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Category:    Home > Reviews > Music > Country > Compilation > TV > Legendary Performances – Merle Haggard (Shout! Factory DVD)

Legendary Performances – Merle Haggard (Shout! Factory DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Compilation: B-



Even today, Merle Haggard is so deeply a Country Music artist that as of late 2008, his only Pop Top 40 hit is If We Make It Through December in 1974!  As the genre was sold down the river in the 1990s, he remained a rebel and an artist of some contradictions.  Legendary Performances – Merle Haggard is the latest entry in the Shout! Factory Country DVD compilation collection and features Haggard singing the following hits from various TV appearances:


1)     Branded Man

2)     The Bottle Let Me Down

3)     Swinging Doors

4)     Mama Tried

5)     I Started Loving You Again

6)     I Take A Lot Of Pride In What I Am

7)     The Fightin’ Side Of Me

8)     Okie From Muskogee

9)     Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)

10)  Workin’ Man Blues

11)  Movin’ On (Theme From The TV Series)

12)  The Roots Of My Raising

13)  Ramblin’ Fever

14)  That’s The Way Love Goes

15)  San Antonio Rose




He also had 38 #1 Country hits, eight of which are among the well-known hits of his above.  Most amusing are tracks 7 & 8, the former being a pro-American patriotic song that would seem to be very Right Wing and denounce the counterculture, while the latter may seem to follow in its footsteps, but became notorious as a song that was considered pro-drug/pro-counterculture no matter what it said and furthered the myth of fun-loving moonshiners always being chased from the law years before The Dukes Of Hazzard or Smokey & The Bandit.  But Haggard’s music was more than just a few singles with controversy or hooks.


They painted a portrait of another side of American life and living, having done so now for 45 years and as this arrives on DVD, Haggard was having some health troubles.  However, it is just one more chapter for one of Country Music’s greatest survivors and storytellers, no matter what you think of his ideas or points of view.  To his credit, the man once pardoned by Ronald Reagan wrote songs criticizing the second President Bush a few years before I’m Always On A Mountain When I Fall showed up in Brokeback Mountain, proving he was a rebel from start to finish.  This compilation is a great introduction to the artist, the man and his music.


The 1.33 X 1 image is soft throughout, but the earlier clips have some good color to make up for that, while the later clips get slowly sharper as they become newer.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is usually monophonic, though later clips are slightly stereo at best.  Extras include a 1981 interview and a clip of his 1994 induction onto The Country Music Hall Of Fame.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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