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Merle Haggard Dies at 79


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I just read that and was actually coming on here to post about it.  I am thoroughly bummed.  I think he was my favorite of his group/genre of Country music - even edging out the great Johnny Cash.  In fact, he was one of my favorite singers of any genre, period.  Loved his voice.  I got to see him in concert a few years back along with Willie Nelson and Ray Price on their 'Last of the Breed' tour.

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I just read that and was actually coming on here to post about it.  I am thoroughly bummed.  I think he was my favorite of his group/genre of Country music - even edging out the great Johnny Cash.  In fact, he was one of my favorite singers of any genre, period.  Loved his voice.  I got to see him in concert a few years back along with Willie Nelson and Ray Price on their 'Last of the Breed' tour.

 

 

I agree I think he is one of the greatest of all time.  I have a bunch of old records copied to digital files that I love listening too.  The white noise transferred, it feels like I'm a kid listening with my dad.  Sad day for sure

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One of my favorites...

 

 

I was going to bring up his impersonations.  I recently watched on YouTube a clip from an old 'country music talk show' type thing where Marty Robbins (one of my other, favorite singers of any genre, ever, period) and Merle Haggard were both on there and the Hag did his Marty Robbins impersonation.  Robbins was so good natured about it that he let Haggard wear his jacket for the impersonation.  It seems that, before doing his impersonation of Marty Robbins during concerts, Haggard often said something to the effect of 'this is one of my favorite singers so I really hope I don't screw this up.'

 

In another YouTube clip from another show, Haggard talked about being in a hotel room and getting a call from his then wife who called to tell him that Johnny Cash had just called their house hoping to talk to Merle.  As he was expecting the call from Cash, when the phone range Haggard answered in a dead-on impression of Cash (which he demonstrated) and said one of Cash's signature lines, "Hello.  I'm Johnny Cash."  Haggard said that Cash's response was, "That's pretty good, Haggard." 

 

I think those sorts of things - the off-stage camaraderie and joking that went on between a lot of those guys - is part of what made Country music of that era so enjoyable, especially the so-called 'Outlaw' Country.  Apparently, George Jones and Merle Haggard were really good friends.  To me, it was all those behind the scenes, real life interactions that made 'celebrities' like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and others seem more relateable, more like you and me.  For the most part, they came across as just people who liked having a good time, made their living with music and happened to be very famous for it.  They definitely had their faults - and often sang about them - but they just seemed so much more 'real' than the cookie cutter, bubble-gum country crap that, IMO, really took hold because of Garth Brooks ( :puke:) and has only gotten worse since then (although there are at least some contemporary folks trying to buck that trend - people like Jamey Johnson and so on.)

Edited by JAB
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I was going to bring up his impersonations.  I recently watched on YouTube a clip from an old 'country music talk show' type thing where Marty Robbins (one of my other, favorite singers of any genre, ever, period) and Merle Haggard were both on there and the Hag did his Marty Robbins impersonation.  Robbins was so good natured about it that he let Haggard wear his jacket for the impersonation.  It seems that, before doing his impersonation of Marty Robbins during concerts, Haggard often said something to the effect of 'this is one of my favorite singers so I really hope I don't screw this up.'

 

In another YouTube clip from another show, Haggard talked about being in a hotel room and getting a call from his then wife who called to tell him that Johnny Cash had just called their house hoping to talk to Merle.  As he was expecting the call from Cash, when the phone range Haggard answered in a dead-on impression of Cash (which he demonstrated) and said one of Cash's signature lines, "Hello.  I'm Johnny Cash."  Haggard said that Cash's response was, "That's pretty good, Haggard." 

 

I think those sorts of things - the off-stage camaraderie and joking that went on between a lot of those guys - is part of what made Country music of that era so enjoyable, especially the so-called 'Outlaw' Country.  Apparently, George Jones and Merle Haggard were really good friends.  To me, it was all those behind the scenes, real life interactions that made 'celebrities' like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and others seem more relateable, more like you and me.  For the most part, they came across as just people who liked having a good time, made their living with music and happened to be very famous for it.  They definitely had their faults - and often sang about them - but they just seemed so much more 'real' than the cookie cutter, bubble-gum country crap that, IMO, really took hold because of Garth Brooks ( :puke:) and has only gotten worse since then (although there are at least some contemporary folks trying to buck that trend - people like Jamey Johnson and so on.)

George Jones and Merle were really really good friends. I've heard that my whole life.

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Rest in Peace Mr Haggert. Another great singer song writer of my younger years has moved on leaving just a few left. It is fact no one lives forever but their legacies do and he has a great legacy we old guys can continue to enjoy. Kris, Willie, Hank Jr. Charlie Daniels and a couple more are the last of a dying breed and when they have gone on Country Music will also be gone and this junk of today will still be just punk junk..............jmho

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He was great. I just did a track for him two weeks ago, where they changed the key on a song he wrote; it didn't have his vocal on it, and I doubt he got one on it before he passed.

 

Back in the 80's, when I was out with Tammy Wynette, we did a bunch of shows with him. She called over the walkie one night to our bus, the radio crackled, "Mikey?" I answered, "Yeah, Tam, whatcha need?" "Would you get my guitar from under the bus and bring it over here to Hag's bus? We're gonna sit and write a while." I said, "Sure, be right there."

 

I walked onto his bus, back to the stateroom, we did our introductions and howdy's, and I saw a Lazy Susan on the table. On it was a selection of ANY "substance" known to man. I looked at it wide eyed, and Merle said to take anything I wanted. I just said, "I'm good... but thanks..."

 

We didn't leave the venue for quite a while...

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