The Troubadour

The Troubadour

by Merle Haggard

CD(Special Packaging)

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After 11 years with Capitol Records, Merle Haggard departed the label for MCA in 1977, kicking off a five-year stint that is by most measures the most turbulent in the singer/songwriter's career. Capitol wasn't the only longtime relationship he left behind as he faced 40. He left Bonnie Owens for Leona Williams, who soon replaced Bonnie as his wife and duet partner. He tentatively began recording in Nashville, where he was convinced to leave behind his road-tested Strangers in favor of studio pros. He suffered a bit of a dry spell as a songwriter, leading him to record beloved covers and questionable new tunes alike. All these ups and downs are evident on 2012's The Troubadour, Bear Family's fourth Merle Haggard box, which chronicles the entirety of those MCA recordings over the course of 111 tracks. Haggard closed his run at MCA in a stronger position than he started and the music here is pretty much the working definition of a transitional period. Hag tries on different sounds and recording styles, rushing out a heartfelt tribute to a departed Elvis Presley, then agreeing to attempt to cash in on the CB radio craze way after the "Convoy" had passed, happily recording a duet with Clint Eastwood for Bronco Billy, grudgingly cutting "If We're Not Back in Love by Monday" -- a plain ripoff of his own "If We Make It Through December" -- but throwing himself into Jimmy Bowen's meticulous production for Serving 190 Proof, where he'd cut no more than one track a day. Serving 190 Proof wound up as one of Haggard's great albums and it's hardly the only highlight from these years. That Elvis Presley tribute is surprising and soulful, Back to the Barrooms is an excellent hard country record, and he wrapped up his time with the rollicking live album Rainbow Stew: Live at Anaheim Stadium. Along the way, he cut a few songs that qualify as Haggard classics -- the gorgeously heartbroken "Misery and Gin" and its defiant counterpart "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink," the moody "I'm Always on the Mountain When I Fall" -- a bunch of strong straight-ahead country, some beautiful neglected gems like the unreleased song that lends its title to this box, a pretty good collection of spiritual tunes dedicated to his mom, plus some flotsam that's interesting as cultural artifacts (that CB single "The Bull and the Beaver"/"I'm Getting High," music for the botched 1981 blockbuster The Legend of the Lone Ranger). By any measure this box is a mixed bag, but it's a fascinating one because it tells a story: at the beginning Merle seems lost but by the time it wraps up, Haggard has regained his voice and authority, weathering his midlife crisis and becoming stronger once again.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/21/2012
Label: Bear Family Germany
UPC: 4000127172501
catalogNumber: 2717250
Rank: 57732


Disc 1

  1. Troubadour
  2. I Think It's Gone Forever
  3. If We're Not Back In Love By Monday
  4. Ramblin' Fever
  5. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
  6. Ghost Story
  7. Set Me Free
  8. Love Somebody To Death
  9. Ain't Your Memory Got No Pride At All
  10. My Love For You
  11. The Last Letter
  12. From Graceland To the Promised Land
  13. Blue Christmas
  14. Are You Lonesome Tonight
  15. In the Ghetto
  16. Don't Be Cruel
  17. Jailhouse Rock
  18. Love Me Tender
  19. That's All Right (Mama)
  20. Heartbreak Hotel
  21. Blue Suede Shoes
  22. Merle's Farewell To Elvis
  23. I'm Always On a Mountain When I Fall
  24. Life of a Rodeo Cowboy
  25. It's Been a Great Afternoon
  26. Love Me When You Can
  27. There Won't Be Another Now
  28. Don't You Ever Get Tired (of Hurting Me)
  29. There Ain't No Good Chain Gang
  30. The Dream
  31. The Immigrant
  32. Mama, I've Got To Go To Memphis

Disc 2

  1. The Bull and the Beaver
  2. I'm Getting High
  3. Red Bandana
  4. Driftwood
  5. Sing a Family Song
  6. Footlights
  7. Got Lonely Too Early This Morning
  8. Heaven Was a Drink of Wine
  9. I Can't Get Away
  10. My Own Kind of Hat
  11. I Didn't Mean To Love You
  12. Roses In the Winter
  13. I Must Have Done Something Bad
  14. The Way I Am
  15. Wake Up
  16. Sky-Bo
  17. No One To Sing For (But the Band)
  18. Remember Me (I'm the One Who Loves You)
  19. Life's Just Not the Way It Used To Be
  20. Where Have You Been
  21. Take Me Back and Try Me One More Time
  22. I'll Always Be Glad To Take You Back
  23. It Makes No Difference Now
  24. It's Been So Long Darlin'
  25. Misery and Gin
  26. Bar Room Buddies
  27. You Babe

Disc 3

  1. My Life's Been Grand
  2. Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa
  3. Love Keeps Hanging On
  4. It's All In the Game
  5. Why Can't I Cry
  6. Bleachers
  7. Love Don't Hurt Every Time
  8. Susie
  9. Pennies From Heaven
  10. Make-Up and Faded Blue Jeans
  11. Ever Changing Woman
  12. Help Save the Wild Life
  13. Leonard
  14. I Don't Want To Sober Up Tonight
  15. Dealing With the Devil
  16. Can't Break the Habit
  17. Lay Your Hands On My Heart
  18. Back To the Barrooms Again
  19. Our Paths May Never Cross
  20. I Don't Have Any More Love Songs
  21. I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink
  22. I Don't Want To Sober Up Tonight
  23. The New Cocaine Blues
  24. Easy Come, Easy Go
  25. Easy Come, Easy Go

Disc 4

  1. When God Comes and Gathers His Jewels
  2. Supper Time
  3. He Walks With Me
  4. Softly and Tenderly
  5. Why Me
  6. Where No One Stands Alone
  7. One Day At a Time
  8. What a Friend We Have In Jesus
  9. Swing Low Sweet Chariot
  10. The Old Rugged Cross
  11. Keep On the Sunny Side
  12. The Fightin' Side of Me
  13. If We Make It Through December
  14. Misery and Gin
  15. I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink
  16. Back To the Barrooms Again
  17. Our Paths May Never Cross
  18. The Running Kind/I'm a Lonesome Fugitive
  19. Rainbow Stew
  20. Blue Yodel #9
  21. Dealing With the Devil
  22. Fiddle Breakdown
  23. Sing Me Back Home
  24. Pearl Beer
  25. The Man In the Mask
  26. The Legend Begins
  27. The Breaking of Silver

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Merle Haggard   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals,Narrator
Buddy Emmons   Dobro,Steel Guitar
Johnny Gimble   Fiddle
Jordanaires   Choir, Chorus
James Burton   Guitar
Phil Baugh   Guitar
Gordon Terry   Fiddle
John Barry   Conductor
Biff Adam   Drums
George Binkley   Strings
Marvin Chantry   Strings
Roy Christensen   Strings
Virginia Christensen   Strings
Ralph Gallant   Drums
Carl Gorodetzky   Strings
John Hobbs   Piano
Thomas "Bunky" Keels   Piano
Jerry Kroon   Drums
Sheldon Kurland   Strings
Don Markham   Trumpet,Saxophone
Laverna Moore   Choir, Chorus
Larry Muhoberac   Keyboards
Roy Nichols   Guitar
Bonnie Owens   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Ronnie Reno   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Eldon Shamblin   Rhythm Guitar
Gary VanOsdale   Strings
Leona Williams   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Mark Yeary   Piano,Keyboards,Electric Piano
Reggie Young   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Dennis Hromek   Bass
Tracy Barton   Bass
Bobby Galardo   Drums
Billy Joe Walker   Guitar
Stephen Dorff   Conductor
Billie "Tiny" Moore   Fiddle
Joe Osborn   Bass
Joe Allen   Bass
James Carlisle Isbell   Drums
Hollis R. "Red Lane" DeLaughter   Guitar
David Carroll Kirby   Guitar
Thomas Grady Martin   Guitar
Steven M. Smith   Strings
Clint Eastwood   Vocals
Murrey M. "Buddy" Harman   Drums
Byron Theodore Bach   Strings
Dorothy S. DeLeonibus   Choir, Chorus
Wilfried Lehmann   Strings
Norman Markham   Steel Guitar
Norman Hamlet   Steel Guitar
Kemo Kemolian   Fiddle,Guitar

Technical Credits

Mac Davis   Composer
Merle Haggard   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Kris Kristofferson   Composer
Eddy Raven   Composer
Jeannie C. Riley   Composer
Jimmie Rodgers   Composer
Floyd Tillman   Composer
Carl Perkins   Composer
Elvis Presley   Composer
Casey Anderson   Composer
Bill Justis   String Arrangements
Jerry Leiber   Composer
Ian Sutherland   Composer
Stuart Hamblen   Composer
Ernest Tubb   Composer
Milton Brown   Composer
Otis Blackwell   Composer
Gordon Terry   Composer
John Barry   Composer,Producer
Jimmy Bowen   Producer,Source Material
Johnny Burke   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
Hank Cochran   Composer,Producer
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup   Composer
Johnny Durrill   Composer
Todd Everett   Source Material
Don Gant   Producer
Tommy "Snuff" Garrett   Producer
Peter Guralnick   Source Material
Chuck Howard   Composer
Bucky Jones   Composer
Dave Kirby   Composer
Red Lane   Composer
Ken Nelson   Producer,Source Material
Dean Pitchford   Composer
Curly Putman   Composer
Sanger D. Schafer   Composer
Jeannie Seely   Composer
Carl Sigman   Composer
Mike Stoller   Composer
Sonny Throckmorton   Composer
Roy Turk   Composer
Porter Wagoner   Producer
Marijohn Wilkin   Composer
Hank Williams   Composer
Hank Williams   Composer
Leona Williams   Composer,Illustrations
Gene Sullivan   Composer
Daniel Cooper   Source Material
Deke Dickerson   Source Material
Liz Anderson   Composer
Mae Boren Axton   Composer
Cliff Crofford   Composer
Rex Griffin   Composer
Wiley Walker   Composer
Joel Whitburn   Source Material
Leverett   Illustrations
R.A. Andreas   Illustrations
Richard Weize   Reissue Producer,Tape Research
Dave Samuelson   Liner Notes,Reissue Producer
Ira F. Stanphill   Composer
Tommy Durden   Composer
Lou Handman   Composer
Vera Matson   Composer
Mosie Lister   Composer
Hal Bynum   Composer
Joseph Scriven   Composer
George Bennard   Composer
Charles C. Converse   Composer
Don Cusic   Source Material
Stephen Dorff   Arranger,Composer
Tex Whitson   Arranger
Kurt Wolff   Source Material
Arthur Johnson   Composer
Bob Allen   Source Material
Joe Allen   Composer
Royce Porter   Composer
Andreas Merck   Photo Scanning
Will Thompson   Composer
Brenda Colladay   Illustrations
Glenn Martin   Composer
Jay Johnson   Composer
Patrick Carr   Source Material
Alanna Nash   Source Material
Mychael Gerstenberger   Artwork
Charles G. Dawes   Composer
Charles "Fuzzy" Owen   Producer
Snuff Garrett   Composer,Producer
Bill Hayes   Composer
Sam Malbuch   Photo Restoration
Tim Davis   Photo Scanning
Frank Albano   String Arrangements
Alice Foster   Source Material
Paul Hamphill   Source Material
Judy Hedy   Source Material
Jim Jerome   Source Material
Gerald W. Haslam   Source Material

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