by Merle Haggard


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In late 1995, Merle Haggard stood on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House, acknowledging the music industry's ovation as he accepted his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. A few months later, however, his next album came out with no fanfare at all. His record company didn't send promotional copies to reviewers until the album had been out for nearly a month, and no advertising or promotion has been devoted to the music. The album artwork and cover reflect this lack of care: the title, 1996, is boxed on the cover like a tomb, exactly like Hag's last set, 1994. What's inside deserves more attention. Recorded in Bakersfield, Haggard's album takes a jaunty yet melancholy look at a middle-aged man's concerns. Not everything works; "Kids Get Lonesome Too" has a grandfatherly sentimentality, but it's not very substantial. The rest carries plenty of meat: "Sin City Blues" bemoans the temptations of New Orleans with Dixieland verve; "Beer Can Hill" is a humorous reminiscence about honky tonkin' in Bakersfiel; and "Untanglin' My Mind" (a hit for co-writer Clint Black) is a textbook example of the difference between the stiff perfection of Nashville over-production and the loose, life-affirming musicianship that Haggard prefers. The album's standout is a cover of Iris Dement's great "No Time to Cry," which Haggard fills with aged, tired wisdom.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/23/1996
Label: Curb Special Markets
UPC: 0715187779624
catalogNumber: 77796
Rank: 105790

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Merle Haggard   Primary Artist,Electric Guitar
John Anderson   Vocals
Buck Owens   Vocals
Johnny Paycheck   Vocals
Dwight Yoakam   Vocals
Iris DeMent   Piano
Bobby Wood   Electric Piano
Dawn Sears   Background Vocals
Biff Adam   Percussion,Drums
Eddie Curtis   Bass
Seymour Duncan   Electric Guitar
Norm Hamlet   Dobro,Steel Guitar
Joe Manuel   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,wah wah guitar
Don Markham   Trumpet,Saxophone,Penny Whistle
Clint Strong   Acoustic Guitar
Mark Yeary   Piano
Tim Howard   Electric Guitar
Leland Sklar   Bass
Abe Manuel   Acoustic Guitar,Fiddle,Percussion,Strings,Accordion,Electric Guitar,Viola,Vocals,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Hilton Jr. Reed   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Jim Belkins   Violin
Terry Hardesty   Acoustic Guitar
Oleg Schramm   Piano
Bob Teague   Vocals

Technical Credits

Merle Haggard   Producer
Lou Bradley   Producer,Engineer
Joe Manuel   Contributor,Tic Tac
Abe Manuel   Producer,Contributor
Jim Belkins   Contributor

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