Thursday, August 26, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-Merle Haggard
Song:Workin' Man Blues
Album:Hag: The Best Of Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard is one of the all time greats of country music and may be the greatest country music songwriter save Hank Williams. Along with Buck Owens, he was a big part of establishing the Bakersfield Sound. Workin' Man Blues was one of many country music chart toppers. He was born Apr. 6, 1937 in Oildale, CA near Bakersfield. His parents had moved from Oklahoma. His dad died when he was nine years old and Haggard went to juvenile detention for petty larceny. He ran away to Texas in 1951 but returned and was arrested again. He went to prison four times. After his fourth release, he went to a Lefty Frizzell concert and Frizzell had him come on stage to perform. But while Haggard started working on a music career, he was arrested for an attempted robbery of a Bakersfield tavern and was sent to San Quentin for three years. He was even involved in an attempted escape. What turned him around? He saw Johnny Cash perform in San Quentin and after his release, he worked odd jobs while establishing himself in music. While working in Johnny Barnett's band in Bakersfield, Tally Records owner Fuzzy Owen signed him and he recorded for Tally in the mid-60's until Capitol bought out his contract in 1965. The Fugitive was the first of many number one country hits in 1966 including Workin' Man Blues. Okie From Muskogee is probably his most famous song to mainstream fans but Workin' Man Blues is more typical of Haggard's music. He is succcessful because fans relate to his songs. Haggard did some films at the time but mainly he was a very successful recording artist even after leaving Capitol for MCA in 1977. He also had success on Epic in the 80s especially with his duet with Willie Nelson Pancho & Lefty. He has also recorded for Curb, Anti and currently records for Vanguard. This 2006 comp from Capitol is a great intro to his music as it is the only single CD overview of his entire career, not just the Capitol years. And it's cheap. Haggard's latest CD I Am What I Am was released in April. Here's Merle Haggard performing Workin' Man Blues on Austin City Limits 1978.