This BGO two-fer collects two of Merle Haggard's finest Capitol-era recordings in excellent remastered sound. This is Merle Haggard the poet, writing and singing out of the direct experience of life -- whether he wrote these songs or not. Sure, "The Fightin' Side of Me" was a follow-up designed to capitalize on "Okie from Muskogee"'s unexpected success, but Hag's lived those words every day since. His political nature and sense of social consciousness about America has always been consistent. There is also a sense of deep conviction in these songs that reflects America at a particular time. The duets record that is presented first showcases not only Bonnie Owens' songs, but her voice as well. The live Fightin' Side of Me set puts the Strangers in the limelight as one of the hottest and tightest bands in country music. This one is well worth having.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek