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Merle Haggard: Serving 190 Proof (MCA)

John Morthland, Rolling Stone, 6 September 1979

REMEMBER 'OKIE from Muskogee' and 'Fightin' Side of Me', the two Merle Haggard anthems that served as right-wing rallying cries during the volatile turn of this decade? Sure, you do. Remember Someday We'll Look Back, the follow-up LP? Probably not, because it didn't include anything as easy to get a handle on, born as it was out of the inner turmoil resulting from Haggard's new notoriety. With its troubled love songs and starkly autobiographical numbers about growing up poor and Okie in a converted Bakersfield boxcar, the album served notice that Haggard wasn't about to settle into a comfortable niche as every reactionary's pet cracker. He was much more complex than that.

Total word count of piece: 317

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