Chicago Wind

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
After a couple of fine largely acoustic and deeply roots-oriented indie albums, Merle Haggard is back where his legend took root, at Capitol Records, and he's lured renowned producer Jimmy Bowen out of retirement for this splendid, easygoing outing, which packs just enough social commentary to let us know the Hag is still keeping his eye on the D.C. follies while he plumbs his soul. Rather than using his road band, Hag and Bowen have assembled some stalwart studio pros to provide the supple instrumental support, planting the music more below the Mason-Dixon Line than in the furious burn of Bakersfield. This suits the sagacious, seasoned Hag just right, as he digs deep ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
After a couple of fine largely acoustic and deeply roots-oriented indie albums, Merle Haggard is back where his legend took root, at Capitol Records, and he's lured renowned producer Jimmy Bowen out of retirement for this splendid, easygoing outing, which packs just enough social commentary to let us know the Hag is still keeping his eye on the D.C. follies while he plumbs his soul. Rather than using his road band, Hag and Bowen have assembled some stalwart studio pros to provide the supple instrumental support, planting the music more below the Mason-Dixon Line than in the furious burn of Bakersfield. This suits the sagacious, seasoned Hag just right, as he digs deep for some stirring reflections on the man he's become and the things he's seen, in some strong new originals and well-chosen covers. A soft acoustic figure recurs and drives a sepia-tinged lament over the loss of his father in "I Still Can't Say Goodbye," while a lilting, tropical riff and gently keening pedal steel line underscore the heartfelt regrets sung to the good woman to whom he paid too little attention, in "What I've Been Meaning to Say." Willie Nelson's yearning country torch song "It Will Always Be" inspires one of the Hag's most intimate vocals, a conversational, soft reading that unearths hidden wells of emotion in Willie's heartfelt insights. Toby Keith stops by for a reflective, philosophical duet on fate's right hand, "Some of Us Fly," and the fightin' side of Hag surfaces on two forceful state-of-the-union messages: the hard-edged "Where's All the Freedom" and a thumping, twang-infused inventory of misplaced priorities, "Rebuild America First." Fully energized and fully in the moment, the Hag's latest communiqué from the heart lets the truth out, and it makes perfect sense.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
It's no secret that Merle Haggard's been on a roll in the 21st century. His independently released albums on Epitaph and Compendium were all acclaimed, and with good reason: Haggard has been the most consistent songwriter and performer country music has ever produced. Check his track record. Chicago Wind marks Hag's return to the majors, for the label he left decades ago, Capitol. Produced by Jimmy Bowen and Mike Post, it features 11 new songs, all but four written by Merle. While he's not using his touring band on this one, the musicians that surround him are Nash Vegas vets, from guitarists Reggie Young and Billy Joe Walker, Jr. to Herb Pedersen and legendary bassist Leland Sklar, just to name a few. Sure, it's slicker, the budget was bigger, and its edges have been rounded, but no more than they were on his Epic records. There's soul in bushels here. And most of it's slow, deliberate and tender. There's a softness in Haggard's gruff delivery that offers the same sensitive poet who recorded songs like "Shopping for Dresses" and "Going Where The Lonely Go." There are two "political" anthems here. "Where's All the Freedom" looks to the past as a way of evaluating the future. While those on the left side of the line of democracy may not agree with all that Haggard puts across in "Where's All the Freedom" and "America First," his questions are poignant, personal and insightful. As a man he has thought deep and hard about the issues he writes about, and as a poet, he states his case without bitterness. The rancor baiting title track is a road song that offers all the sheer loneliness and depth of vision that's made Haggard a songwriter for the people. He communicates simply, succinctly and directly. "What I've Been Meaning to Say" is one of his great love songs that are full of regret, humility, longing and the willingness to admit to being wrong. His cover of Roger Miller's "Leavin's Not the Only Way to Go" is bittersweet, tender and roughly romantic. His read of Willie Nelson's "It Will Always Be" is one of the most haunting songs he's ever recorded. "Some of Us Fly," with Toby Keith, closes the record, and it's a trademark reflection of the journey of all humans through life. Scott Joss' fiddle winds through the melody, anchoring the guitar players inside the heart of the tune, and Hag spins philosophical about the eventual road we all take. Chicago Wind is not the rough and rowdy honky tonk album some fans have been hankering for, but it is a poetic, thoughtful and empathic one that once more displays why Merle Haggard is the living king of country music.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/2005
  • Label: Liberty
  • UPC: 724387492929
  • Catalog Number: 74929

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Merle Haggard Primary Artist, Guitar
Mike Post Guitar, Electric Guitar, fender rhodes, Wurlitzer
Thom Bresh Acoustic Guitar
Shannon Forrest Drums
Scott Joss Fiddle, Mandolin
Don Markham Trumpet
Brent Mason Electric Guitar
Herb Pedersen Banjo, Background Vocals
Michael Rhodes Bass
Billy Joe Walker Jr. Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Biff Watson Acoustic Guitar
Reggie Young Electric Guitar
Leland Sklar Bass
Gabe Witcher Fiddle
John "4 Daddman" Robinson Drums
Doug Colosio Keyboards
Alti Ovarsson Piano
Technical Credits
Merle Haggard Composer
Willie Nelson Composer
Mike Post Arranger, Producer
Jimmy Bowen Producer
Julian King Engineer
Eddy Schreyer Mastering
DeWayne Blackwell Composer
Joanna Carter Art Direction
Michelle Hall Art Direction
Brandon McCormick Programming
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Treat yourself right, You deserve this one!

    Letting Merle tell these stories via his well seasoned voice and Band is a perfect gift for yourself or someone you care about. All the songs are strong and he treats "Willie Nelson's "Always Will Be" with all the TLC he shows any of his own songs. My favorite is 'Still Can't Say Goodbye' and it's one of those songs that make me tear up and enjoy it.
    "Mexico" could be a National Anthem if being relaxed were part of National Anthems. Take a ride with Merle behind the wheel. I promise; you wont regret it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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