“Sing Me Back Home” still ranks among Haggard’s most heartbreaking songs; it’s also, despite its surface simplicity, one of his most complex of the ’60s. The growing depth of his writing — and his singing — is equally apparent on “Look Over Me” and “My Past Is Present,” while his choices of outside material, from the brilliant “If You See My Baby” to the gothic “Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp,” are acute. The bluegrassy “Legend of Bonnie and Clyde,” inspired by the Faye Dunaway-Warren Beatty movie, represents the increasing folk flavors of his work, while that single’s B-side ballad, “I Started Loving You Again,” has become one of his signature songs though it’s never been a hit. That album’s filled out mostly by outside material, but the choices here are more unlikely, and their relative obscurity reinforces the notion of Haggard as archivist.
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?