Merle Haggard

Best of Merle Haggard [Readers Digest]

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This brief budget introduction to Merle Haggard really isn't the best of this American icon's work at all, since it lacks classics of his like "Hungry Eyes," "Mama Tried," "Branded Man," "The Fightin' Side of Me," and the immortal "Okie From Muskogee." That said, Haggard is a remarkably subtle writer, and there are at least two tracks here that can stand eye to eye with the best of his canon, the quietly desperate "If We Make It Through December" and the wise and self-aware "I'm Always on a Mountain When I Fall," both of which help give this compilation an easy, pleasant charm.

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