Merle Haggard

Hurtin'

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Following in the marketing footsteps of Columbia/Legacy's 2000 thematic Johnny Cash releases (Murder, Love, God), Capitol Records gave Merle Haggard's back catalog a similar treatment in 2001 with four separate installments: Hurtin', Drinkin', Prison, and Cheatin'. While it's impossible to narrow Haggard's Hurtin' songs down to ten, the compilers did an admiral job mixing a few of the obvious hits ("Sing a Sad Song," "Silver Wings," and "House of Memories") with similarly themed songs that fell through the cracks -- great tunes but not necessarily hits. The cover art could be a bit snazzier, but still, this is a decent mid-line set. In fact, all four discs are recommended, and as it states on the back cover, "Collect all four and enjoy the pain."

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