Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Heart of Rock & Soul # 917 Merle Haggard

'The best honky-tonk number Merle ever recorded. So good,(and with such great guitar), that it's probably the best Buck Owens record anyone but Buck ever recorded.

Like a lot of honky-tonk, the association of heartache and booze, ('Thanks to you I'm always here 'til closing time), creates a context in which working-class alcoholism can be justified, which is probably why the perfect way to hear a record like this - or Buck's A-11 for instance - is coming out of a jukebox in a shot-and-a-beer joint. Preferably someone else puts the quarter in and you snap out of it in time to remind yourself that that's Merle's problem and not yours. Because his singing is so good it's enough to make the whole world go on a bender just to commiserate. Or anyway, that's its ambition.'

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