Hag: The Capitol Recordings 1968-1976 - Concepts, Live & the Strangers

Hag: The Capitol Recordings 1968-1976 - Concepts, Live & the Strangers

by Merle HaggardMerle Haggard

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Twelve years after they released their first Merle Haggard box, The Untamed Hawk, Bear Family delivered the sequel, Hag: The Studio Recordings 1969-1976. This picks up where The Untamed Hawk left off, which is more of a musical dividing point than it initially seems. If The Untamed Hawk caught Haggard as he was reaching full flight, Hag captures him in his prime, as every single he released reached the Country Top Ten -- often capturing the number one slot -- and as he sometimes crossed over into the pop Top 40. Hag was without a doubt the biggest star in country music but the remarkable thing about his reign at the top was that he never played it safe. During this eight-year span, he recorded few songs as iconic as "Strangers," "Swinging Doors," "The Bottle Let Me Down" or "Mama Tried," but a notable exception was "Okie from Muskogee" and its ornery cousin, "The Fighting Side of Me." Both were reactionary rhetoric in the midst of the Vietnam war, but where the latter was itching for a brawl -- a perfect pairing for its tough, twangy, Bakersfield sound -- "Okie" was gentler in its music and sweetly nostalgic in its tone, romanticizing an America that may never have been there. As Hag makes clear, "Okie" provides the keystone for the last half of Haggard's Capitol recordings, as his music mellowed and deepened, and he turned toward painting a picture of his ideal America, knowing full well that the good times may already be over. The music feels different than that on Untamed Hawk -- it's not as lean and tense, not as indebted to Buck. It's warmer yet more adventurous and far-ranging, at once referencing the past but sounding progressive, sounding smoother, but never turning pop. Haggard's writing also underwent a subtle evolution, as he developed a narrative eye that had songs like "Tulare Dust" and "The Seashores of Old Mexico" play like short stories. With their spare, vivid lyrical detail, these songs created a mythic image of America that the music matched with its blend of country, folk, blues, and jazz, so thoroughly integrated it was often impossible to discern where the styles began...unless it was on the genre exercises that Hag and the Strangers tore into with thrilling abandon. Merle wrote a bunch of these himself, notably the spectacular Western swing of "Living with the Shades Pulled Down" and "Old Man from the Mountain," songs that illustrated his debt to Lefty Frizzell and Bob Wills. It's possible to hear the influence of his idols here but all of Hag's full-length tributes, such as his timeless Wills and Jimmie Rodgers salutes, aren't here -- they, along with the Strangers albums, are bundled on a third Bear Family box, out in 2008 -- but his knack for finding great material is wholly evident, whether he's cutting his old friend Tommy Collins' "Carolyn" or cherry-picking Dolly Parton's "Kentucky Gambler." Much of this variety can be heard on the many, many individual albums Haggard released during the first half of the '70s -- most of the best of which have been reissued on CD, including great two-fers from both Capitol and BGO -- but hearing it all in this six CD box, the depth and consistency of his music is stunning. Perhaps there are no revelations here aside from the political -- almost immediately after "Okie from Muskogee" became a smash, he began recording songs that backed away from the curmudgeonly conservative bent of that hit, explaining that he's in the divide between the left and right, returning to that sentiment again and again during this stretch at Capitol -- yet there doesn't need to be, as Hag offers the richest, fullest portrait of Merle's America, a world that only grows more alluring with each passing year.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/17/2007
Label: Bear Family Germany
UPC: 4000127167491
catalogNumber: 2716749


Disc 1

  1. I'd Rather Be Gone
  2. Montego Bay
  3. I Die Ten Thousand Times a Day
  4. California on My Mind
  5. California Cotton Fields
  6. White Line Fever
  7. I Came So Close to Failure
  8. Workin' Man Blues
  9. The Sea Shores of Old Mexico
  10. Okie from Muskogee
  11. If I Had Left It Up to You
  12. Streets of Berlin
  13. Huntsville
  14. Train of Life
  15. They're Tearing the Labor Camp Down
  16. The Fightin' Side of Me
  17. I Wonder What She'll Think About Me Leaving
  18. No Reason to Quit
  19. Jesus, Take a Hold
  20. I Ain't Got Nobody
  21. New York City Blues
  22. One Row at a Time
  23. Shelly's Winter Love
  24. I'll Be a Hero When I Strike
  25. If You've Got Time (To Say Goodbye)
  26. I'm a Good Loser
  27. I Can't Be Myself
  28. I've Done It All
  29. One Sweet Hello

Disc 2

  1. Worried, Unhappy, Lonesome and Sorry
  2. Somewhere in Between
  3. The Sidewalks of Chicago
  4. The Farmer's Daughter
  5. Tulare Dust
  6. When the Feelin' Goes Away
  7. Soldier's Last Letter
  8. The Only Trouble with Me
  9. Make Believe
  10. Big Time Annie's Square
  11. You're the Only Girl in the Game
  12. The Conversion of Ronnie Jones
  13. Carolyn
  14. It's Great to Be Alive
  15. Someday We'll Look Back
  16. Somewhere in Between
  17. My Heart Would Know
  18. Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)
  19. Goodbye Comes Hard for Me
  20. The Man Who Picked the Wildwood Flower
  21. You Don't Love Me (But I'll Always Care)
  22. This Cold War with You
  23. Irma Jackson
  24. Recitation: The Proudest Fiddle in the World (A Maiden's Prayer)
  25. Turnin' off a Memory
  26. Grandma Harp

Disc 3

  1. They're Tearin' the Labor Camps Down
  2. Bill Woods from Bakersfield
  3. Old Doc Brown
  4. A Shoulder to Cry On
  5. The Funeral
  6. Bring It on Down to My House, Honey
  7. Combine Blues
  8. Blues Stay Away from Me
  9. Tired of Your Understanding Ways
  10. Hag's Dixie Blues #2
  11. I Ain't Got Nobody (And Nobody Cares for Me)
  12. Moanin' the Blues
  13. Don't Let the Deal Go Down
  14. Stingeree
  15. Lovesick Blues
  16. Blues for Dixie
  17. I Forget You Every Day
  18. A Shoulder to Cry On
  19. I Know an Ending When It Comes
  20. Dad's Old Fiddle
  21. I'm a White Boy
  22. I Wonder Where I'll Find You at Tonight
  23. My Woman Keeps Lovin' Her Man
  24. It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)
  25. Somewhere to Come When It Rains
  26. My Woman Keeps Lovin' Her Man

Disc 4

  1. I Wonder If They Ever Think of Me
  2. To Each His Own
  3. I Wonder What She'll Think About Me Leaving
  4. I'm an Old, Old Man (Tryin' to Live While I Can)
  5. I'd Never Told on You
  6. I Wonder If They Ever Think of Me
  7. I Forget You Every Day
  8. Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)
  9. If We Make It Through December
  10. I'll Break out Tonight
  11. Love and Honor Never Crossed Your Mind
  12. This Is the Song We Sing
  13. There's Just One Way
  14. The Emptiest Arms in the World
  15. Come on into My Arms
  16. Radiator Man from Wasco
  17. Uncle Lem
  18. Daddy Won't Be Home Again for Christmas
  19. Bobby Wants a Puppy for Christmas
  20. Silent Night
  21. Winter Wonderland
  22. White Christmas
  23. Silver Bells
  24. Jingle Bells
  25. Grandma's Homemade Christmas Card
  26. Santa Claus and Popcorn

Disc 5

  1. White Man Singin' the Blues
  2. Better off When I Was Hungry
  3. Things Aren't Funny Anymore
  4. That's the Way Love Goes
  5. Got a Leter from My Kid Today
  6. Honky Tonk Night Time Man
  7. A Man's Got to Give Up a Lot
  8. The Girl Who Made Me Laugh
  9. No More Trains to Ride
  10. Holding Things Together
  11. So Long Train Whistle
  12. September in Miami
  13. A King Without a Queen
  14. It Don't Bother Me
  15. Travelin'
  16. Don't Give Up on Me
  17. Here in 'Frisco
  18. Railroad Lady
  19. Old Man from the Mountain
  20. Mirrors Don't Lie
  21. Movin' On
  22. The Seeker
  23. Kentucky Gambler
  24. You'll Always Be Special to Me
  25. Life's Like Poetry
  26. I've Got a Darlin' (For a Wife)
  27. These Mem'ries We're Making Tonight
  28. The Hobo
  29. The Coming and the Going of the Trains
  30. My Love Affair with Trains
  31. The Silver Ghost

Disc 6

  1. Where Have All the Hobos Gone
  2. I Won't Give Up My Train
  3. Union Station
  4. When My Last Song Is Sung
  5. I've Got a Yearning
  6. Always Wanting You
  7. Nothin's Worse Than Losing
  8. Colorado
  9. The Roots of My Raising
  10. Living with the Shades Pulled Down
  11. After Loving You
  12. Cotton Patch Blues
  13. Runnin' Kind
  14. Walk on the Outside
  15. Let's Stop Pretending (Dirty Old Hat Band)
  16. Right or Wrong
  17. It's All in the Movies
  18. The Way It Was in '51
  19. Goodbye Lefty
  20. I Never Go Around Mirrors
  21. Am I Standing in Your Way?
  22. A Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today
  23. The Waltz You Saved for Me
  24. Cherokee Maiden
  25. What Have You Got Planned Tonight, Diana
  26. Here Comes the Freedom Train
  27. Campaign of '76

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Merle Haggard   Primary Artist,Fiddle,Guitar,Leader,Vocals,Narrator,Interviewee
Carter Family   Vocals
Johnny Gimble   Fiddle,Guitar,Interviewee
Dolly Parton   Vocals
Johnnie Lee Wills   Banjo
James Burton   Dobro,Electric Guitar,Interviewee
Stan Farlow   Track Performer
David Gates   Guitar,Leader
Jim Glaser   Choir, Chorus
Chubby Wise   Fiddle
Anita Carter   Vocals
Gordon Terry   Fiddle
Martin Katahn   Violin
Jim Gordon   Drums
Red Simpson   Interviewee
Mother Maybelle Carter   Vocals
Biff Adam   Drums,Leader,Interviewee
Byron Bach   Violin
Earl Poole Ball   Piano
Chuck Berghofer   Bass
Roy Edward Burris   Drums
Roy Caton   Trumpet
Glen D. Hardin   Piano,Leader
Dolores Edgin   Choir, Chorus
Virgil Evans   Trumpet
Sam Goldstein   Drums
Carl Gorodetzky   Violin
Norm Hamlet   Dobro,Steel Guitar,Leader,Interviewee
Buddy Harman   Drums
Herman Harper   Vocals
Glenn Keener   Guitar
Don Markham   Saxophone
Laverna Moore   Choir, Chorus
Tommy Morgan   Harmonica
Bonnie Owens   Leader,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Jody Payne   Guitar
Ronnie Reno   Guitar,Vocals
Hargus "Pig" Robbins   Piano,Keyboards
Jerry Rosa   Trombone
Moe Schneider   Trombone
Jerry Shook   Guitar
Ray Siegel   Bass
Gordon Stoker   Choir, Chorus
Henry Strzelecki   Bass
Gary VanOsdale   Viola
David Vanderkooi   Cello
Redd Volkaert   Interviewee
Jerry Whitehurst   Piano
John C. Williams   Bass
Joe Zinkan   Bass
Roy Huskey   Bass
Steve Pierce   Choir Director
William Puett   Clarinet,Horn,Tenor Saxophone
Dennis Hromek   Bass,Leader,Vocals
William Armstrong   Fiddle
Leon Chase Copeland   Bass,Leader
Helen Carter   Vocals
Jerry Reed Hubbard   Guitar
Gene Price   Bass
James Capps   Guitar
Bobby Wayne   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Leader,Vocal Harmony
William Edward "Billy" Liebert   Piano
George French   Piano,Leader
Robert C. Thompson   Guitar
Bill Walker   Leader
Richard Farrell Morris   Chimes,Drums,Bells,Vibes
Joseph T. Babcock   Choir, Chorus
Harold Lee "Curly" Chalker   Steel Guitar
June Evelyn Page   Choir, Chorus
Ronald James "Jim" Horn   Saxophone
Albert "Al Bruno" Bruneau   Guitar
Jerry "Chip Young" Stembridge   Guitar
James Holley   Fiddle
William Ellsworth "Alex" Brashear   Trumpet
Hollis R. "Red Lane" DeLaughter   Guitar
David Carroll Kirby   Guitar
Johnny Meeks   Bass,Leader
Tommy Ash   Drums
Jerry Atembridge   Track Performer
Dorothy Deleonnibus   Choir, Chorus
Dixieland Express   Track Performer
James Paul Haber   Track Performer
J.L. Hicks   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Little Jimmy Dickens   Composer
Lefty Frizzell   Composer
Merle Haggard   Composer,Author
Dolly Parton   Composer
Floyd Tillman   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
Irving Mills   Composer
Tommy Collins   Composer
Leon Payne   Composer
Cindy Walker   Composer
Red Simpson   Composer
Earl Poole Ball   Producer
Hank Cochran   Composer
Cliff Friend   Composer
Henry Glover   Composer
Frank Jones   Producer
Dave Kirby   Composer
John McCormick   Contributor
Roy Nichols   Composer
A.L. Owens   Composer
Wayne Raney   Composer
Ronnie Reno   Composer
George Richey   Producer
Sanger D. Schafer   Composer
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   Composer
Mark Yeary   Composer
Deke Dickerson   Biographical Notes
Fuzzy Owen   Composer
Dale Hampton   Contributor
Marcia Nichols   Composer
Alton Delmore   Composer
Sterling Whipple   Composer
Jimmy Work   Composer
Gene Bowen   Contributor
R.A. Andreas   Illustrations
Richard Weize   Reissue Producer,Tape Research
Eddie Burris   Composer
Holger Von Bargen   Art Direction
Stephen H. Lemberg   Composer
Lou Wayne   Composer
Wolfgang Taubenauer   Artwork
Traditional   Composer
Bill Walker   Arranger
Erich Hülsenbeck   Photo Scanning
Dean Holloway   Composer
Andreas Merck   Photo Scanning
O.W. Mayo   Composer
Glenn Martin   Composer
Kenneth Hunt   Composer

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