I'm a Lonesome Fugitive/Branded Man

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Merle Haggard's third and fourth studio albums, respectively, I'm a Lonesome Fugitive and Branded Man, find the rising former San Quentin inmate asserting his own personality more forcefully. Third time proved the charm for Hag, who replaced his departing guitarist, the outstanding Roy Nichols, with two formidable pickers, James Burton and Glen Campbell, and brought to vibrant life this selection of mostly original songs. Although he didn't write "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive," Haggard was so deep into the character he effectively made the song his own. This spare, haunted country lament -- radically altered from the pop-inflected treatment it had been given in an earlier ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Merle Haggard's third and fourth studio albums, respectively, I'm a Lonesome Fugitive and Branded Man, find the rising former San Quentin inmate asserting his own personality more forcefully. Third time proved the charm for Hag, who replaced his departing guitarist, the outstanding Roy Nichols, with two formidable pickers, James Burton and Glen Campbell, and brought to vibrant life this selection of mostly original songs. Although he didn't write "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive," Haggard was so deep into the character he effectively made the song his own. This spare, haunted country lament -- radically altered from the pop-inflected treatment it had been given in an earlier unreleased version (available as a bonus track on the Strangers/Swinging Doors and the Bottle Let Me Down reissue in this same series) -- was Hag's first No. 1 country single. Vocally Merle had dispensed with his Marty Robbins affectations and settled into a rich high baritone, an instrument of remarkable clarity and emotion, and eschewed the strings of earlier albums in favor of Ralph Mooney's robust pedal steel musings. The approach throughout both albums is straight, hard country, albeit with a tender underbelly in stirring tear-jerkers such as "Go Home" and the wrenching honky-tonk weeper "House of Memories." The title cut from Branded Man is Hag's sequel to "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive" and his first self-penned song to top the country chart -- echoing its antecedent, it stands toe-to-toe with the original as a classic of its kind (and take note of his adoption of George Jones–style phrasing). Fugitive also contains Merle's first issued cover of a Jimmie Rodgers song ("My Rough and Rowdy Way"), anticipating an entire album of Singing Brakeman songs a couple of years later, and a rather overt tribute to fellow Bakersfield trailblazer Buck Owens in the jaunty "Mixed Up Mess of a Heart," featuring Glen Campbell and Merle doing their best Don Rich–Buck Owens vocal impersonations on the choruses. Assured and rich in content and character, these albums mark the moment when Merle Haggard started pulling away from the pack en route to country's pantheon.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/21/2006
  • Label: Capitol
  • UPC: 094634479424
  • Catalog Number: 44794
  • Sales rank: 71,588

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Merle Haggard Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Merle Haggard Composer
Casey Anderson Composer
Tommy Collins Composer
Red Simpson Composer
Hank Cochran Composer
Randy LeRoy Remastering
Bonnie Owens Composer
Kay Adams Composer
Liz Anderson Composer
Elsie McWilliams Composer
Vern Stovall Composer
Bobby George Composer
Chris Clough Reissue Producer
Howard Kim Reissue Design
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