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4.8 out of 5 stars
The Very Best Of Merle Haggard
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
This 2-disc Merle Haggard collection comprises 3 of the 10 sides initially released by the small independent Tally label, and 45 US Capitol recordings from the period 1965 to 1977/8.

These Tally sides became his first 3 Billboard country chart hits: 'Sing A Sad Song' reached no. 19 in early 1964; 'Just Between The Two Of Us', with Bonnie Owens, reached no. 28; and '(All My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers' went to no. 10.

Disc 1 contains 24 of Merle's Billboard country no. 1 hits on Capitol, whilst Disc 2 has the 3 Tally hits, 13 further Capitol top twenty hits, 2 'A' sides that didn't chart, 4 'B' sides (including 'Sidewalks Of Chicago' and 'Silver Wings'), and a couple of album tracks - Tommy Collins' 'High On A Hilltop', and 'I'll Leave The Bottle At The Bar' (which were not released on singles, as far as I am aware).

Most of Merle's best and best-known songs are here, of which he composed 30 or so - the songs that made him a major country music star in the '60s.

Yep, and not bad at that: pretty much the 'very best of' from the years 1962 to 1978, before he moved on to MCA and later Epic. The only really well-known song from that time that is curiously missing seems to be 'Today I Started Loving You Again', originally the 'B' side of 'The Legend Of Bonnie And Clyde' from 1968 - which is included here .

That one is available on various other compilations, however, including last years 'Hag - The Best Of Merle Haggard'. If you bought that one, though, you will already have 15 of these 48 tracks.

Still, this really is an excellent collection, and even if you do have 'Hag..' - as I do, it's well worth the modest price.

A useful 12-page booklet is included containing a brief overview of Merle's long career, and the song composer credits.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This two CD set is a superb introduction to Merle Haggard and represents an absolute bargain. If you are a fan of the Bakersfield sound then look no further. I was astonished at the consistency and brilliance of the material included here. With excellent backing from his band the Strangers; sometimes including the great James Burton on guitar - Merle keeps it simple and the results include some of country music's greatest moments. There can be few better songwriters in any genre. Haggard delivers an abundance of great records here; with customary sadness, beauty and melancholy. Each track sung as brilliantly as ever. You can almost taste the whiskey and smell the smoke from the crowded bar-room. Five stars out of five.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2009
This double CD incorporates all the great tracks that I have loved listening to and playing over the last few decades, and is more than just a "Best of" compilation. If I had to list my favourite Merle Haggard tracks, the list would be longer than this - the man is such a great songwriter and singer, and so many others have been inspired and influenced by his work, that it is hard to pick out a short list. This compilation will live in the car, and get played on all those long drives home, late night trips, or just cruising around when I need a little company. I salute the selector who decided on the content and running order of the CDs, he had a really hard job, but did a good one here - obviously a great fan too. For the very reasonable cost of this package, this should be in every Hag fan or country nusic fans collection. Hag is the reason I have stayed a Country musician for so long - whenever I get tired of some of the current pretentious or rowdy offerings, I just put Hag on and soak up the quality, and the world seems a better place. Just try it!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2011
Look no further than this great-value collection of Merle's best recordings. I say that with some conviction because, in my opinion, he has merely "marked time" since the early 1980's. Singing as well as ever but the recorded material has been, with a few exceptions, pretty awful, bland, all sound-the-same, forgettable dross. The only exceptional album since the mid 1980s has been the 1999 re-recordings of the great and memorable songs on this album. That says it all, really. These are still the most requested songs at his concerts and with good reason.All are meaningful, memorable and sincerely sung in that slightly croaky, touch of the mournful voice with never the hint of straying off key or failing to hit the right note.
A "must have" album for his hordes of fans and anyone who wants to hear how the many facets of true country music should sound.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2010
To all country fans, get this cd (from amazon)great price..great cd...fast delivery...I have been a Merle Haggard fan for years, got a few LP,s but no cd,s until now, 24 great tracks incl Sing me back home,Branded man,Silver wings,to be honest all of them..Must get more!...Thank,s Amazon..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2012
Im geve 8 Stars for this CD with Two Disc 24 song is the beast of Merle Haggard I like to play.
[Mervyn Catley see all my reviews 22nd April 2012].
This review is from: The Very Best of Merle Haggard A Good Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today. This CD I got it From Amazon are very good to me nervy let me down yet,that the I like it. It like Merle Haggard Singing (THE BOTTLE LET ME DOWN).

Very good collection of Merle's best recordings. I say that with some conviction because, in my opinion, he has merely "marked time" since the early 1980's.
Singing as well as ever but the recorded material has been, with a few exceptions, pretty awful, bland, all sound-the-same, forgettable dross.
The only exceptional album since the mid 1980s has been the 1999 re-recordings of the great and memorable songs on this album. That says it all, really. These are still the most requested songs at his concerts and with good reason.All are meaningful, memorable and sincerely sung in that slightly croaky, touch of the mournful voice with never the hint of straying off key or failing to hit the right note.
I Put the cd on neley evry time It make my day just like Clint Eastwood, Say;s every Six Bottle of Cider when I play the Guitar at seme time it good Play with Merle Haggard So let's movin' On
I got a lot of M Haggard album and CDs for his hordes of fans and anyone who wants to hear how the many facets of true country music should sound. (Merle Haggard is verg good like Workin' Man Blues, or Sing Me Back Home after Six Bottle of Cider, So he did and that the end. Haggerd is the best Counter Man all the year's gon by in the 60s & 80s or the 90's he is very good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2010
what amazing value for money this purchase is! Two discs and all those classic tracks, cant fail to please if you are a country music lover.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2010
All the song you know and love by Hag,one or two were missing but still very good value for money.Sit back and enjoy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2010
THIS HAS JUST GOT TO BE THE BEST COMPLIATION OF MERLE HAGGARDS MUSIC,EVERY TRACK IS BRILL,AND ALL ORIGINAL RECORDINGS,A GREAT BUY AT THE PRICE.WELL DONE.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2011
This is a best of-album from Merle Haggard, with songs from 1963-76. You get two great cd`s packed with lots of great Country music, from one of the finest songwriters in the history of music.

Classics such as "Sing me back home", "Okie from Miskogee" and "If we can make it through December" are all on this beautiful collection. So if you`re new to Merle`s music this is a excellent starting point!
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