Merle Haggard

The Complete '60s Capitol Singles

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Merle Haggard's Capitol recordings have been anthologized countless times so it could stand to reason there isn't much use for another CD of Hag's '60s sides. That assumption is decidedly wrong. Omnivore's 2013 set, The Complete '60s Capitol Singles, is the first compilation to present nothing but the A- and B-sides from Hag's '60s Capitol singles. After 1965's "Strangers," every single Merle released in the '60s apart from 1967's self-mythologizing "Someone Told My Story" reached the Billboard Country Top 10, constituting one of the great runs in country music, a run not diminished by the presence of the single's flipsides, which are sturdy songs cut from the same cloth as the A-side. By setting the parameters at Capitol, several of Merle's earliest hits are absent -- "Sing a Sad Song," "Sam Hill," and "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers" were all released on the Californian independent label Tally, so they're not here -- and while they’re missed, The Complete '60s Capitol Singles does offer something no other Haggard compilation has: each of these songs is presented in their original mono mixes, so this replicates how Merle Haggard would have been heard on the radio and on jukeboxes across America. This is how Merle Haggard sounded in the '60s, when he catapulted from Bakersfield to the top of the charts, defining the sound of country music in the latter half of the decade, and by focusing intently on Haggard's legacy-creating hot streak, this Omnivore collection re-creates the sound and feel of Merle at his peak, so it's valuable even for those who already have this material elsewhere, whether it's in career-spanning compilations or Bear Family's in-depth exploration of these years.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:02
2 2:19
3 2:10
4 2:41
5 2:53
6 2:19
7 2:47
8 2:22
9 2:56
10 2:34
11 3:22
12 2:37
13 3:07
14 2:21
15 2:48
16 2:41
17 2:06
18 2:23
19 2:12
20 2:47
21 2:47
22 2:59
23 3:31
24 2:52
25 2:35
26 2:44
27 2:44
28 2:57
blue highlight denotes track pick