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Unforgettable


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Audio CD, December 14, 2004
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$29.00 $0.93

Editorial Reviews

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Merle Haggard Photos

     

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This standards-based album is really no surprise: Bing Crosby was nearly as much a hero to Merle Haggard as was Bob Wills and Lefty Frizzell, and for decades Hag has blended classic pop into his onstage repertoire. These nine standards and three contemporary tunes, recorded over a lengthy period, constitute a joint release by Capitol and his own Hag Records. Lounge-style, easygoing arrangements complement his warm, knowing renditions of "As Time Goes By" and Nat "King" Cole's "Unforgettable." He swings nimbly through "Pennies from Heaven" (graced by Clint Strong's peerless country-jazz guitar) and "I'll Get By," and he cloaks "Cry Me a River" in a world-weariness light years from Julie London's sultry original. In this context, Haggard's own "What Love Can Do" seems too contemporary. By contrast, the Western swing ballad "Goin' Away Party," written by Cindy Walker, and "Still Missing You," penned by album producer Freddy Powers, reflect a classic pop feel that fits perfectly. While Rod Stewart came to pop standards late in his career, Haggard already knew this territory forwards and backwards--and it shows. --Rich Kienzle

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. As Time Goes By 3:09$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Gypsy 3:31$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Unforgettable 3:04$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Stardust 4:01$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. I Can't Get Started 3:18$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Still Missing You 2:46$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Pennies From Heaven 3:21$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Cry Me A River 3:59$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You) 3:06$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You 2:37$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. What Love Can Do 3:31$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen12. Goin' Away Party 4:26$1.29  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 14, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Liberty
  • ASIN: B0006G8UM8
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,042 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amy on January 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I knew some day Merle would record a big band album and i have been waiting for it.

He can't hardle do anything bad as far as music is concerned. If you are a "dyed in the wool" Merle Haggard fan as I am you will buy this album. The four songs that make it worth the purchase are, "I Can't get started" "Still missing you" "Going away party" and my most favorite of all, "What love can do"

This Man is a GREAT artist!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Gervickas on December 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Merle has probably been more celebrated for his songwriting than his singing over the years, but this CD shows why so many of us love this mans' singing voice. Wow! 67 years old, and he could never have sung these songs better. Merle may be accused of jumping on the pop standards bandwagon, but he's had these songs in the can for awhile, and has recorded many pop songs (in this style) over the years. The choice of material is outstanding (although "Cry me a river" isn't as suited to his voice, and "Unforgettable" is just too associated with The King (Nat, that is). His readings of "The Gypsy", "Stardust" (man! What a song, what a version), "I can't get started", "I'll get by", and "You're nobody 'til somebody loves you" are beautiful. His original, "What love can do" is as nice as anything on here (who else has the talent to write a new song to go with this level of material?). This version of "Goin' away party" is now the definitive one, and what a great song it is (it was on the last Bob Wills album).The musicianship is great (and, as always for Merle, in good taste). I know this won't sell like the (gasp) Rod Stewart abominations of standards, and what a shame that is. As much acclaim as he has had, I still feel that somehow Merle is still underappreciated and underrated. He is absolutely one of the greatest musical artists this world has seen, and there are no more Merle Haggards' coming down the road. Buy this CD, pour some wine, and listen to it with someone you love. Long live the Hag!
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Flaherty on December 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
As usual, merle turns in a great performance, but this disc is copy protected, and plays with clicks on both my phillips 963 players, like a long scratch on an lp.The phillips was produced in the last 2 years. On my older jvc, and older toshiba, i hear a buzzing twang in parts of some songs.It does play allright on my 7 year old sony cd changer.I will have to copy it using analog jacks from my sony to my cd recorder.It seems as if the music industry is trying to drive away the last of us paying customers
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Caponsacchi HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
How many albums have (or don't have) the title "Unforgettable"? Better for Hag to stake out his originality rather than associate himself too closely with Nat, Bing, or Sinatra. Listening to this recording with these other singers in mind is an invitation to disappointment. Most noticeable when mining this musical territory is an inconsistency in Merle's vocal timbre and diction. He hasn't learned which vowel sounds require alteration for the sound to resonate or, for that matter, how to switch dynamic levels without altering the basic texture of his voice.

On the other hand, comparing Merle to numerous "legit" singers who have attempted to go "pop" or, for that matter, to Willie Nelson or Rod Stewart produces a far more favorable assessment. In fact, the reading of "Stardust" on this album strikes me as more deeply felt, affecting and natural than Willie's version. This is an album that kind of grows on you--not quite 4 stars but, in anticipation of playing it some more, I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt. Moreover, he's revived at least a couple of good old songs--"I'll Get By" and "The Gipsy"--that even Sinatra never got around to doing.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bob McGrath on December 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I'm a big fan of Merle Haggard the country singer-songwriter-musician. I wasn't sure about Merle Haggard the classic crooner, but it actually works out pretty well on this album. Hag seems to have found a solid middleground between faithful recreation of old arrangements and mangling things up by attempting to countrify this stuff too much. Clearly, this is Haggard... but it's a different side of Haggard that we've only seen at intervals in the past, in songs like "Always Wanting You" and others of that ilk. It's an interesting listen, and a good holiday purchase for anyone who likes either the old standards or Merle, as both are equally represented here.

Merle has always done good concept albums. Among them are the old tribute to Bob Wills, the recent "Roots, Vol. 1," and now "Unforgettable." I loved Roots. I still think that is one of the best albums ever. I wouldn't quite put "Unforgettable" up on that same plateau because Merle doing Lefty songs seemed so natural (the likeness, vocally, is remarkable), whereas Merle doing songs that were popularized by Nat King Cole and others is conceivable but not exactly intuitive. He does the songs extremely well, and the nature of this project (covering pop standards rather than country standards) will probably allow it a much broader fan base than "Roots," but I found "Roots" remarkable whereas this outing is merely fantastic.

This is an adventuruous and deft move for Haggard, but he's always been an adventurous sort of guy, so it's nice to see that he's not settling down or growing complacent as his years advance. As Merle sings his way through old classics, some forgotten gems, and a few new songs, the thread that holds the album together is the love of the music that pervades all of these performances... a love of ALL music, not just the country music that Haggard has defined, defended, and revived for the past sixty years or so. Highly recommended.
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