Kern River/Amber Waves of Grain

Kern River/Amber Waves of Grain

by Merle Haggard


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This BGO set features remasters from the middle of Merle Haggard's tenure at Epic; both were released in 1985. Kern River is easily the most diverse recording he issued for the label. Though the sad, weary title track is one of the finest country tunes he penned during the 1980s, it's actually an outlier here. There are other ballads, but the emphasis on the material leans more toward uptempo numbers and his particular take on Western swing and jazz, as evidenced by "I Wonder Where I'll Find You Tonight," "The Old Watermill," and a cover of Louis Armstrong's "Big Butter and Egg Man." Amber Waves of Grain is a live date, cut during shows at the Holiday Theater in Merrillville, Indiana and the Bob Devaney Sports Complex in Lincoln, Nebraska. Both shows were tributes to American farmers and all of the album's original royalties were donated to farm-oriented charities and aid organizations. Musically, it falls into the trap of a lot of Haggard's post-1972 concert offerings. It's a mixed, uneven bag. The title track is one of a number of patriotic tunes here, though this is one of his particularly jingoistic ones. To boot, rather than fire up the base, it sounds like an elegy. Other patriotic tunes here include "American Waltz" and "I Wish Things Were Simple Again," which feels like a lackluster sequel to "Are the Good Times Really Over for Good." The band kicks it, though, particularly on the smattering of hits that include fine medleys of "Tulare Dust/Mama Tried," a brief sequel entitled "The Okie from Muskogee's Comin' Home" (a hard-driving country boogie that actually prefaces the original), and "Working Man's Blues/Always Late with Your Kisses."

Product Details

Release Date: 06/15/2010
Label: Bgo - Beat Goes On
UPC: 5017261209351
catalogNumber: 6120935
Rank: 44877

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Merle Haggard   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Tiny Moore   Fiddle,Mandolin
Tammy Wynette   Background Vocals
Grady Martin   Electric Guitar
Bobby Wood   Keyboards
Don Potter   Rhythm Guitar
Biff Adam   Drums
Gary Church   Horn
Janie Fricke   Background Vocals
Hoot Hester   Fiddle
Bill Hullett   Guitar
Don Markham   Horn,Background Vocals
Roy Nichols   Guitar
Clint Strong   Guitar
Mark Yeary   Keyboards
Curtis Young   Background Vocals
Reggie Young   Electric Guitar
Dennis Hromek   Bass,Electric Bass,Background Vocals
Jim Belken   Fiddle
Donna Faye   Background Vocals
Jimmy Belken   Fiddle
Freddie Powers   Rhythm Guitar
Norm Hamlett   Steel Guitar

Technical Credits

Merle Haggard   Composer,Producer
Grady Martin   Producer
Ray Baker   Producer
Don Cobb   Engineer
Gene Eichelberger   Engineer
Frank Dickinson   Engineer
Maurice Hope   Liner Notes
Bob Montgomery   Producer
Venable   Composer
Powers   Composer
Ron "Snake" Reynolds   Engineer
G.S. Martin   Illustrations,Cover Design
Robert Harms   Illustrations,Cover Design

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