A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World (Or, My Salute to Bob Wills)

Merle Haggard / Merle Haggard & the Strangers

  • AllMusic Rating
    10
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World (Or, My Salute to Bob Wills) Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

After releasing his tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, Merle Haggard immediately set about working on a tribute to his other major musical idol, Bob Wills. Haggard learned how to play fiddle and, within a month, he recruited many of the original Playboys to augment the Strangers and began recording the album that became A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player (Or My Salute to Bob Wills). Where Same Train, Different Time was a measured, heartfelt tribute, Best Damn Fiddle Player is a ragged, enthusiastic good time. Haggard, the Strangers, and the Playboys play their hearts out, breathing life into Wills warhorses like "Right or Wrong," "Stay a Little Longer," "Time Changes Everything," and "San Antonio Rose," while bringing attention to lesser-known songs like "Brain Cloudy Blues," "I Knew the Moment I Lost You," and "Old-Fashioned Love." The fact that Western swing re-established itself as a viable country genre after the release of A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player is a testament to the power and charm of this record.

blue highlight denotes track pick