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Wednesday, 10 February 2021



I only have one Merle Haggard album namely 1996. Well maybe I have two as the limited edition CD version I have bought in Polar Bear Records in Kings Heath, Birmingham also includes the album 1994 which was previously unreleased in the UK.

It is pretty much Country by numbers with the best track probably being his cover of Iris DeMent's great No Time to Cry.

Not that you would guess from this but Merle was a bit of a lad in his day getting into all sorts of scrapes and spending a fair amount of time in prison. He attributes witnessing a performance by Johhny Cash while in prison in San Quentin on New Year's Day 1959 as the inspiration to join the prison band and the rest, as they say, is history

His past probably influenced his best song Mama Tried. I've only got this sanitsed version as opposed to the incendiary original with his band The Strangers.

We will park Okie from Muskogee to one side.

Sadly Merle never made it to the top of Beer Can Hill passing away from the complications of pneumonia on his 79th birthday

Merle Haggard - No Time to Cry

Merle Haggard - Beer Can Hill

Merle Haggard - Mama Tried


  1. I don't know where to start. You only have one Merle album and that from the 1990s? Mama Tried is his best ever song? For a man of your otherwise impeccable taste this is a shocking omission

  2. Well that's me put in my place!
    His best song?

    1. That's a tough one. Don't get me wrong, 'Mama Tried' is a great tune, but I would put it behind George's choice below, 'Silver Wings', 'Kern River', 'I Take A Lot of Pride In What I Am' and a handful of others

    2. Enjoyed listening to Merle this morning on the way to work when it was a balmy -7C

  3. Ernie has subsequently provided me with an Emergency Merle Infusion

  4. You must have this one somewhere?

  5. Another set of country that would have had my dad's feet tappin'. Heard a lot of Merle in my youth. Didn't know about that San Quentin connection. Fascinating.