Merle Haggard

40 Greatest Hits

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Though this two-CD set of re-recordings is an unusually extensive survey of Merle Haggard's back catalog of songs, it barely scratches the surface of the singer's remarkable output. Nevertheless, four decades of songs, like his first hit, "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers," the redneck anthem "Okie from Muskogee," and the bleak "If We Make It Through December," as well as barroom classics like "Misery and Gin" and "It's Been a Great Afternoon," are proof that Haggard more than deserves his spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Hag's in great voice, and makes sure to give these songs a different treatment, so for fans who've heard the originals more times than they can count, this is a good place to turn.

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