Merle Haggard & the Strangers

Introducing My Friends, the Strangers

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The second all-instrumental effort by Merle Haggard and the Strangers is as enjoyable as the first, featuring a selection of western swing, honky tonk, and Bakersfield instruments that both swing and rock with ease. Though lead guitarist Roy Nichols and steel guitarist Norm Hamlet remain from the classic incarnation of the Strangers, the rhythm section has been reworked; it now features drummer Biff Adam, bassist Dennis Hromek and rhythm guitarist Bobby Wayner, all excellent musicians in their own right. Most of the album is comprised of Nichols and Hamlet collaborations, but the songs that truly stand out are Nichols' jaunty instrumental "Street Singer" and Haggard's "Workin' Man Blues," which also happens to be the only vocal on the LP.

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