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Number One Songs (Re-Recorded Versions)

Merle Haggard

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Album Review

While it's true that, strictly speaking, all of the Merle Haggard titles included on this Curb compilation reached the number one spot on the Billboard country charts, it is also true that the title and cover are more than a little misleading: none of these versions are original versions, and all of them are re-recorded jobs. Consequently, they all suffer when strictly compared to the singles. That's not to say that Haggard redoing some of his classics is a bad thing; it's not. He changes arrangements only slightly here, but it is quite noticeable to those familiar with his catalog. This is a typical Curb repackage job, offering as little information as possible and not bothering to license the classics as they were first released. Despite a budget price tag, the consumer should be forewarned that this set doesn't hold a candle to any of the many Capitol best-of sets where these tracks appear in their initial incarnations.


Born: April 6, 1937 in Bakersfield, 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 in the '60s. 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...
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