Merle Haggard

Goin' Home for Christmas

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Merle Haggard's contribution to the holiday season is a generally festive affair. He does a creditable version of Elvis's "Blue Christmas" and performs manfully on standards like "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town." But this wouldn't be a Haggard album without songs about the holiday's less cheerful aspects, and so there's also "If We Make It Through December," about being laid off at Christmas, and the tearful "Daddy Won't Be Home Again For Christmas," about an absent father who's either sick or in jail. Mostly though, Haggard is an unexpectedly sensitive interpreter of these seasonal favorites.

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