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 folks.
The Deer Hunter and Tipper – early 90s courting days
Through the years you can trace my love of Haggard songs by the way they came packaged.
- First there were the albums me and Paul 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-cause no matter how many times we did it-our attempt would never even get near the original. I love playing it-cause it’s one of my favorite songs-but mostly-I love thinking of me and Paul sitting around on the floor listening to Merle nearly 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-leave me a comment and tell me about it. You can check this link out to hear a few of my favorites: Merle Medley.
This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig in January of 2010.