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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Merle Haggard - Country, Western, Outlaw Country, Bakersfield Sound Music

               Merle Haggard - Country, Western, Outlaw Country, Bakersfield Sound Music
Merle Ronald Haggard (born April 6, 1937) is an American country and Western song writer, singer, guitarist, fiddler, and instrumentalist. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster and the unique mix with the traditional country steel guitar sound, new vocal harmony styles in which the words are minimal, and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville Sound recordings of the same era. By the 1970s, Haggard was aligned with the growing outlaw country movement, and has continued to release successful albums through the 1990s and into the 2000s. In 1994, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1997, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame


Early life

Haggard's parents, James Francis and Flossie Mae, moved to California from their home in Checotah, Oklahoma, during the Great Depression, after their barn burned in 1934.[3] They settled with their children, Lowell and Lillian, in an apartment in Bakersfield, while James Francis Haggard started working for the Santa Fe Railroad. A woman who owned a boxcar, which was placed in Oildale, a nearby town north of Bakersfield, asked Haggard's father about the possibility of converting it into a house. He reformed the boxcar, and soon after moved in, also purchasing the lot, where Merle Ronald Haggard was born on April 6, 1937.[4][5] The property was eventually expanded by building a bathroom, a second bedroom, a kitchen and a breakfast nook in the adjacent lot.[4]
His father died of a brain hemorrhage in 1945,[5] an event that deeply affected Haggard during his childhood, and the rest of his life. To support the family, his mother worked as a bookkeeper.[6] His brother, Lowell, gave Haggard his used guitar as a gift when he was 12-years-old. Haggard learned to play alone,[4] with the records he had at home, influenced by Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams.[7] As his mother was absent due to work, Haggard became progressively rebellious. His mother sent him for a weekend to a juvenile detention center to change his attitude, which worsened.[8]
Haggard committed a number of minor offences, such as thefts and writing bad checks. He was sent to a juvenile detention center for shoplifting in 1950.[9] When he was 14, Haggard ran away to Texas with his friend Bob Teague.[7] He rode freight trains and hitchhiked throughout the state.[10][11] When he returned the same year, he and his friend were arrested for robbery. Haggard and Teague were released when the real robbers were found. Haggard was later sent to the juvenile detention center, from which he and his friend escaped again to Modesto, California. He worked a series of laborer jobs, including driving a potato truck, being a short order cook, a hay pitcher, and an oil well shooter.[10] He debut performance was with Teague in a bar named "Fun Center," being paid US$5, with free beer. He returned to Bakersfield in 1951, and was again arrested for truancy and petty larceny and sent to a juvenile detention center. After another escape, he was sent to the Preston School of Industry, a high-security installation. He was released 15 months later, but was sent back after beating a local boy during a burglary attempt. After his release, Haggard and Teague saw Lefty Frizzell in concert. After hearing Haggard sing along to his songs backstage, Frizzell refused to sing unless Haggard would be allowed to sing first. He sang songs that were well received by the audience. Due to the positive reception, Haggard decided to pursue a career in music. While working as a farmer or in oil fields, he played in nightclubs. He eventually landed a spot on the local television show Chuck Wagon, in 1956.[7]
Married and plagued by financial issues,[7] he was arrested in 1957 shortly after he tried to rob a Bakersfield roadhouse.[12] He was sent to Bakersfield Jail,[6] and was later transferred after an escape attempt to San Quentin Prison, on February 21, 1958.[13] While in prison, Haggard discovered that his wife was expecting a child from another man, which pressed him psychologically. He was fired from a series of prison jobs, and planned to escape along with another inmate nicknamed "Rabbit". Haggard was convinced not to escape by fellow inmates.[14] Haggard started to run a gambling and brewing racket with his cellmate. After he was caught drunk, he was sent for a week to solitary confinement where he encountered Caryl Chessman, an author and death row inmate.[15] Meanwhile, "Rabbit" had successfully escaped, only to shoot a police officer and return to San Quentin for execution.[14] Chessman's predicament, along with the execution of "Rabbit" inspired Haggard to turn his life around.[15] Haggard soon earned a high school equivalency diploma and kept a steady job in the prison's textile plant,[15] while also playing for the prison's country music band,[16] attributing a 1958 performance by Johnny Cash at the prison as his main inspiration to join it.[17] Upon his release in 1960, Haggard said it took about four months to get used to being out of the penitentiary and that, at times, he actually wanted to go back in. He said it was the loneliest he had ever felt.[citation needed]


Country success

Haggard depicted on a publicity portrait for Tally Records
Upon his release, Haggard started digging ditches and wiring houses for his brother. Soon he was performing again, and later began recording with Tally Records. The Bakersfield Sound was developing in the area as a reaction against the over-produced honky tonk of the Nashville Sound. Haggard's first song was "Skid Row". In 1962, Haggard wound up performing at a Wynn Stewart show in Las Vegas and heard Wynn's "Sing a Sad Song". He asked for permission to record it, and the resulting single was a national hit in 1964. The following year he had his first national top ten record with "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers", written by Liz Anderson (mother of country singer Lynn Anderson) and his career was off and running. In 1966, Haggard recorded his first number-one song "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive", also written by Liz Anderson, which Haggard acknowledges in his autobiography remains his most popular number with audiences.
In 1968, Haggard's first tribute LP Same Train, Different Time: A Tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, was released to acclaim. "Okie From Muskogee", 1969's apparent political statement, was, according to some Merle Haggard interviews decades later, actually written as an abjectly humorous character portrait. In one such interview, Haggard called the song a "documentation of the uneducated that lived in America at the time."[18] However, he said later on the Bob Edwards Show that "I wrote it when I recently got out of the joint. I knew what it was like to lose my freedom, and I was getting really mad at these protesters. They didn't know anything more about the war in Vietnam than I did. I thought how my dad, who was from Oklahoma, would have felt. I felt I knew how those boys fighting in Vietnam felt."
Later, Alabama Gov. George Wallace asked Haggard for an endorsement, which Haggard declined. However, Haggard has expressed sympathy with the "parochial" way of life expressed in "Okie" and songs such as "The Fightin' Side of Me". After "Okie" was released, it was a hit.
Regardless of exactly how they were intended, "Okie From Muskogee", "The Fightin' Side of Me", and "I Wonder If They Think of Me" were hailed as anthems of the so-called "Silent Majority" and presaged a trend in patriotic songs that would reappear years later with Charlie Daniels' "In America", Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA", and others. In 1969 the Grateful Dead began performing Haggard's tune "Mama Tried", which appeared on their 1971 eponymous live album. The song became a staple in their repertoire until the band's end in 1995. The Grateful Dead also performed Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home" numerous times between 1971 and 1973. In addition, The Flying Burrito Brothers recorded and performed "White Line Fever" in 1971, and toured with "Sing Me Back Home" and "Hungry Eyes". Singer-activist Joan Baez, whose political leanings could not be more different from those expressed in Haggard's above-referenced songs, nonetheless covered "Sing Me Back Home" and "Mama Tried" in 1969. The Everly Brothers also used both songs in their 1968 country-rock album Roots. Haggard's next LP was A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World, which helped spark a permanent revival and expanded audience for western swing.
Haggard in 1975
On Tuesday, March 14, 1972, shortly after "Carolyn" became another number one country hit for Haggard, then-California governor Ronald Reagan granted Haggard a full pardon for his past crimes. During the early to mid-1970s, Haggard's chart domination continued with songs like "Someday We'll Look Back", "Carolyn", "Grandma Harp", "Always Wanting You", and "The Roots of My Raising". He also wrote and performed the theme song to the television series Movin' On, which in 1975 gave him another number one country hit. The 1973 recession anthem "If We Make It Through December" furthered Haggard's status as a champion of the working class. Haggard appeared on the cover of TIME on May 6, 1974.
In the fall of 1972, "Let Me Tell You about A Song," the first TV special starring Merle Haggard, was nationally-syndicated by Capital Cities TV Productions. It was a semi-autobiographical, musical profile of Haggard, akin to the contemporary "Behind The Music," produced and directed by Michael Davis.
In 1981, Haggard published an autobiography, Sing Me Back Home. That same year, he alternately spoke and sang the ballad The Man in the Mask. Written by Dean Pitchford (whose other output includes Fame, Footloose, Sing, Solid Gold and the musical Carrie), this was the combined narration/theme from the movie The Legend of the Lone Ranger...which was a box-office flop.
Country star Willie Nelson believed the 1983 Academy Award-winning film Tender Mercies, about the life of fictional singer Mac Sledge, was based on the life of Merle Haggard. Actor Robert Duvall and other filmmakers denied this and claimed the character was based on nobody in particular. Duvall, however, said he was a big fan of Haggard.[19]
If We Make It Through December turned out to be Haggard's last pop hit. Although he won a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his 1984 remake of That's The Way Love Goes, newer singers had begun to take over country music, and singers like George Strait and Randy Travis had taken over the charts. Haggard's last number one hit was "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star" from his smash album Chill Factor in 1988.[citation needed]
In 1989, Haggard recorded a song, "Me and Crippled Soldiers Give a Damn", in response to the Supreme Court's decision to allow flag burning under the First Amendment. After CBS Records Nashville avoided releasing the song, Haggard bought his way out of the contract and signed with Curb Records, which was willing to release the song. Of the situation, Haggard commented, "I've never been a guy that can do what people told me...It's always been my nature to fight the system."[20]


CD List:
1965 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Strangers
1966 - Merle Haggard & Bonnie Owens - Just Between The Two Of Us
1966 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Swinging Doors & The Bottle Let Me Down
1967 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Branded Man
1967 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - I'm A Lonesome Fugitive
1968 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Mama Tried
1968 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Sing Me Back Home
1968 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - The Best Of Merle Haggard
1968 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - The Legend Of Bonnie And Clyde
1969 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Pride In What I Am
1969 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - A Portrait Of Merle Haggard
1969 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Close-Up (Dbl LP)
1969 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Okie From Muskogee (Live)
1969 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Same Train, A Different Time (A Tribute To Jimmie Rodgers) (Dbl LP)
1969 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - The Strangers - Instrumental Sounds Of Merle Haggard's Strangers
1970 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - A Tribute To The Best Damn Fiddle Player In The World (Or My Salute To Bob Wills)
1970 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Introducing My Friends, The Strangers
1970 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - The Fightin' Side Of Me (Live)
1970 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - The Strangers - Getting To Know The Strangers
1971 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)
1971 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Hag
1971 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Sing A Sad Song
1971 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Someday We'll Look Back
1971 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - The Strangers & Friends - Honky Tonkin'
1971 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - The Land Of Many Churches (Live) (2CD Set)
1971 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Totally Instrumental (With One Exception)
1972 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)
1972 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Let Me Tell You About A Song
1972 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - The Best Of The Best Of Merle Haggard
1973 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - A Christmas Present (Something Old, Something New)
1973 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - I Love Dixie Blues (Live From New Orleans)
1973 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - I Love Dixie Blues (Rare Unissued Studio LP)
1974 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - High On A Hilltop
1974 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - If We Make It Through December
1974 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Merle Haggard Presents His 30th Album
1975 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Keep Movin' On
1976 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - It's All In The Movies
1976 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - My Love Affair With Trains
1976 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - The Roots Of My Raising
1977 - Merle Haggard - My Farewell To Elvis
1977 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - A Working Man Can't Get No Where Today
1977 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Ramblin' Fever
1977 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Songs I'll Always Sing (Dbl LP)
1978 - Merle Haggard - Country Boy (Dbl Play)
1978 - Merle Haggard - I'm Always On A Mountain When I Fall
1978 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Eleven Winners
1978 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - The Way It Was In '51
1979 - Merle Haggard - Serving 190 Proof
1979 - Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson - Gospel's Best
1980 - Merle Haggard - Back To The Barrooms
1980 - Merle Haggard - Live On Country Sessions (Recorded At The Lone Star Cafe, NY,NY (6th June 1980)
1980 - Merle Haggard - Salutes The Greats
1980 - Merle Haggard - The NBC Sessions
1980 - Merle Haggard - The Way I Am
1981 - Merle Haggard - Big City
1981 - Merle Haggard - History Of Country Music Presents
1981 - Merle Haggard - Live At Opryland
1981 - Merle Haggard - Rainbow Stew (Live At Anaheim Stadium)
1981 - Merle Haggard - Songs For The Mama That Tried
1981 - Merle Haggard - The Legend Of The Lone Ranger (OST)
1981 - Merle Haggard - What A Friend We Have In Jesus
1982 - Merle Haggard - Goin' Home For Christmas
1982 - Merle Haggard - Going Where The Lonely Go
1982 - Merle Haggard - Merle Haggard's Greatest Hits
1982 - Merle Haggard & George Jones - A Taste Of Yesterdays Wine
1982 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Live At Dewey Groom's Longhorn Ballroom
1982 - Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson - Poncho & Lefty
1983 - Merle Haggard - Live At Mud Island Amphitheatre (Memphis, TN, 1983)
1983 - Merle Haggard - That's The Way Love Goes
1983 - Merle Haggard - The Epic Collection (Live)
1983 - Merle Haggard & Leona Williams - Heart To Heart
1984 - Merle Haggard - All Of My Best
1984 - Merle Haggard - His Epic Hits (The First 11 ...To Be Continued)
1984 - Merle Haggard - It's All In The Game
1984 - Merle Haggard - Live In KLRU-TV Studios, Austin, TX
1984 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Goin' Home For Christmas
1985 - Merle Haggard - Amber Waves Of Grain (Live)
1985 - Merle Haggard - His Greatest Hits And Best
1985 - Merle Haggard - Kern River
1985 - Merle Haggard - Live At Austin City Limits
1986 - Merle Haggard - A Friend In California
1986 - Merle Haggard - Out Among The Stars
1986 - Merle Haggard - Ramblin' Fever (Recorded Live In Oklahoma City)
1986 - Merle Haggard - Songwriter
1987 - Merle Haggard - Chill Factor
1987 - Merle Haggard - Live At Church Street
1987 - Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson - Seashores Of Old Mexico
1987 - Merle Haggard, George Jones & Willie Nelson - Walking The Line
1988 - Merle Haggard - 5:01 Blues
1988 - Merle Haggard - 25th Anniversary
1988 - Merle Haggard - I Love  Country
1990 - Merle Haggard - Best Of Country Blues
1990 - Merle Haggard - Blue Jungle
1990 - Merle Haggard - Capitol Collectors Series
1990 - Merle Haggard - Greatest Hits Of The 80's
1990 - Merle Haggard - I Think I'll Stay Here And Drink
1990 - Merle Haggard - More Of The Best
1991 - Merle Haggard - 18 Rare Classics
1991 - Merle Haggard - All Night Long
1991 - Merle Haggard - Country Pride
1991 - Merle Haggard - Treasury Of Love Songs
1992 - Merle Haggard - A Country Christmas With Merle Haggard
1992 - Merle Haggard - Okie From Muskogee (EMI-Capitol Special Markets Compilation)
1992 - Merle Haggard, George Jones And Conway Twitty - Living Legends
1993 - Merle Haggard - Same Train, A Different Time - A Tribute To Jimmie Rodgers (Bear Family)
1993 - Merle Haggard - Super Hits
1994 - Merle Haggard - 20 Country No. 1's
1994 - Merle Haggard - 1994
1994 - Merle Haggard - Greatest Hits
1994 - Merle Haggard - Hall Of Fame
1994 - Merle Haggard - Super Hits Vol. 2
1995 - Merle Haggard - Anthology 1963-1977 (The Lonesome Fugitives) (2CD Set)
1995 - Merle Haggard - Legendary Country Singers
1995 - Merle Haggard - Super Hits Vol. 3
1995 - Merle Haggard - Untamed Hawk (5CD Set)
1995 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - A Tribute To The Best Damn Fiddle Player In The World
1995 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Hit Albums
1996 - Merle Haggard - 1996
1996 - Merle Haggard - Always Wanting You
1996 - Merle Haggard - Down Every Road (4CD Set)
1996 - Merle Haggard - Golden Classics
1996 - Merle Haggard - Okie From Muskogee (25 Great Songs) (Recorded Live At Church Street Station)
1996 - Merle Haggard - Silver Wings
1996 - Merle Haggard - Sings Story Songs
1996 - Merle Haggard - The Family Bible
1996 - Merle Haggard - This Is For You
1996 - Merle Haggard - Today I Started Loving You Again Plus Other #1 Hits
1996 - Merle Haggard - Vintage Collections Series
1997 - Merle Haggard - A Legendary Performer
1997 - Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson - Live At La Zona Rosa, Austin, TX (2CD Set)
1998 - Merle Haggard - 16 Biggest Hits
1998 - Merle Haggard - Live At The House Of Blues
1999 - Merle Haggard - (Motorcycle Cowboy) Live At Billy Bob's Texas
1999 - Merle Haggard - For The Record (43 Legendary Hits) (2CD Set)
1999 - Merle Haggard (With Tom Carter) - My House Of Memories
2000 - Merle Haggard - If I Could Only Fly
2000 - Merle Haggard - New Light Through Old Windows
2000 - Merle Haggard - Rough Cuts
2000 - Merle Haggard - The Ultimate Collection
2001 - Merle Haggard - A Cabin In The Hills
2001 - Merle Haggard - Cheatin'
2001 - Merle Haggard - Drinkin'
2001 - Merle Haggard - Hurtin'
2001 - Merle Haggard - Prison
2001 - Merle Haggard - Roots, Vol. 1
2001 - Merle Haggard - Train Whistle Blues
2001 - Merle Haggard & Albert E. Brumley Jr. - Two Old Friends
2001 - Merle Haggard & Leona Williams - Old Loves Never Die
2002 - Merle Haggard - The Peer Sessions (Recorded From 1996-1999)
2002 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - 20 Greatest Hits
2003 - Merle Haggard - 37 Great Performances (2CD Set)
2003 - Merle Haggard - Haggard Like Never Before
2003 - Merle Haggard - Wanted
2004 - Merle Haggard - 40 #1 Hits (2CD Set)
2004 - Merle Haggard - Award Winning Gospel Hits
2004 - Merle Haggard - Branded Man
2004 - Merle Haggard - I Wish I Was Santa Claus
2004 - Merle Haggard - Live At Billy Bob's Texas (Ol' Country Singer)
2004 - Merle Haggard - Unforgetable
2004 - Merle Haggard & Conway Twitty - Elvis Favourites
2005 - Merle Haggard - 11 #1 Hit
2005 - Merle Haggard - All American Country
2005 - Merle Haggard - Chicago Wind
2005 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO
2006 - Merle Haggard - Capitol Country Classics
2006 - Merle Haggard - Country Hit Parade - #1 Hits
2006 - Merle Haggard - Country Hit Parade - Love Songs
2006 - Merle Haggard - HAG (The Best Of Merle Haggard)
2006 - Merle Haggard - Mama Tried - Pride In What I Am
2006 - Merle Haggard - The Very Best Vol. 2
2006 - Merle Haggard & George Jones - Kickin' Out The Footlights Again
2007 - Merle Haggard - A Working Man's Journey
2007 - Merle Haggard - HAG (The Studio Recordings 1969-1976) (6CD Set)
2007 - Merle Haggard - Impotence Is Man's Best Friend
2007 - Merle Haggard - Recorded Live (Golden Nugget, Las Vegas)
2007 - Merle Haggard - Live From The Countryside
2007 - Merle Haggard - Live Sessions (Merle Haggard In Concert)
2007 - Merle Haggard - The Bluegrass Sessions
2007 - Merle Haggard - The Original Outlaw (3CD Set)
2007 - Merle Haggard - The Definitive Collection
2007 - Merle Haggard - Vintage Vaults (4CD Set)
2007 - Merle Haggard - Working Man's Journey
2007 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Hag's Christmas (Originally Recored iIn 1973)
2007 - Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson & Ray Price - Last Of The Breed (2CD Set)
2008 - Merle Haggard - From The King To The Barrooms
2008 - Merle Haggard - HAG (The Capitol Recordings 1968-1976) Concepts, Live & The Strangers (6CD Set)
2008 - Merle Haggard - The Best Of Merle Haggard (2CD Set)
2009 - Merle Haggard - Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN
2010 - Merle Haggard - 20th Fingerlakes Grassroots Festival, Grandstand Stage; Trumansburg, NY. (2CD Set)
2010 - Merle Haggard - I Am What I Am
2010 - Merle Haggard - Live At The 2010 Stagecoach CA Festival
2010 - Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Classics
2011 - Merle Haggard - Working In Tennessee
2012 - Merle Haggard - Hag Sings Leonard (Comp. 2012)
2012 - Merle Haggard - Mama Tried (The Very Best Of Merle Haggard) (2CD Set)
2012 - Merle Haggard - The Troubadour (4CD Set)
2013 - Merle Haggard - Icon