sing 2:46

13 Merle Haggard There's Just One Way 2:51

14 Merle Haggard The Emptiest Arms In The World 2:53

15 Merle Haggard Come On Into My Arms 2:43

16 Merle Haggard Radiator Man From Waco 2:05

17 Merle Haggard Uncle Lem 2:56

18 Merle Haggard Daddy Won't Be Home Again For Christmas 3:04

19 Merle Haggard Bobby Wants A Puppy For Christmas 2:13

20 Merle Haggard Silent Night 2:29

21 Merle Haggard Winter Wonderland 2:31

22 Merle Haggard White Christmas 2:29

23 Merle Haggard Silver Bells 3:21

24 Merle Haggard Jingle Bells 2:21

25 Merle Haggard Grandma's Homemade Christmas Card 1:51

26 Merle Haggard Santa Claus And Popcorn 2:14


CD5

01 Merle Haggard White Man Singin' The Blues 1:57

02 Merle Haggard Better Off When I Was Hungry 2:25

03 Merle Haggard Things Aren't Funny Anymore 2:43

04 Merle Haggard That's The Way Love Goes 2:34

05 Merle Haggard Got A Letter From My Kid Today 2:29

06 Merle Haggard Honky Tonk Night Time Man 2:38

07 Merle Haggard A Man's Got To Give Up A Lot 2:34

08 Merle Haggard The Girl Who Made Me Laugh 2:40

09 Merle Haggard No More Trains To Ride 3:12

10 Merle Haggard Holding Things Together 2:59

11 Merle Haggard So Long Train Whistle 4:08

12 Merle Haggard September In Miami 2:39

13 Merle Haggard A King Without A Queen 2:43

14 Merle Haggard It Don't Bother Me 2:27

15 Merle Haggard Travelin' 2:09

16 Merle Haggard Don't Give Up On Me 2:22

17 Merle Haggard Here In 'Frisco 2:30

18 Merle Haggard Railroad Lady 2:53

19 Merle Haggard Old Man From The Mountain 2:20

20 Merle Haggard Mirrors Don't Lie 3:05

21 Merle Haggard Movin' On 2:15

22 Merle Haggard The Seeker 2:52

23 Merle Haggard Kentucky Gambler 2:41

24 Merle Haggard You'll Always Be Special To Me 2:33

25 Merle Haggard Life's Like Poetry 2:32

26 Merle Haggard I've Got A Darlin' (For A Wife) 2:46

27 Merle Haggard These Mem'ries We're Making Tonight 3:04

28 Merle Haggard The Hobo 2:42

29 Merle Haggard The Coming And The Going Of The Trains 4:19

30 Merle Haggard My Love Affair With Trains 3:12

31 Merle Haggard The Silver Ghost 3:20


CD6

01 Merle Haggard Where Have All The Hobos Gone 3:25

02 Merle Haggard I Won't Give Up My Train 3:30

03 Merle Haggard Union Station 4:14

04 Merle Haggard When My Last Song Is Sung 1:59

05 Merle Haggard I've Got A Yearning 3:32

06 Merle Haggard Always Wanting You 3:06

07 Merle Haggard Nothin's Worse Than Losing 2:59

08 Merle Haggard Colorado 3:28

09 Merle Haggard The Roots Of My Raising 2:45

10 Merle Haggard Living With The Shades Pulled 2:55

11 Merle Haggard After Loving You 3:10

12 Merle Haggard Cotton Patch Blues 2:57

13 Merle Haggard Runnin' Kind 3:03

14 Merle Haggard Walk On The Outside 3:40

15 Merle Haggard Let's Stop Pretending (Dirty Old Hat Band) 3:04

16 Merle Haggard Right Or Wrong (unrel.) 4:13

17 Merle Haggard It's All In The Movies 3:14

18 Merle Haggard The Way It Was In '51 3:22

19 Merle Haggard Goodbye Lefty 2:40

20 Merle Haggard I Never Go Around Mirrors 2:44

21 Merle Haggard Am I Standing In Your Way 2:55

22 Merle Haggard A Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today 2:56

23 Merle Haggard The Waltz You Saved For Me 2:22

24 Merle Haggard Cherokee Maiden 2:57

25 Merle Haggard What Have You Got Planned Tonight, Diana 3:07

26 Merle Haggard Here Comes The Freedom Train 3:40

27 Merle Haggard Campaign Of '76 (unrel.) 3:07

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11 comments:

  1. Wow. Very comprehensive! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tribe,
      I like this box set very much.

      Cheers.

      Delete
  2. I do not have any Merle Hhaggard's records in my collection, except for a compilation that a friend made for me a few years ago. "Mirrors Don;t Lie" was and still is one of the songs I love.
    Thanks Butterboy for this great gift.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Manolis,
      It really is a great box set. Lots of great and memorable songs.
      Enjoy.

      Cheers.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for your wonderful posts. This is truly a great set. Unfortunately, the review and track list you posted does not match the set. Bear published two different sets covering basically the same period - "1968-1976 Hag - Concepts, Live, and the Strangers" (BCD-16782) and "1969-1976 Hag - The Studio Recordings" (BCD-16749). There is no overlap in the music, and both sets are amazing. Best wishes.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fred,
      Thanks for the pick up. I previously prepared the Hag - Concepts, Live, and the Strangers for posting but posted Hag - The Studio Recordings instead. As you say both are wonderful sets. I have changed the blurb above according as well as the titles. Thanks for letting me know.

      Cheers.

      Delete
  4. Thank you very much for posting this set. Up to
    now, I've had only a partial copy (i.e., missing
    a couple of the CDs), so it's great to have the
    whole thing completed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Crab Devil.
      Its a great set and I a happy to hear that you now have the whole set.

      Cheers.

      Delete