Categories :

Similar artists

Albums

HI-RES$17.49
CD$11.99

Country - Released July 22, 1996 | Epic - Nashville

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
HI-RES$17.49
CD$12.99

Country - Released June 26, 2015 | Epic - Legacy

Hi-Res

Country - Released January 1, 1996 | Capitol Nashville

Download not available
Merle Haggard is a rarity: a complex artist whose rich scope can accurately be summarized through singles, but who has far more great material than can be fit on one or two discs. Which, of course, makes him the perfect candidate for a box set, and Capitol released the first comprehensive Hag retrospective in 1996 with the four-disc set Down Every Road. Since Haggard has such a rich, consistent body of his work -- the best of his MCA and Epic periods, two eras that are covered here, hold their own next to his seminal Capitol material -- even four discs leave behind many a great song, yet only those who already own all the albums would argue about omissions, because this offers a generous 100 songs, spanning from his earliest work for Talley in the early '60s to his Epic sides of the late '80s, containing all of his big hits and an expert selection of album tracks, such as "Tulare Dust," "Holding Things Together," and "Living With the Shades Pulled Down," that reveal the depth of his music. This is a body of work with few peers in all of popular music -- the variety of styles and sounds, his ease on freewheeling Western swing and plaintive ballads, his inventive, nuanced originals and expert ear for material, his supple voice and underrated guitar playing, and the support from his brilliant band, the Strangers, all add up to one of the greatest catalogs in 20th century music. And while you can get the basics from Razor & Tie's excellent double-disc set The Lonesome Fugitive, only Down Every Road captures the full extent of his gifts, in a way that is compulsively listenable as well. It's not just the perfect Merle Haggard box set, it's one of the greatest box sets ever released as well, since it truly presents all sides of its subject, while offering nothing but sheer pleasure in terms of mere listening. Plus, this is the only place to find some of these great songs, including the aforementioned trio of album tracks, on CD, which makes it necessary for those who already own the albums. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$7.49

Country - Released January 1, 2014 | Capitol Records Nashville

CD$17.99

Country - Released January 1, 2006 | Capitol Nashville

CD$14.99

Country - Released January 1, 2006 | Capitol Nashville

In early 2006, roughly in time for the 40th anniversary of Merle Haggard's debut album, Capitol Nashville launched an ambitious Haggard catalog project, reissuing ten albums as a series of five two-fers, each adorned with bonus tracks. All these albums had been reissued before, either stateside by Capitol or Koch or in the U.K. by EMI or BGO, but they've never have been given such an excellent treatment as they are here. The albums are paired together in logical, chronological order, the 24-bit digital remastering gives these recordings the best sound they've ever had, the front cover artwork is reproduced for each album on a two-fer, and the liner notes are candid and detailed. Dedicated Hag fans certainly have nearly all this material in their collection -- not only have the albums been on CD, but the bonus tracks have by and large appeared on Bear Family's box Untamed Hawk, which chronicled his early work for Capitol, or showed up on Capitol's own box, Down Every Road -- but they still may be tempted by this series, since these discs not only sound and look terrific, but they're also more listenable than any previous CD incarnation of these classic albums. And make no mistake, all ten albums featured in Capitol Nashville's first wave of Haggard reissues in February 2006 are classic albums; some may be a little stronger than others, but there's not a weak one in the bunch, and they all stand as some of the finest music of their time. The fourth of these two-fers pairs his last album of 1968, Mama Tried, plus his first from 1969, Pride in What I Am. Mama Tried has a loose prison theme, with about a third of the album sung from the perspective of a prisoner. Chief among these is Haggard's masterpiece "Mama Tried," a semi-autobiographical tribute to a mother who couldn't steer her son right no matter how hard she tried, but covers of Porter Wagoner's "Green Green Grass of Home" and Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," plus Mel Tillis' "I Could Have Gone Right," also give the album a loose theme, but this is hardly a concept album. The rest of the album contains lean, tough Bakersfield honky tonk like "Little Ole Wine Drinker Me" and an excellent cover of Lefty Frizzell's "Run 'Em Off," plus such bittersweet, folky tunes as a cover of Dolly Parton's "In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)." There are also a number of excellent, often overlooked originals like "I'll Always Know," "The Sunny Side of My Life," and "You'll Never Love Me Now," which illustrate the progression in both Haggard's writing and his music, and help make Mama Tried one of his very best records. As good as Mama Tried is, it's matched by Pride in What I Am. While there are no hits outside of "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am" the album gains considerable strength from its diverse material. The rolling, folk-tinged sound epitomized by the title song is balanced by twangy, spare country and bits of hard honky tonk, blues, and cowboy, not to mention the slyly inventive arrangement on his version of Lefty Frizzell's "It Meant Goodbye to Me When You Said Hello to Him." There are also hints of the direction Hag would take in the near future, including a Jimmie Rodgers song (his tribute to the singing brakeman, Same Train, Different Time, would follow next), and the encroaching celebration of a time passed, through his cover of Red Simpson's "I Think We're Livin' in the Good Old Days." There is another Simpson cover in "Somewhere on Skid Row," but what fuels Pride in What I Am is a selection of graceful, low-key minor masterworks from Haggard himself, who explores gentler territory with "The Day the Rains Came" and "I Can't Hold Myself in Line," while kicking up the tempo with the delightful "I'm Bringin' Home Good News" and lying back with the steady-rolling "I Just Want to Look at You One More Time." None of these may be among his most commonly celebrated songs, but they're all small gems that illustrate what a fine songwriter he is. They also help form the core of this subtly adventurous, rich album that may not be among his flashiest, but is another excellent record by one of the most reliable recording artists in country history. And when it's paired with Mama Tried, it makes for a two-fer that very well may be the strongest disc in Capitol Nashville's initial installment of Haggard reissues. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$11.49

Country - Released January 1, 2002 | Capitol Nashville

For the money, you are not going to find a more definitive Greatest Hits by Merle Haggard. There are 20 cuts on this baby and all of 'em were bona fide hit singles that basically defined the man's well-earned reputation as a great poet of the working class -- not to mention as a country songwriter. Haggard's Epic period may not be here, nor anything from his MCA albums, but it hardly matters because this is one jam-packed set from top to bottom. ~ Thom Jurek
CD$12.99

Country - Released January 1, 2006 | Capitol Nashville

In 1998, EMI released I'm a Lonesome Fugitive/Branded Man, which contained two complete albums -- I'm a Lonesome Fugitive (1967, originally released on Capitol) and Branded Man (1967, originally released on Capitol) -- by Merle Haggard on one compact disc. ~ Jason Birchmeier
HI-RES$17.49
CD$11.99

Country - Released July 10, 2015 | Epic

Hi-Res
That's the Way Love Goes is another decent collection of laid-back ballads that lets Haggard display some of the full range of his vocal talents, from the jazzy pop of "The Last Boat of the Day" to the poignant lyric of "What Am I Gonna Do (With the Rest of My Life)." A cover of Lefty Fizzell's "That's the Way Love Goes" ranks among the great Haggard ballads. ~ Matt Fink
CD$12.99

Country - Released January 1, 2011 | Vanguard Records

Working in Tennessee, Merle Haggard's second album for Vanguard, plays a little slower and softer than 2010’s I Am What I Am, a record where Hag gently dwelled on his mortality. There are times where his age crosses his mind -- particularly on “Sometimes I Dream,” where he casually lists off things that aren’t likely to pass his way again -- but generally, he’s ready to “Laugh It Off” as he gripes about what’s playing on the radio, smokes a little dope, and enjoys playing a little bit of blues as he looks back to the past, even cutting a couple of old favorites (“Cocaine Blues,” “Jackson”) and a new version of “Working Man Blues.” Hag never rushes things, never turns up the volume, his western swing now bearing a closer resemblance to the gentlemanly amiability of Hank Thompson instead of the wild, woolly Bob Wills. He’s proceeding at the pace of a 74-year-old legend with nothing to prove, yet he’s not resting on his laurels, he’s just doing what he’s always done: singing songs so expertly his virtuosity almost goes unnoticed. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
HI-RES$17.49
CD$11.99

Country - Released December 3, 2001 | Epic

Hi-Res
CD$11.49

Country - Released January 1, 2006 | Capitol Nashville

CD$9.99

Country - Released October 10, 2000 | Anti - Epitaph

CD$7.49

Country - Released September 8, 1987 | Geffen* Records

The Way I Am shares many of the same qualities of its predecessor (Serving 190 Proof) and successor (Back to the Barrooms) albums. That is, it's pretty much a straight-ahead honky tonk album that pays little mind to the contemporary trends of the day. Where it differs from Serving 190 Proof or Back to the Barrooms is that the performances are a little inconsistent, as is the material. Still, Hag is a reliable performer in that he always delivers a couple of gems. Here, it's in the form of the title track, Floyd Tillman's "It Makes No Difference Now," and three Ernest Tubb covers ("Take Me Back and Try Me One More Time," "I'll Always Be Glad to Take You Back," and "It's Been So Long, Darlin'"). It's enough to make it worth a listen for hardcore Hag followers, but all others may find it a little bit too uneven. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
CD$11.49

Country - Released January 1, 2001 | Capitol Nashville

Following in the marketing footsteps of Columbia/Legacy's 2000 thematic Johnny Cash releases (Murder, Love, God), Capitol Records gave Merle Haggard's back catalog a similar treatment in 2001 with four separate installments: Hurtin', Drinkin', Prison, and Cheatin'. While it's impossible to narrow Haggard's Hurtin' songs down to ten, the compilers did an admiral job mixing a few of the obvious hits ("Sing a Sad Song," "Silver Wings," and "House of Memories") with similarly themed songs that fell through the cracks -- great tunes but not necessarily hits. The cover art could be a bit snazzier, but still, this is a decent mid-line set. In fact, all four discs are recommended, and as it states on the back cover, "Collect all four and enjoy the pain." ~ Al Campbell
CD$8.99

Country - Released January 1, 2000 | MCA Nashville

Part of Universal's massive 20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection, this 12-song budget set draws on songs from Haggard's tenure with MCA. Highlights include "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink," "From Graceland to the Promised Land," "If We're Not Back in Love by Monday," and "Misery and Gin." A nice little chunk of another interesting part of Hag's career. ~ Cub Koda
CD$11.99

Country - Released October 13, 1987 | Epic - Nashville

CD$8.99

Country - Released January 1, 2001 | Capitol Nashville

Following in the marketing footsteps of Columbia/Legacy's 2000 thematic Johnny Cash releases (Murder, Love, God), Capitol Records gave Merle Haggard's back catalog a similar treatment in 2001 with four separate installments: Hurtin', Drinkin', Prison, and Cheatin'. While it's impossible to narrow Haggard's Cheatin' songs down to ten, the compilers did an admiral job mixing a few of the obvious hits ("High on a Hilltop," "Carolyn," and [RoviLink="MC"]"It's Not Love [But It's Not Bad]"[/RoviLink]) with similarly themed songs that fell through the cracks -- great tunes but not necessarily hits. The cover art could be a bit snazzier, but still, this is a decent mid-line set. In fact, all four discs are recommended, and as it states on the back cover, "Collect all four and enjoy the pain." ~ Al Campbell
CD$12.99

Country - Released January 22, 1985 | Epic

CD$31.99

Country - Released January 1, 2007 | EMI Gold

Artist

Merle Haggard in the magazine