By now Haggard's life has become pretty much an open book. "Mama Tried," with its indelible guitar intro, is perhaps his most frankly soul-searching effort yet, but most of this album is made up of outside material, and once again, some of it — Dolly Parton's "In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)" — is more than a little surprising. Though strong, it has a transitional feel — which is only strengthened by Pride, the finest album of his pre-"Okie from Muskogee" career though only the title song was a hit. Dominated by acoustic instruments, with more of a western accent than usual, the album sounds like nothing else in Haggard's '60s catalog (or any other country music of that era). Instead, it's more akin to Music from Big Pink, the Band's debut from the same year, in its emphasis on ensemble playing so tight it sounds loose.
By John Morthland on 05.17.11 in Icons
There's never been a country music career anything like that of Merle Haggard. Launched soon after he was released from San Quentin, it presented him first as a reckless, paranoid, yet rather proud honky-tonk man, the el...
By Jewly Hight on 02.23.15 in Features
"I take the country songs, because they're the only ones left now with any real meaning, and I redo them more R
By Andy Beta on 05.15.12 in Reviews
With his 79th birthday behind him, Willie Nelson is pondering his mortality on Heroes. A duet with fellow septuagenarian Merle Haggard on ruminative opener "A Horse Called Music" examines memory and loss. And then follow...
By Wondering Sound Staff on 05.07.12 in Lists
From doting to derelict, supportive to destructive, pop music contains mothers of every stripe. This year for Mother's Day, we decided to showcase 20 of pop music's more prominent moms. Any of them look familiar?