Among the many highlights of Merle Haggard's career, his 1977 to 1981 tenure at MCA Records certainly ranks toward the top. This five-year stretch produced ten Top 10 hits and eight great albums, including two hits packages. The first of the hits sets, GREATEST HITS, includes most of Haggard's chart singles. HIS BEST collects a few chart hits along with album tracks that have become staples of Haggard's stage repertoire.
Merle Haggard has always had a knack for drinking songs, and some of his strongest appear on HIS BEST. "I Don't Want To Sober Up Tonight" is a bluesy twist on a theme Haggard has visited many times, notably on "I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink" (which appears on GREATEST HITS). "Back To The Barrooms" brings to mind the 1966 hit "Swinging Doors" and "Make Up and Faded Blue Jeans" may be the best country song ever about 'beer goggles.' Other highlights include "No One To Sing For (But The Band)," which simply and effectively captures the loneliness of life as a touring musician, and "Leonard," which tells the life story of Haggard's Bakersfield buddy Tommy Collins.