5-CD box (LP-size) with 52-page book, 133 tracks. Playing time approx. 343 mns.
In 1962 Merle Haggard cut his first session for Tally Records and set about defining his personal vision of country music. It was radically opposed to what was coming out of Nashville then, but it laid the foundation for half of what comes out of Nashville now. Here are Merle Haggard's complete recordings for Tally and Capitol from 1962 to 1968 (except the Jimmie Rodgers tribute available separately, on Bear Family BCD 15740). The classic early hits are here, like Strangers, Swinging Doors, The Bottle Let Me Down, I Threw Away The Rose, Branded Man, Sing Me Back Home, Lonesome Fugitive, and Mama Tried, but the importance of this set is that it shows Merle's developing artistry in the album tracks, abandoned cuts, and rare singles. Other sets skim the surface; this one tells the complete story.