Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Continuing its 2006 celebration of Merle Haggard's daunting musical legacy, Capitol Nashville adds a well-considered 26-tune collection that lives up to its billing, as long as everyone agrees that any Hag best-of would have to be a multiple volume set. This disc aspires to be a real overview, supplementing the expected classics Hag cut for Capitol from the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s with selected cuts from other labels. So in addition to stirring Bakersfield Sound bounty such as "Sing Me Back Home," "Mama Tried," "Hungry Eyes," "Workin' Man Blues," "If We Make It Through December," et al., the tune stack includes the quintessential treatment of Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Continuing its 2006 celebration of Merle Haggard's daunting musical legacy, Capitol Nashville adds a well-considered 26-tune collection that lives up to its billing, as long as everyone agrees that any Hag best-of would have to be a multiple volume set. This disc aspires to be a real overview, supplementing the expected classics Hag cut for Capitol from the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s with selected cuts from other labels. So in addition to stirring Bakersfield Sound bounty such as "Sing Me Back Home," "Mama Tried," "Hungry Eyes," "Workin' Man Blues," "If We Make It Through December," et al., the tune stack includes the quintessential treatment of Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho and Lefty," cut with Willie Nelson for Epic in 1982; a rough-hewn duet with Johnny Cash from 2000 on "I'm Leaving Now"; the laid-back "Runaway Mama" from the 2001 tour de force Roots, Volume 1 on the Anti label; and 2005's lilting, atmospheric heartbreaker, "She Ain't Hooked On Me No More," a tough-minded but soft-hearted duet lament with Toby Keith. That's almost 40 years of music, and it's a measure of Hag's commitment to his art that the later tracks find him digging as deeply into his emotional well as do the monuments that established his legend.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
There are perhaps as many as a hundred Merle Haggard compilations out there on labels obscure and well-known. Most of them are crap because they present too few of the great songwriter's works and/or do so in a dodgy manner. Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard, issued by Capitol, isn't one of them. In fact, it just may be the best single-disc representation of the man's music out there. It's true: Capitol released the vast majority of the songs that established Haggard as the true poet of the working man and for starters here, there are 26 cuts on this set. The majority of them come from Capitol of course, but they also chart Haggard's singles on labels like MCA and Epic, as well as his later independent material all the way down to his duet with Toby Keith on "She Ain't Hooked on Me No More" from 2005. The sound is phenomenal, and so is the package, with two sets of liner notes by the venerable Joel Selvin and Haggard's Capitol producer Ken Nelson. There's also a blurb form the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir that murdered a few Haggard tunes back in the day, but don't hold that against him. All the hits are here, from "The Bottle Let Me Down" in 1966 to the killer "Workin' Man Blues" in 1969, to 1973's poignant ballad "If We Make It Through December"; from the Jimmy Bowen-produced "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink" in 1980 to his Columbia period, which nailed down the hits "Big City" in 1982 with Lewis Talley and the classic duets with Willie Nelson "Pancho and Lefty" and Johnny Cash "I'm Leavin' Now", to his own "Runaway Mama" and "That's the News," from 2001 and 2003 respectively. Combine that with the Keith duet and you have literally 40 years of music form the man on a single CD. And yeah, the two legendary redneck stompers, "Okie from Muskogee" and "Fightin' Side of Me" are here too because they had to be, but so is "Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde." This is sure to turn anyone who is curious into a Haggard fan. And for those who have everything, this is just a killer mix. Highly recommended.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/12/2006
  • Label: Capitol
  • UPC: 094636270425
  • Catalog Number: 62704
  • Sales rank: 18,356

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Merle Haggard Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Merle Haggard Composer, Producer
Willie Nelson Producer
Toby Keith Composer, Producer
Jimmy Bowen Producer
Lou Bradley Producer
Roy Edward Burris Composer
Julian King Producer
Chips Moman Producer
Ken Nelson Producer, Liner Notes
Charles Owen Producer
Bonnie Owens Composer
Rick Rubin Producer
James Stroud Producer
Lewis Talley Producer
Townes Van Zandt Composer
Joel Selvin Liner Notes
Tom Recchion Art Direction
Mark Chalecki Mastering
Scotty Emerick Composer
John R. Cash Producer
Dean Holloway Composer
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