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20 Hits, Vol. 2 (Re-Recorded Versions)

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Album Review

Most of Merle Haggard's biggest hits for Capitol Records, classics like "Mama Tried," "Branded Man," "The Bottle Let Me Down," "The Fightin' Side of Me," "Okie from Muskogee," "Hungry Eyes," and "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive," are on the first hits volume, but there are still plenty of Haggard gems on this set, as well, including the brilliant "Today I Started Loving You Again," the wise and comforting "The Roots of My Raising," the poignant "Things Aren't Funny Anymore," the wry "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink," and the quietly desperate (and yet still hopeful) "If We Make It Through December." Listeners should be aware that the versions of these songs presented here are actually re-recordings, but in Haggard's case, it's the song itself that is the star, so there really isn't any kind of quality drop off from the original versions. This guy is the real deal, both as a singer and as a songwriter, and while the biggest songs are on the other disc, well, this one may well be the sleeper of the two.


Born: 06 April 1937 in Oildale, CA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As a performer and a songwriter, Merle Haggard was the most important country artist to emerge in the 1960s, and he became one of the leading figures of the Bakersfield country scene. While his music remained hardcore country, he pushed the boundaries of the music quite far. Like his idol, Bob Wills, his music was a melting pot that drew from all forms of traditional American music -- country, jazz, blues, and folk -- and in the process, developed a distinctive style of his own. As a performer, singer,...
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