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Return of the Okie from Muskogee: Live Merle Haggard Records Paired for Reissue

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Okie from MuskogeeIf you like livin’ right and free, you’re going to love the recent revelation that Merle Haggard’s famed live album Okie from Muskogee will be reissued next week, paired with a follow-up live record making its CD debut.

Named for the 1969 country chart-topper that’s easily Haggard’s signature song – a tongue-in-cheek lampooning of the liberal values that were taking youth culture by storm at the time – Okie from Muskogee is a perfect distillation of Haggard’s unique voice and sound, a uniquely harmonic, twangy country indicative of the Bakersfield sound fans have come to adore thanks to the likes of Haggard and Buck Owens. It was a significant smash within the genre, winning Haggard three awards from the Academy of Country Music that year: Album of the Year, Single of the Year and Top Male Vocalist.

The success of Haggard’s next big single, a patriotic number called “The Fightin’ Side of Me,” Capitol quickly released another live album with the same name. This set saw Haggard in Philadelphia with a loose, mostly covers-heavy set (including takes on Tommy Collins’ “When Did Right Become Wrong” and Woody Guthrie’s “Philadelphia Lawyer.” A high point of the set finds Haggard, in a medley of popular country tunes by stars including Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash and Buck Owens, performing in passable impersonations of each.

Capitol Nashville’s two-disc set of Okie from Muskogee, released in honor of the album’s 45th anniversary, marks the first time since its original release that The Fightin’ Side of Me will be released anywhere. It hits stores on March 25 and can be pre-ordered after the jump. (A live cut from Fightin’ Side can be streamed at Rolling Stone.)

Okie from Muskogee: 45th Anniversary Special Edition (Capitol Nashville, 2014)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Disc 1: Merle Haggard & The Strangers, Okie from Muskogee (Recorded “Live” in Muskogee, Oklahoma) (originally released as Capitol ST-431, 1969)

  1. Introduction by Carlton Haney
  2. Mama Tried
  3. No Hard Times
  4. Silver Wings
  5. Merle Receives Key to Muskogee
  6. Merle’s Introduction to Medley
  7. Swinging Doors
  8. I’m a Lonesome Fugitive
  9. Sing Me Back Home
  10. Branded Man
  11. In the Arms of Love
  12. Workin’ Man Blues
  13. Merle’s Introduction to “Hobo Bill”
  14. Hobo Bill’s Last Ride
  15. Billy Overcame His Size
  16. If I Had Left It Up to You
  17. White Line Fever
  18. Blue Rock
  19. Introduction to Okie from Muskogee
  20. Okie from Muskogee

Disc 2: Merle Haggard & The Strangers with Bonnie Owen, The Fightin’ Side of Me (originally released as Capitol ST-0384, 1970)

  1. Introduction by Carlton Haney
  2. I Take a lot of Pride in What I Am
  3. Corrine, Corrina
  4. Every Fool Has a Rainbow
  5. T.B. Blues
  6. When Did Right Become Wrong
  7. Philadelphia Lawyer
  8. Stealin’ Corn
  9. Harold’s Super Service
  10. Medley of Impersonations: Devil Woman
  11. Medley of Impersonations: I’m Movin’ On
  12. Medley of Impersonations: Folsom Prison Blues
  13. Medley of Impersonations: Jackson
  14. Medley of Impersonations: Orange Blossom Special
  15. Medley of Impersonations: Love’s Gonna Live Here
  16. Today I Started Loving You Again
  17. Okie from Muskogee
  18. The Fightin’ Side of Me

Written by Mike Duquette

March 21, 2014 at 13:00

One Response

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  1. I’m not sure where you get your information, but Merle’s “Fightin’ Side of Me” was legally issued in 2003 on the UK label BGO as a “two-fer” with one of his albums with Bonnie Owens. In fact, lists it as still available for those who want to buy the 10-year old release.

    Gary W.

    April 5, 2014 at 16:30

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