Merle Haggard: The Studio Recordings 1968-76 (6-CD)
6-CD box (LP-size) with 140-page hardcover book, 165 tracks. Playing time approx. 467 mns.
•A true legend of American music captured in his prime!
•The follow-up to Bear Family’s hugely acclaimed 'Untamed Hawk' set.
•All the studio recordings between 1969 and 1976, including 15 straight #1 country hits.
•Includes Vietnam era classics like Okie From Muskogee and The Fightin’ Side Of Me, as well as the more moderate unreleased song Somewhere In Between.
•More than 20 other unreleased performances!
Merle Haggard occupies a unique place in American music. The man who gave voice to the Silent Majority went on to become a counter-culture favourite. He has scored hits in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, and still works 200 sold-out road dates a year.
Ever since Bear Family released 'Untamed Hawk' in 1995, we’ve been asked for a follow-up comprising the rest of his legendary Capitol recordings. This is it…on 6 CDs, and it covers the tumultuous years between 1968 and 1976. The only exclusions are his Jimmie Rodgers tribute (already issued on a single CD by Bear Family) and the live recordings, which will be released in a companion volume.
These were the years when Merle Haggard polarized the USA with songs like Okie From Muskogee and The Fightin’ Side Of Me, yet, as this set reveals, his approach to politics was more nuanced than many thought at the time. In an unreleased song (one of many) titled Somewhere In Between he says "I stand looking at the left wing, and I turn towards the right, and my eyes find both good and bad there on either scene ....” He adds, I'm not too old to understand the young who disagree." The unissued recordings also include his original version of That's The Way Love Goes, which became a big hit for him on Epic Records several years later.
These were Merle Haggard’s golden years when he gave voice to the voiceless, and scored an unbroken string of #1 hits. This is American country music… make that American music… at its finest.
Article properties: Merle Haggard: The Studio Recordings 1968-76 (6-CD)
Merle Haggard, an icon of American music, died at his home in California on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. It was the singer, songwriter, and musician’s 79th birthday. In 2008 he battled lung cancer, and was hospitalized in December 2015 with double pneumonia. Haggard returned to the stage soon after, but was sidelined again in February due to continuing health concerns. “A week ago Dad told us he was gonna pass on his birthday,” Merle’s son and lead guitarist, Ben, revealed the day his father died, “and he wasn’t wrong.”
Merle Ronald Haggard was born April 6, 1937 in Bakersfield, California. Following his father’s death in 1945, Merle grew restless and rebellious. Several brushes with the law ultimately landed him in San Quentin prison in 1958. Following his release in 1960, Merle returned to Bakersfield, where he worked at manual labor jobs during the day. In the evenings he paid his dues in the same local honky tonks that sculpted the early career of fellow Bakersfield Sound pioneer Buck Owens.
Merle eventually signed with Bakersfield’s tiny Tally label, releasing a handful of singles before signing with Capitol Records in 1965. During his decade-long stint with Capitol, Haggard scored more than two dozen #1 country hits, including “Branded Man,” “Mama Tried,” “Okie From Muskogee,” “If We Make it Through December,” and “The Roots of My Raising.” Subsequent stints with the MCA and Epic labels yielded additional #1 hits, including “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink,” “My Favorite Memory,” “Big City,” and “Going Where the Lonely Go.” He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994, and continued to record for various labels, releasing his final studio album, Working in Tennessee, in 2011.
The celebrated “poet of the common man” frequently explored themes of restlessness, determination, stubborn individuality, responsibility, hard work, and a longing for personal freedom. His gift for capturing the spirit and struggles of the working class earned him a reputation as one of the great American songwriters in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. Beyond his mastery of lyrics and melody, Haggard was an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and nuanced vocalist who set a new bar in country music for both twangy barn-burners and tender jazz-tinged ballads. “He wasn’t just a country singer,” son Ben added. “He was the best country singer that ever lived.”
Haggard reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Country Singles chart more than 70 times between 1966 and 1989. Nearly 40 of those songs climbed all the way to the #1 spot. Beyond the hits, Haggard released 54 studio albums as a solo act, 10 collaborative albums with other artists, 11 live releases, and 5 additional studio albums spotlighting his legendary band, the Strangers. He won more than two dozen awards from the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association, as well as three Grammy awards. Haggard was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and, in 2010, was honored by the prestigious Kennedy Center for “outstanding contribution to American culture.”
“I want to die along the highway” Haggard sang in his 1977 hit “Ramblin’ Fever.” The legendary road warrior almost pulled it off. “It’s what keeps me alive and it’s what fucks up my life,” Merle said of touring in a 2016 interview with Matt Hendrickson. Although he had little interest in the trappings of celebrity, Haggard loved to sing and play. Bringing his music to his fans fueled him to the very end. His passing marks not only the end of a remarkable career, but the death of an icon who ranks with Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, and John Lennon as a musical force who forever changed the face of music.
Customer evaluation for "The Studio Recordings 1968-76 (6-CD)"
From:COURTIALOn:11 Jun 2014
very good music again
From:JonesOn:28 Apr 2013
i am very pleased with this box set as i am a big merle haggard fan but not only that bear family records are no 1 in the buisness when it comes to box sets no one does it like bear family so far the big glossy books and the box sets are terrific this is the seventh bear family box set that i own and more to come by the way well done again bear family records. i hope down the track merle haggards epic recordings could be released also in a'box set and buck owens all of his live recordings and live shows with susan raye' buddy allan 'the haggars and such.from his live album catalogue .thank you bear family records for these great box sets .kenny jones