4-CD box set (LP-format) with 68-page hardcover book, 111 tracks, total playing time approx. 6 hrs 38 mns.
Merle Haggard's overlooked and underappreciated MCA recordings capture the great country singer-songwriter reemerging from his mid-career crossroads. 111 tracks spanning from 1976 to 1981, covering eight LPs plus the 'lost' album later sold to CBS. Four unissued songs, including the recently discovered original recording of Troubadour. Three songs never on album, including The Bull And The Beaver, his #8 country duet with Leona Williams. Both hit singles from the 'Bronco Billy' soundtrack, including Misery And Gin and Merle Haggard's chart-topping duet with Clint Eastwood, Bar Room Buddies. Lavish 68-page hardcover book with rare photos and an extensive essay covering Merle Haggard's MCA years.
His celebrated, career-defining 11-year run with Capitol Records behind him, Merle Haggard was in a creative lull and pondering retirement when he signed with MCA. But after taking a six-month hiatus from performing, a refreshed and newly confident Merle Haggard triumphantly returned to the footlights and the recording studios. His singing voice now mellowed into a comfortable baritone, and his newly retooled lineup of the Strangers could effortlessly shift from country to swing to down-home blues without hesitation. More importantly, an inspired Haggard began writing great songs again.
This 4-CD collection gathers every existing master that Haggard recorded for MCA Records between 1976 and 1981. Among the highlights: My Farewell To Elvis, Merle Haggard's heartfelt tribute to his musical contemporary Elvis Presley. 'Serving 190 Proof,' the critically acclaimed, semi-autobiographical 1979 album that signaled Haggard's future musical direction. 'Back To The Barrooms,' the 1980 Jimmy Bowen-produced classic that yielded Haggard's chart-topping single I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink and Leonard, his homage to a troubled friend, country stylist Tommy Collins.'Rainbow Stew,' a breathtaking October 1980 live set performed at Anaheim Stadium in front of more than 30,000 cheering fans, and 'Songs For The Mama That Tried,' an affectionate 1981 album of country gospel songs dedicated to his elderly mother.
The set also includes 'It's All In The Game' and unreleased MCA material that CBS later acquired and parceled out among three Epic albums.
Many great songs are associated with Haggard's MCA years, and they're all here: Ramblin' Fever, From Graceland To The Promised Land, I'm Always On A Mountain When I Fall, It's Been A Great Afternoon,
Red Bandana, Footlights, and My Own Kind Of Hat.
Produced with the singer's cooperation, 'Troubadour' includes a lavishly illustrated, full-sized book featuring Dave Samuelson's essay on the MCA era and a master sessionography.