Appalachia Music

Pickin & Grinnin With Silver Wings

Merle haggard fan

I grew up in a family of Merle Haggard fans. How can anyone deny the man’s musical genius? I believe his name was uttered with deep reverence in my house full of Appalachian music because as a musician he truly has it all. Haggard has a voice that arguably is among the best ever recorded, he has the guitar playing down too, but his appeal doesn’t quite stop there.

Haggard has often been called The Poet of the Common Man. All one has to do his listen to his original songs to see the reason why.

The songs Haggard pens speak directly to the every day, hard working, trying to get ahead, life is sometimes a pain Joe on the street. His songs are about real life, real life viewed in a way that resonates with every day people.

Through the years you can trace my love of Haggard songs by the way they came packaged.

  • First there were the albums Paul and I listened to as kids. One day as we were digging the Merle tunes I said “you know we should invite him to come over.” Even though Paul is 4 years younger than I am he knew I was crazy. He said “Yeah like why would he come here? He’s famous.” I don’t remember for sure how young we were, but even at that early age I had found the secret to Merle Haggard’s success. By listening to his songs I truly thought he must be just like us. And hey someone was always coming by to pick and grin with Pap so why not Merle?
  • Elementary school was made happier the day I got my first portable 8-track tape player. The teachers allowed me to bring it to school as long as it was only played during recess. One of Granny’s trips to Gainesville GA supplied my most popular 8-track for school, Merle’s Rainbow Stew album.
  • I remember the first car I had, well the first car I actually liked and paid for myself. It had a cassette player, my previous cars did not. It was during my last year of high school, all the angst about what to do with my life and exactly what was life anyway was going on full force. The Merle song that takes me back to those days-Momma Tried.
  • Most couples have a certain song or type of music that brings to mind the early days in their relationship. Without a doubt the courting days between me and The Deer Hunter were filled with the songs of Merle Haggard blaring from the cd player.

Over the past several months we’ve been playing around with one of my favorite Merle Haggard songs-Silver Wings. Paul joked that it almost seemed a sacrilege to put our version on youtube because no matter how many times we did it our attempt would never even get near the original. I love playing Silver Wings because  it’s one of my favorite songs, but mostly I love thinking of Paul and me sitting around on the floor listening to Merle 30 years ago and here we are today playing one of those same songs, picking and grinning in the kitchen.

For this Pickin’ & Grinnin’ In The Kitchen Spot Silver Wings written by Merle Haggard.

Hope you enjoyed the song. Got a favorite Merle Haggard song? Please leave me a comment and tell me about it.



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  • Reply
    Matthew Burns
    August 30, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    This is too funny. My wife Shirley will love this post. I’ve often said that Merle Haggard is the other man in our marriage. Shirley is the biggest Merle Haggard fan of all time, and is even the moderator of a Merle Haggard listserve. Her favorite song of all time is “Mama’s Hungry Eyes” but every time we see Merle in concert he never seems to play that song. Shirley yelled at the stage one time and Merle heard her yelling, but misunderstood what she was saying and said, “This is for the lady who keeps yelling.” and then he played ‘Mama Tried”! Poor Shirley never got to hear “Mama’s Hungry Eyes”!!
    Also, Shirley dedicated her latest book to Jesus and Merle Haggard, in that order, so that ought to tell you how high up in her esteem that Merle ranks.
    Thanks for this post and the great music!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Just found your blog today and plan to visit again.
    I love Silver Wings but also love My Favorite Memory .
    I have been searching a bit through you blog and found the vocabulary tests. I grew up in Northern Kentucky but still know a lot of the words and use some of them. Frail is used all over the US even by the government to describe some elderly. (Frail Elderly is the term)
    Your version of Silver Wings is very pretty !

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    January 26, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Hey…once in awhile, Casper will read your blog. He read this one and the thing that got him wondering was what kind of car did you have when you were in high school. LOL

  • Reply
    January 24, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Merle Haggard is one of my favorites also!
    How about “Workin’ Man Blues”?! Love that song!
    And I loved listening Paul and Pap singing “Silver Wings”!!
    Believe it or not….I still have my first 8-track player.

  • Reply
    January 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Enjoyed your post. Well, did Merle show up? I think you should have asked him.

  • Reply
    wanda pressley
    January 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Tipper,
    The Deerhunter’s uncle Sam and I also listened to The Hag while we were dating 40 years ago!Gosh don’t seem like it was that long ago.We went to see him in concert after we were married.I have pic;s.A friend of mine was eating out and so was he while he was in town,I also have pic’s that she took of him at the resturant.I’ll show them to u when u come back out. The Deerhunter’s dad is the #1 fan of him that I have ever known.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 23, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Merle had a truly remarkable voice. His voice was solid, strong , and true without all the electronic “adjustments” that are used today.
    You guys did the Silver Wings fine! Y’all gettin’ better ever time.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    January 22, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Great job guys…with “Silver Wings”….
    I love Merle….”If We Make it Though December”…was one of my favorites….as well as “I Take A Lot of Pride in What I Am” and of course “Okie from Muskogee”…
    Still have some of my old tapes…He can belt out those old country (from the heart) songs…no one can touch him…

  • Reply
    January 22, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Tipper that sounded pretty good. I literally could sit back and put my feet up and relax while listening to it.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    It’s amazing how the music of a single artist can become such an important part of the shape of our lives.
    As a kid for me it was John Denver. Loved him up and down.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Thought of you while I was taking the cornbread out of the oven. Am having it with chili for supper. Come on down or is it over ? Love Pap & Paul’s singing. They did the Hag proud. He’s a favorite of mine too. Always enjoy your blog.

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    January 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Great song! I love Merle Haggard, too. I always enjoy visiting your blog. Great job!

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    January 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Some of the greatest benchmarks of our lives were set by music, weren’t they, Tipper? Loved yours!
    The first thing that jumped into my mind is my mother’s love for Merle. Even though he came a little later, we grew up on him along with Hank Williams, Sr. and Jr., Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, et. al. I remember the days my mother would crank up her favorite country music while she cleaned the house; probably where I got the habit!
    Merle’s probably most noted for Okie from Muskogee but my favorite is Old Fashion Love In My Heart. Silver Wings is so pretty, and what a lovely rendition of it by Pap and Paul!
    Lovely post! :))
    Have a wonderful weekend, Tipper! :))

  • Reply
    January 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Inviting Merle over was classic! Mama Tried is a good song and we need more songwriters/storytellers.

  • Reply
    Chef E
    January 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Yep I grew up with Merle! My daddy loved him, along with Johnny, and many others. We were only allowed to listen to that music growing up. We were too poor to own anything but a radio, and daddy had a record player only he touched! I can two step also with the best of them…we danced in the kitchen all the time.
    When country rock came about my dad said it was not country anything, lol, he was hard core ‘common man’ country…

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    January 22, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    My goodness! I don’t remember the title but it goes “Daddy Frank played the guitar and the french harp” He is a great composer ,isn’t he? Tell the Paul and Pap they did an excellent job of covering the song.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2010 at 9:31 am

    My dad really liked Merle Haggard, and I grew to like him too as I would sit and listen along when dad played his records. All those records, along with a lot more are still at my Mom’s house. I can remember the times and remember the way I pictured in my mind the stories I was hearing coming out of the RCA console stereo. Amazing how a song with one short verse and a chorus can say so much.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Hi there. I just found your blog & I love it. I’m having alot of fun browsing your old posts.I’m up here in Southwestern,PA. I was a true farm girl growing up but moved away from it as I became an adult. I realize now that it was the best time of my life & I am trying to get back to it. This blog is helping me fill in the gaps. Thanks, Stacey

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    January 21, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Tipper: My favorite country song is “Desperado” by The Eagles but number two is “Pancho and Lefty” by Merle and Willy.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Great post Tipper, I love Merle too.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Great song! I’ve always been a Merle fan, too!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    What great memories you have sparked with this post. Merle Haggard was one of the C&W greats of all time. I love his music.
    I think the guys did a great job with Silver Wings. Thanks for the memories and your kind words of support on my latest post.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I’m a Merle fan too. I’ve always loved his music.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    I think Merle would love Paul and Pap’s version. Merle is an interpreter of song. That’s what makes the great ones great. I think Paul and Pap do that very well too. I am a big Merle fan and I enjoyed that rendition. Keep up the good work. I’m working on my strumming so I can join in the next time I’m able to make it up that way. Pappy

  • Reply
    January 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Love it!

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    January 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I love that you thought of inviting Merle over! A real tribute to his appeal.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    I’ve always loved the “Hag” too. Nice version of his song!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Tipper – what a fun post! I love all your memories and how they tie in to Merle.
    My memories about 8 track tapes involve an old blue Ford and David Cassidy and the Partridge Family!

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