Merle Haggard

Roots of My Raising [Delta Compilation]

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This 10-song set is a workmanlike overview of some of the basic elements of Merle Haggard's songwriting: there are sentimental songs like "The Roots of My Raising"; the double-edged romance of songs like "It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)"; outlaw songs like "Rambling Fever"; and rollicking barroom songs like "It's Been a Great Afternoon." Haggard's way with a turn of phrase is very much in evidence on "I'm Always on a Mountain When I Fall," while his unexpectedly romantic side is displayed to good effect on the set's opener, "Always Wanting You."

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