Merle Haggard

Collection [EMI]

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This particular Merle Haggard double-disc compilation from EMI Australia has its share of problems. The selection of songs appears to emphasize hit singles recorded during Haggard's tenure with Capitol, mixed with a few outstanding album tracks. Seemingly, a few essentials, like "White Line Fever" and "Movin' On," for instance, were bumped in order to make room for the lesser-known material. Consumers buying this package thinking they are purchasing studio recordings should note that almost half of these tracks are taken from the live recordings Okie from Muskogee and The Fightin' Side of Me. In itself, this isn't a problem since the performances are great; however, it would have been appropriate to clearly list them as "live recordings" on the sleeve as a courtesy to the consumer/collector. Pass on this collection and pick up Lonesome Fugitive: The Merle Haggard Anthology (1963-1977) on Razor & Tie.

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