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The Complete '60s Capitol Singles CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

2013 collection from the Country icon. Merle Haggard is a household name, one of the best-known Country Music singers of all time. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the awards, honors, and accolades in his long career are too numerous to list. Haggard is simply one of the greatest Country stars in the history of the genre. From 'Swinging Doors' in 1965 until the end of the decade, Haggard had an incredible string of hit records. 'The Fugitive' was his first #1 single, and was a composition by Liz Anderson, Lynn Anderson's mother. This collection closes with Merle Haggard's final single of the 1960s: 'Okie From Muskogee.' The song drew strong reactions as Haggard and The Strangers were testing it out on audiences before recording it, and according to pedal steel guitarist Norm Hamlet (Strangers 1967-present), ''The first time we played it, the audience just went crazy. We knew it was going to be huge.'' The single was indeed another #1 smash, but it was also something else entirely. It was the song that would change Merle Haggard's career.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Im Gonna Break Every Heart I Can
  2. Falling For You
  3. Shade Tree Fix-It-Man
  4. This Towns Not Big Enough
  5. Swinging Doors
  6. The Girl Turned Ripe
  7. The Bottle Let Me Down
  8. The Longer You Wait
  9. The Fugitive
  10. Someone Told My Story
  11. I Threw Away The Rose
  12. Loneliness Is Eating Me Alive
  13. Branded Man
  14. You Dont Have Very Far To Go
  15. Sing Me Back Home
  16. Good Times
  17. The Legend Of Bonnie And Clyde
  18. I Started Loving You Again
  19. Mama Tried
  20. Youll Never Love Me Now
  21. I Take A Lot Of Pride In What I Am
  22. Keep Me From Cryin Today
  23. Hungry Eyes

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 12, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Omnivore Recordings, LLC
  • ASIN: B00AOGM53U
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,792 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Rick Eldridge on April 17, 2013
Verified Purchase
I grew up in the south in the 60's and my family ran an old fashioned drive-in resturant - with a jukebox! I got to hear all these records as they were released. When the jukebox guy replaced the records, we got to keep what we wanted, so I've got a few of these originals. A couple of my favorites were actually B sides - "You Don't Have Very Far To Go" and "If I'd Left It Up To You", which were the flip sides of "Branded Man" and "Okie From Muskogee" respectively. I was especially pleased to see "If I'd Left It Up To You", because it's the last song on the cd and is not listed in the song list given in the product info. They only list 23 of the 28 songs. This song evidently was redone at some point in a slightly more up-tempo version and is the version usually found in other collections. Although I like both versions, I think I prefer the slower original - maybe since it was the first one I heard. Anyway, this is a great collection of Merle's early stuff and worth the money, even if, like me, you already have an extensive collection of his music.
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As with their collections of singles on Wanda Jackson and George Jones, Ominvore's anthology of twenty-eight Merle Haggard sides - fourteen A's and their respective B's - shows off a perspective not covered by greatest hits collections or original album reissues. In addition to Haggard's thirteen charting 1960s Capitol A-sides (eight of which topped the charts), the set includes the non-charting "Shade Tree Fix-it-Man." Haggard wrote all but one of the A-sides ("The Fugitive," penned by Liz Anderson), and most of the flips, but his first Capitol single was backed by a lush-stringed arrangement of Ralph Mooney's "Falling for You," and he later covered Anderson's sorrowful "This Town's Not Big Enough."

Haggard's B-sides are far from the filler many producers used to force DJ's onto the plug side; the productions were carefully crafted, and the instrumental backings are often highlighted by Ralph Mooney's piercing steel and Roy Nichols' sharply picked electric and resophonic guitars. It's hard to imagine how DJs kept themselves from flipping "The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde" to play the equally attractive "I Started Loving You Again." There are a few lighter sides, like "The Girl Turned Ripe," but the lyrics are most often of afflicted love - relationships bound to end, ending, or receding too slowly in the rear view mirror. Haggard's jazzier inclinations come out on Hank Cochran's "Loneliness is Eating Me Alive" and the original "Good Times," and his love of Jimmie Rodgers is heard in a cover of "California Blues.
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These are definitely the '60s. If they are re-mastered, I don't notice it. Just good ole Country-Western love songs! Bakersfield, but cleaner than the Buck Owens version of Bakersfield. I just LOVE this music. It was all I was allowed to listen to for most of my childhood until I ran away from home at 16, and then went to "the dark side" about 3 years later. I quit listening to CW for about 2 decades. I finally came back to it in the early '90s, maybe. But I really don't like the SMOOTH country and 4-beat stuff that started in the early '70s. I like the old 2-beat CW, and this is it. If you like Classic Country, THIS is classic. It reaches all the way back to the Jimmie Rodgers era, and the Doughboys era of Ft. Worth. Love it!

UPDATED A WHILE LATER - The song "I Started Loving You Again" just played as I read online articles. It brought tears to my eyes. The "chorus" singing the crooning responses is just SO classically '60s Country, and just so beautifully done. Really... tears and chills on my spine. That one song alone is worth the entire price of the CD. Classic, beautiful, and takes me back to a time that was definitely not happy, but certainly a different reality. It was a LONG time ago.
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Merle Haggard
"The Complete '60s Capitol Singles"
(Omnivore, 2013)

When Merle Haggard first hit the country Top 40, after a youth spent flirting with disaster -- he was in state prison for car theft, and barely avoided becoming a career criminal -- he had a real intensity and burning desire to make something of himself. This hardscrabble desperation infused his early work, as heard on this killer collection of the Capitol Records singles that made him a star.

You can't go wrong here: the original A-side hits are combined with the B-side backup songs, which include gems such as "Falling For You," "The Longer You Wait" and "This Town's Not Big Enough," great songs that are often forgotten on best-of sets and other reissues. And the hits, like "Swinging Doors," "Mama Tried," "Silver Wings" and "Bottle Let Me Down" were all just doozies. Buck Owens might have handled the good-timing side of the Bakersfield Sound, but Haggard was its real poet-craftsman, and this stuff from the 'Sixties is his best, if you ask me. Also, this disc was mixed from the original Capitol masters, so the sound quality is pretty sweet. There are other Merle Haggard best-ofs that are equally satisfying, but this is a killer introduction to his early work, with a slightly more rootsy feel than collections which also go into his '70s stuff. Highly recommended! (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Country Music)
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