Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard Presents His 30th Album

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In 2004, Shania Twain released a "Greatest Hits" after making four albums between 1993 and 2002. Anyone wanting a perspective on how the music business has changed since the 1960s and '70s (especially as far as country music is concerned) should stack those figures against Merle Haggard's early output: he released his first album in 1965, and dropped Merle Haggard Presents His 30th Album in 1974. And yes, he really did put out 30 LPs during those nine years, and while His 30th Album is a solid piece of work, the album doesn't sound as if Haggard intended to make this LP into an event -- this is pretty much what one would expect from a Merle Haggard album at the time. Hag drops in a few excellent songs ("Things Aren't Funny Anymore," "Don't Give Up on Me," and "Holding Things Together") alongside a bunch of good ones, and mixes up some tough, funny honky tonk sides ("Old Man from the Mountain," "Honky Tonk Night Time Man," and "It Don't Bother Me") with more heartfelt themes ( "The Girl Who Made Me Laugh" and "White Man Singin' the Blues"). If Merle Haggard didn't come up with a masterpiece for his 30th album, you could argue he didn't have to -- he made consistently stronger albums than most of his contemporaries in country music, and he was still doing that 30 LPs and nine years into his recording career, and that in itself is a pretty impressive accomplishment.

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