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40 #1 Hits

Merle HaggardAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Merle Haggard - Working In Tennessee Album Teaser

Biography

Merle Haggard

Working in Tennessee

Loaded with equal measures of ardent passion and provocative observation, Merle Haggard's Working in Tennessee, his second Vanguard release, is a dazzling showcase for the Country Music Hall of Famer's perpetually arresting brand of progressive honky tonk. Produced by Haggard and right-hand man Lou Bradley and recorded at his Northern ... Read more in Amazon's Merle Haggard Store

Visit Amazon's Merle Haggard Store
for 279 albums, 14 photos, videos, and 1 full streaming song.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 23, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B0001I2BWG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,605 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Branded Man
2. The Fugitive
3. Mama Tried
4. Sing Me Back Home
5. The Legend Of Bonnie And Clyde
6. Hungry Eyes
7. Okie From Muskogee (Live)
8. Workin' Man Blues
9. The Fightin' Side Of Me
10. Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Kentucky Gambler
2. Movin' On
3. Cherokee Maiden
4. The Roots Of My Raising
5. I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink
6. I'm Always On A Mountain When I Fall
7. If We're Not Back In Love By Monday
8. Bar Room Buddies
9. My Favorite Memory
10. Big City
See all 20 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Pure and simple, just the way Merle likes it: all 40 of his #1 hits on 2 CDs! Includes Branded Man; The Fugitive; Sing Me Back Hom; Mama Tried; The Legend of Bonnie & Clyde; Okie from Muskogee; The Fightin' Side of Me; Daddy Frank (the Guitar Man); Carolyn; Everybody's Had the Blues; If We Make It Through December; Always Wanting You; Grandma Harp; Bar Room Buddies (with Clint Eastwood!); Pancho & Lefty (with Willie Nelson); Yesterday's Wine (with George Jones), and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes a Good Starter March 29, 2004
Format:Audio CD
This is the first Merle Haggard collection (outside of the Down Every Road Box Set)that spans his biggest hit years with Capitol, MCA and Epic. Including duets, he had 38 #1's on the Billboard Country Singles Charts. They're all here, with 2 that went to #2 ("If We're Not Back In Love By Monday", and "I'm Always On A Mountain When I Fall"). Who knows why the compilers picked those two over a couple of other Haggard songs that went to #2 (e.g. "Ramblin' Fever"), since it's never explained in the liner notes (which are pretty good). Be aware that some of Haggard's best known classics: "Swinging Doors", "Bottle Let Me Down", "My Own Kind Of Hat", "Rainbow Stew" and "I Take A Lot Of Pride In What I Am", didn't go to #1, but you shouldn't have trouble locating them on one of his CD's. I suggest 2 out of print jobs: Capitol Collector's Series and Rhino Records More of the Best. Both are easy to find as used CD's. In all, this is a good starting point for anyone who's curious about Merle Haggard's career. If you're a die-hard then you'll like having the big hits all in one package.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start your Merle Haggard collection here April 27, 2004
Format:Audio CD
As I've explained in reviews of some older compilations of his music, it wasn't always easy to collect all Merle's classic songs that really mattered. The boxed set, Down every road, made that task very easy for those who could afford it. Now comes this double-CD containing forty of his most important songs. Some songs, now regarded as classics, were released only as B-sides, weren't released on singles at all, or didn't reach the top of the charts, so this set will not satisfy some diehard fans. Among the songs that do not qualify for inclusion here are Today I started loving you again, Silver wings, All my friends are gonna be strangers, Swinging doors, Bottle let me down and I take a lot of pride in what I am. Nevertheless, this is the strongest collection you're ever likely to find of Merle's music on a double-CD.

The set contains all 38 of his Billboard number one country hits, plus two that made number two. It may be that these two (If we're not back in love by Monday, I'm always on a mountain when I fall) made number one in some other chart - if not, the album title is inaccurate, but that doesn't affect the quality of the music, which covers his recordings for Capitol, MCA and Epic. Getting all three in one double-CD is a huge benefit to fans.

The tracks included here are the songs that established Merle's reputation and sustained it. Songs like Hungry eyes, Mama tried and Branded man tell of his troubled early life and coming to terms with it. Merle stood up for what he believed in with songs like Okie from Muskogee and Fighting side of me. He sang about overcoming hardship in Daddy Frank and If we make it through December. He sang of yearning in Always wanting you (apparently written about Dolly Parton), Big city and Sing me back home.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential July 16, 2004
Format:Audio CD
40 #1 Hits is just what its name implies: forty Country chart-topping Merle Haggard singles from 1967's "Branded Man" to `87's "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star."
Possessing a voice that was smooth as cream in his youth, Haggard's greatest strength ultimately lie in the breadth of his palette. We find home-spun sentimentality ("Daddy Frank"), blue-collar pride ("Working Man Blues"), flag waving ("Okie From Muskogee," which he wrote as a joke) and outlawry. "Sing Me Back Home" stems from a prison buddy's execution after a guard was killed in an escape attempt Hag didn't join. The banjo in "The Legend Of Bonnie And Clyde" creates a link with Earl Scruggs' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" runs in Arthur Penn's 1967 film Bonnie & Clyde.
His topical songs' essential character is an outsider, be it an ex-con ("Branded Man"), scorned poor woman ("Hungry Eyes") or alienated worker ("Big City," whose fiddle recalls old Wills discs). The branded man's line "I'd like to hold my head up and be proud of who I am" fits many Haggard protagonists. To his former wife and singing partner Bonnie Owens, he's part Frizzell, part James Dean.
As for love songs, "Always Wanting You" was inspired by unrequited feelings for Dolly Parton, who simply saw him as a friend. His third wife Lorena Williams wrote "You Take Me For Granted" as their marriage floundered. "Carolyn" (penned by Oklahoma-to-Bakersfield transplant Tommy Collins) and "It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)" ache with a husband cheating out of pure hurt. For duets, there's Clint Eastwood on a jovial "Bar Room Buddies," George Jones on "Yesterday's Wine" and Willie Nelson on the enigmatic "Pancho And Lefty.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Add to Your Collection March 24, 2005
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
According to Billboard, Merle Haggard from Bakersfield, CA had 90 chart releases from 1963 to 1990. Think about that statistic! All 38 #1 songs are here on this two CD release. Two of Merle's 8 #2 hits round out the collection. Personal favorites are highly subjective but his reviewer favored "Things Aren't Funny Anymore", "and "Sing Me Back Home". The latter was dedicated to a former fellow inmate at San Quentin who was executed for murdering a prison guard. The former was composed while a marriage was breaking up. VERY special mention goes to " I Wonder If They Ever Think of Me". It's about a POW in Vietnam who is afraid his family and friends back in the World have forgotten him. That must have happened in real life far too often. The only tracks that failed to satisfy were the 3 duets, "Bar Room Buddies" - with Clint Eastwood! - "Pancho and Lefty" with Willie Nelson and "Yesterday's Wine" with George Jones. There is a fine quasi-duet with the ubiquitous Janie Fricke, "A Place to Fall Apart". Merle has always admitted to be heavily influenced by Lefty Frizzell and the similarity of styles is unmistakable, more to the credit of both men. Linear notes by Nancy Henderson embellish the collection and give context to several of the tracks. (Some may feel that the small, dropped out typeface doesn't do the insert complete justice.) Before reading Joel Whitburn's "Billboard Book of Country Music", this reviewer was unaware that many of Hag's best-known work did NOT attain #1 status. That list would include "Ramlin' Fever", and "Misery and Gin". Their exclusions should be ignored. The final word here is that this CD is a worthwhile addition to any serious classic country collection. For the $$, it is also a great value. Testimony such as that may appear trite, but it is on target in this case
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