Customer Review

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest country artists ever...., March 26, 2007
This review is from: Hag: The Best Of Merle Haggard (Audio CD)
I really like old country music. It's much more sincere and real that the current garbage permeating the airwaves. Merle Haggard is a prime example of that old country music. He's one of the greatest songwriters to emerge from country music, and his songs are still valid today. Many people dismiss him as a right wing blowhard because of songs like Okie from Muskogee and The Right Side of Me. I actually like Okie, and its criticisms of hippie lifestyles is kind of funny and true, considering hippies were silly and naive. I used to dislike The Right Side of Me, but it's grown on me over the last year, and it's not as jingoistic as I thought. Even if you don't like these 2 songs because of their (possible) right wing bias, one shouldn't dismiss everything Merle has done over his career because of them. Merle is a true artist and a complicated man. The Grateful Dead have covered his songs (most notably Mama Tried, included here), so even the hippie Dead recognized that Merle is a great songwriter, and his political views (which are probably more complicated than most people think) shouldn't matter when it comes to his art. Personally, I think there's more wisdom in a 3 minute Haggard song (and a Cline and Wiliams one) than in all the political rants of lefties and righties combined. There was a recent article on Amazon's plog about how people in Seattle were rather rude to him when he was performing, showing that liberals can be closed minded as well. The biggest surprise here is the duet Merle does with Toby Keith, She Ain't Hooked on Me Anymore. It's a great song, co-written by Keith himself, and it makes me want to go out and buy some CD's of Toby's. This is a wonderful collection, featuring many of Merle's greatest, including Mama Tried, Okie from Muskogee, Hungry Eyes, and The Bottle Let Me Down. Haggard is still going strong today, and his music will go on forever....
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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 7, 2007 2:25:45 PM PDT
BoZo says:
I'll bet you missed The Flying Burrito Brothers' (minus Gram Parsons, plus Rick Roberts) cover of White Line Fever?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2007 3:26:56 PM PDT
I haven't heard anything by The Flying Burrito Brothers! Lord knows I should. I have Gram's GP/Grevious Angel CD, and The Byrds's Sweetheart of the Rodeo (the one with McGuinn doing most of the vocals). It's one of my favorite CD/Album's of all time.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2007 12:35:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2007 12:38:24 PM PDT
I was a little disappointed in this Hag comp. It's a little heavy on the new stuff and left off some of the great older songs like I'm a Lonesome Fugitive, My House of Memories, Swinging Doors, and High on a Hilltop. About Okie from Muskogee, Merle said the main focus of the song wasn't necessarily to put down hippies, but rather to give "square" people, who were working hard to provide for their families, a voice and some recognition.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2007 1:35:31 PM PDT
This was my first Hag album, and I found the older stuff to be better, even though some of the later stuff was good. I was surprised that I really liked the Toby Keith/Hag duet. But I'll probably start picking up more of Haggard's work, as I really love this stuff.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2007 2:07:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2007 2:08:59 PM PDT
Hag's music is great, and he's a talented musician (guitar,fiddle) and songwriter as well. He's the original country outlaw (those prison songs come from his true life experience, and the drinking ones, too). The songs I noted in my last comment plus The Days of Wine and Roses are some to look for.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2007 3:12:40 PM PDT
Haggard lived his songs. I read a bit about him (time in prison, absent father, drinking), and he's as great as his songs.

I liked your "square" line in your other comment. The hippies had a superiority complex and thought they were so "out there". Where are they now? They're living the lives of those "squares" they mercilessly made fun of.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2007 10:27:04 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 14, 2007 1:40:32 PM PDT
I agree with your "superiority Complex" comment. I'm sure that's why Hag wrote OFM. But the hippie generation did change a number of things that really needed it. But, like all good ideas, it, too, had it's down and (dark) side. Utopia looks good on paper, but, well...
Back to Hag, he's written two autobiographies. Sing Me Back Home and My House of Memories (both titles are also the names of two of his songs). He served time in California's San Quentin prison (Death row inmates are housed and executed there, too).

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2007 1:14:56 PM PDT
Utopia's always look good on paper, but they turn into something darker and become a dystopia, which is horrible. The boomers/hippies did change some things for the better, like civil rights and how age these days doesn't mean as much (meaning you don't have to retire at 65 anymore, or you can start over at a later age and that's OK), but they still possesed an arrogance that caused a reactionary reaction on the part of the rest of the country.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2007 2:20:36 AM PST
Hag's very greatest album IMHO (and he's made more than most country artist) is Same Train Different Station, a double LP of Jimmy Rodgers (20's foundational country singer with deep roots in blues and a wildman rounder/rambler persona) covers, that he totally puts his stamp upon and makes his own -- plus, it was cut before Elvis stole away Hag's band The Strangers, who cook up and absolute storm...I believe Koch put it out on CD, it's tremendous...

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2007 9:47:04 PM PST
Merle epitomises those old fashioned values pretty damn well, doesn't he? I actually like much of Okie from Muskogee. Many of the songs here are moving, sincere, and poetic. Even the Toby Keith duet is good.
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