The Buckaroos

Songs of Merle Haggard

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The Songs of Merle Haggard finds the Buckaroos softening their approach, a shift emphasized by organs or pianos tinkling out the melodies and by the warm, cooing vocals on the choruses. Nominally, this is country, but in practice this is straight-up easy listening, something that's much, much closer to Floyd Cramer or the Sandpipers than Merle Haggard & the Strangers. That means this LP isn't a great place to hear the Buckaroos just play, as it contains very little of their lean hard-driving strengths, and yet that's also the charm of the album: it's a shag-carpeted, wide-collared curio of its time.