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Merle Haggard: The Troubadour [Box]

Audio Samples

>Troubadour
>I Think It's Gone Forever
>If We're Not Back in Love by Monday
>Ramblin' Fever
>When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again
>Ghost Story
>Set Me Free
>Love Somebody to Death
>Ain't Your Memory Got No Pride at All
>My Love for You
>Last Letter, The
>From Graceland to the Promised Land
>Blue Christmas
>Are You Lonesome Tonight
>In the Ghetto
>Don't Be Cruel
>Jailhouse Rock
>Love Me Tender
>That's All Right (Mama)
>Heartbreak Hotel
>Blue Suede Shoes
>Merle's Farewell to Elvis
>I'm Always on a Mountain When I Fall
>Life of a Rodeo Cowboy
>It's Been a Great Afternoon
>Love Me When You Can
>There Won't Be Another Now
>Don't You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)
>There Ain't No Good Chain Gang
>Dream, The
>Immigrant, The
>Mama, I've Got to Go to Memphis
>Bull and the Beaver, The
>I'm Getting High
>Red Bandana
>Driftwood
>Sing a Family Song
>Footlights
>Got Lonely Too Early This Morning
>Heaven Was a Drink of Wine
>I Can't Get Away
>My Own Kind of Hat
>I Didn't Mean to Love You
>Roses in the Winter
>I Must Have Done Something Bad
>Way I Am, The
>Wake Up
>Sky-Bo
>No One to Sing For (But the Band)
>Remember Me (I'm the One Who Loves You)
>Life's Just Not the Way It Used to Be
>Where Have You Been
>Take Me Back and Try Me One More Time
>I'll Always Be Glad to Take You Back
>It Makes No Difference Now
>It's Been So Long Darlin'
>Misery and Gin [From the Original Soundtrack of Bronco Billy]
>Bar Room Buddies [From the Original Soundtrack of Bronco Billy]
>You Babe
>My Life's Been Grand
>Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa
>Love Keeps Hanging On
>It's All in the Game
>Why Can't I Cry
>Bleachers
>Love Don't Hurt Every Time
>Susie
>Pennies from Heaven
>Make-Up and Faded Blue Jeans
>Ever Changing Woman
>Help Save the Wild Life
>Leonard
>I Don't Want to Sober Up Tonight
>Dealing with the Devil
>Can't Break the Habit
>Lay Your Hands on My Heart
>Back to the Barrooms Again
>Our Paths May Never Cross
>I Don't Have Any More Love Songs
>I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink
>I Don't Want to Sober Up Tonight
>New Cocaine Blues, The
>Easy Come, Easy Go
>Easy Come, Easy Go [Alternative]
>When God Comes and Gathers His Jewels
>Supper Time
>He Walks with Me
>Softly and Tenderly
>Why Me
>Where No One Stands Alone
>One Day at a Time
>What a Friend We Have in Jesus
>Swing Low Sweet Chariot
>Old Rugged Cross, The
>Keep on the Sunny Side
>Fightin' Side of Me, The
>If We Make It Through December
>Misery and Gin
>I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink
>Back to the Barrooms Again
>Our Paths May Never Cross
>Running Kind/I'm a Lonesome Fugitive, The
>Rainbow Stew
>Blue Yodel #9
>Dealing with the Devil
>Fiddle Breakdown
>Sing Me Back Home
>Pearl Beer
>Man in the Mask, The
>Legend Begins [Narration], The
>Breaking of Silver [Narration], The

Track List

>Troubadour
>I Think It's Gone Forever
>If We're Not Back in Love by Monday
>Ramblin' Fever
>When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again
>Ghost Story
>Set Me Free
>Love Somebody to Death
>Ain't Your Memory Got No Pride at All
>My Love for You
>Last Letter, The
>From Graceland to the Promised Land
>Blue Christmas
>Are You Lonesome Tonight
>In the Ghetto
>Don't Be Cruel
>Jailhouse Rock
>Love Me Tender
>That's All Right (Mama)
>Heartbreak Hotel
>Blue Suede Shoes
>Merle's Farewell to Elvis
>I'm Always on a Mountain When I Fall
>Life of a Rodeo Cowboy
>It's Been a Great Afternoon
>Love Me When You Can
>There Won't Be Another Now
>Don't You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)
>There Ain't No Good Chain Gang
>Dream, The
>Immigrant, The
>Mama, I've Got to Go to Memphis
>Bull and the Beaver, The
>I'm Getting High
>Red Bandana
>Driftwood
>Sing a Family Song
>Footlights
>Got Lonely Too Early This Morning
>Heaven Was a Drink of Wine
>I Can't Get Away
>My Own Kind of Hat
>I Didn't Mean to Love You
>Roses in the Winter
>I Must Have Done Something Bad
>Way I Am, The
>Wake Up
>Sky-Bo
>No One to Sing For (But the Band)
>Remember Me (I'm the One Who Loves You)
>Life's Just Not the Way It Used to Be
>Where Have You Been
>Take Me Back and Try Me One More Time
>I'll Always Be Glad to Take You Back
>It Makes No Difference Now
>It's Been So Long Darlin'
>Misery and Gin [From the Original Soundtrack of Bronco Billy]
>Bar Room Buddies [From the Original Soundtrack of Bronco Billy]
>You Babe
>My Life's Been Grand
>Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa
>Love Keeps Hanging On
>It's All in the Game
>Why Can't I Cry
>Bleachers
>Love Don't Hurt Every Time
>Susie
>Pennies from Heaven
>Make-Up and Faded Blue Jeans
>Ever Changing Woman
>Help Save the Wild Life
>Leonard
>I Don't Want to Sober Up Tonight
>Dealing with the Devil
>Can't Break the Habit
>Lay Your Hands on My Heart
>Back to the Barrooms Again
>Our Paths May Never Cross
>I Don't Have Any More Love Songs
>I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink
>I Don't Want to Sober Up Tonight
>New Cocaine Blues, The
>Easy Come, Easy Go
>Easy Come, Easy Go [Alternative]
>When God Comes and Gathers His Jewels
>Supper Time
>He Walks with Me
>Softly and Tenderly
>Why Me
>Where No One Stands Alone
>One Day at a Time
>What a Friend We Have in Jesus
>Swing Low Sweet Chariot
>Old Rugged Cross, The
>Keep on the Sunny Side
>Fightin' Side of Me, The
>If We Make It Through December
>Misery and Gin
>I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink
>Back to the Barrooms Again
>Our Paths May Never Cross
>Running Kind/I'm a Lonesome Fugitive, The
>Rainbow Stew
>Blue Yodel #9
>Dealing with the Devil
>Fiddle Breakdown
>Sing Me Back Home
>Pearl Beer
>Man in the Mask, The
>Legend Begins [Narration], The
>Breaking of Silver [Narration], The

Album Notes

Audio Mixer: Bill Inglot.

Liner Note Author: Dave Samuelson.

Recording information: Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA (01/03/1978-01/14/1980); Eleven-Eleven Sound Studio, Nashville, TN (01/03/1978-01/14/1980); Fireside Studio, Nashville, TN (01/03/1978-01/14/1980); Glaser Studio, Nashville, TN (01/03/1978-01/14/1980); Heider Scoring Service Inc., Los Angeles, CA (01/03/1978-01/14/1980); Jack Clement Recording Studios, Nashville, TN (01/03/1978-01/14/1980); Nashville, TN (01/03/1978-01/14/1980); Sierra Nevada Recording, Reno, NV (01/03/1978-01/14/1980); Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN (01/03/1978-01/14/1980); Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, TN (01/03/1978-01/14/1980); Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA (02/15/1977-??/??/1981); Eleven-Eleven Sound Studio, Nashville, TN (02/15/1977-??/??/1981); Fireside Studio, Nashville, TN (02/15/1977-??/??/1981); Glaser Studio, Nashville, TN (02/15/1977-??/??/1981); Heider Scoring Service Inc., Los Angeles, CA (02/15/1977-??/??/1981); Jack Clement Recording Studios, Nashville, TN (02/15/1977-??/??/1981); Nashville, TN (02/15/1977-??/??/1981); Sierra Nevada Recording, Reno, NV (02/15/1977-??/??/1981); Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN (02/15/1977-??/??/1981); Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, TN (02/15/1977-??/??/1981); Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA (03/29/1977-01/02/1979); Eleven-Eleven Sound Studio, Nashville, TN (03/29/1977-01/02/1979); Fireside Studio, Nashville, TN (03/29/1977-01/02/1979); Glaser Studio, Nashville, TN (03/29/1977-01/02/1979); Heider Scoring Service Inc., Los Angeles, CA (03/29/1977-01/02/1979); Jack Clement Recording Studios, Nashville, TN (03/29/1977-01/02/1979); Nashville, TN (03/29/1977-01/02/1979); Sierra Nevada Recording, Reno, NV (03/29/1977-01/02/1979); Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN (03/29/1977-01/02/1979); Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, TN (03/29/1977-01/02/1979); Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA (04/11/1980); Eleven-Eleven Sound Studio, Nashville, TN (04/11/1980); Fireside Studio, Nashville, TN (04/11/1980); Glaser Studio, Nashville, TN (04/11/1980); Heider Scoring Service Inc., Los Angeles, CA (04/11/1980); Jack Clement Recording Studios, Nashville, TN (04/11/1980); Nashville, TN (04/11/1980); Sierra Nevada Recording, Reno, NV (04/11/1980); Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN (04/11/1980); Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, TN (04/11/1980); Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA (05/16/1980); Eleven-Eleven Sound Studio, Nashville, TN (05/16/1980); Fireside Studio, Nashville, TN (05/16/1980); Glaser Studio, Nashville, TN (05/16/1980); Heider Scoring Service Inc., Los Angeles, CA (05/16/1980); Jack Clement Recording Studios, Nashville, TN (05/16/1980); Nashville, TN (05/16/1980); Sierra Nevada Recording, Reno, NV (05/16/1980); Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN (05/16/1980); Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, TN (05/16/1980); Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA (05/1982-06/1982); Eleven-Eleven Sound Studio, Nashville, TN (05/1982-06/1982); Fireside Studio, Nashville, TN (05/1982-06/1982); Glaser Studio, Nashville, TN (05/1982-06/1982); Heider Scoring Service Inc., Los Angeles, CA (05/1982-06/1982); Jack Clement Recording Studios, Nashville, TN (05/1982-06/1982); Nashville, TN (05/1982-06/1982); Sierra Nevada Recording, Reno, NV (05/1982-06/1982); Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN (05/1982-06/1982); Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, TN (05/1982-06/1982); Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA (05/21/1981); Eleven-Eleven Sound Studio, Nashville, TN (05/21/1981); Fireside Studio, Nashville, TN (05/21/1981); Glaser Studio, Nashville, TN (05/21/1981); Heider Scoring Service Inc., Los Angeles, CA (05/21/1981); Jack Clement Recording Studios, Nashville, TN (05/21/1981); Nashville, TN (05/21/1981); Sierra Nevada Recording, Reno, NV (05/21/1981); Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN (05/21/1981); Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, TN (05/21/1981); Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA (06/18/1980); Eleven-Eleven Sound Studio, Nashville, TN (06/18/1980); Fireside Studio, Nashville, TN (06/18/1980); Glaser Studio, Nashville, TN (06/18/1980); Heider Scoring Service Inc., Los Angeles, CA (06/18/1980); Jack Clement Recording Studios, Nashville, TN (06/18/1980); Nashville, TN (06/18/1980); Sierra Nevada Recording, Reno, NV (06/18/1980); Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN (06/18/1980); Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, TN (06/18/1980); Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA (07/21/1981); Eleven-Eleven Sound Studio, Nashville, TN (07/21/1981); Fireside Studio, Nashville, TN (07/21/1981); Glaser Studio, Nashville, TN (07/21/1981); Heider Scoring Service Inc., Los Angeles, CA (07/21/1981); Jack Clement Recording Studios, Nashville, TN (07/21/1981); Nashville, TN (07/21/1981); Sierra Nevada Recording, Reno, NV (07/21/1981); Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN (07/21/1981); Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, TN (07/21/1981); Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, CA (08/14/1980); Eleven-Eleven Sound Studio, Nashville, TN (08/14/1980); Fireside Studio, Nashville, TN (08/14/1980); Glaser Studio, Nashville, TN (08/14/1980); Heider Scoring Service Inc., Los Angeles, CA (08/14/1980); Jack Clement Recording Studios, Nashville, TN (08/14/1980); Nashville, TN (08/14/1980); Sierra Nevada Recording, Reno, NV (08/14/1980); Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN (08/14/1980).

Illustrators: Brenda Colladay; Les Leverett; R.A. Andreas; Leona Williams.

Photographers: Brenda Colladay; Les Leverett; R.A. Andreas; Leona Williams.

After 11 years with Capitol Records, Merle Haggard departed the label for MCA in 1977, kicking off a five-year stint that is by most measures the most turbulent in the singer/songwriter's career. Capitol wasn't the only longtime relationship he left behind as he faced 40. He left Bonnie Owens for Leona Williams, who soon replaced Bonnie as his wife and duet partner. He tentatively began recording in Nashville, where he was convinced to leave behind his road-tested Strangers in favor of studio pros. He suffered a bit of a dry spell as a songwriter, leading him to record beloved covers and questionable new tunes alike. All these ups and downs are evident on 2012's The Troubadour, Bear Family's fourth Merle Haggard box, which chronicles the entirety of those MCA recordings over the course of 111 tracks. Haggard closed his run at MCA in a stronger position than he started and the music here is pretty much the working definition of a transitional period. Hag tries on different sounds and recording styles, rushing out a heartfelt tribute to a departed Elvis Presley, then agreeing to attempt to cash in on the CB radio craze way after the "Convoy" had passed, happily recording a duet with Clint Eastwood for Bronco Billy, grudgingly cutting "If We're Not Back in Love by Monday" -- a plain ripoff of his own "If We Make It Through December" -- but throwing himself into Jimmy Bowen's meticulous production for Serving 190 Proof, where he'd cut no more than one track a day. Serving 190 Proof wound up as one of Haggard's great albums and it's hardly the only highlight from these years. That Elvis Presley tribute is surprising and soulful, Back to the Barrooms is an excellent hard country record, and he wrapped up his time with the rollicking live album Rainbow Stew: Live at Anaheim Stadium. Along the way, he cut a few songs that qualify as Haggard classics -- the gorgeously heartbroken "Misery and Gin" and its defiant counterpart "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink," the moody "I'm Always on the Mountain When I Fall" -- a bunch of strong straight-ahead country, some beautiful neglected gems like the unreleased song that lends its title to this box, a pretty good collection of spiritual tunes dedicated to his mom, plus some flotsam that's interesting as cultural artifacts (that CB single "The Bull and the Beaver"/"I'm Getting High," music for the botched 1981 blockbuster The Legend of the Lone Ranger). By any measure this box is a mixed bag, but it's a fascinating one because it tells a story: at the beginning Merle seems lost but by the time it wraps up, Haggard has regained his voice and authority, weathering his midlife crisis and becoming stronger once again. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine



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