Merle Haggard & the Strangers

The Best of Merle Haggard [Capitol 1968]

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As the first Haggard greatest hits collection ever released, The Best of Merle Haggard is quite good, hitting all the major points ("I'm a Lonesome Fugitive," "I Threw Away the Rose," "Swinging Doors," "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers," "Sing Me Back Home," "Branded Man," "The Bottle Let Me Down," "Sam Hill"), but it does leave off a few hits for album cuts like "House of Memories," "Shade Tree (Fix-It Man)," and "High On A Hilltop," which are all good but not quite as strong as the singles. Nevertheless, the LP functions as a fine introduction to Hag's early career. However, it has been replaced by better, more thorough compilations.

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