Digitally remastered by Glenn Meadows and Milan Bogdan.
Merle Haggard's music is great for many reasons. One is Haggard's voice, among the most expressive and beautiful in all of country music. Another is his insistence on working only with top musicians whose assets include an understanding of many traditional country styles, including folk, blues, and Western swing. Most important, though, is Haggard's ability to give voice to the quiet despair of those too romantic to give up hope but too cynical to believe those hopes could ever amount to anything but heartbreak.
This last ability is particularly apparent on Haggard's SERVING 190 PROOF. Whether bemoaning the grind and loneliness of life on the road ("Footlights"), describing a doomed relationship ("Got Lonely Too Early This Morning," "Driftwood," "Red Bandana"), or turning to the bottle for solace ("Heaven Was A Drink Of Wine"), Haggard expresses a longing for a serenity he knows he'll never have. As he makes clear in the deceptively upbeat "My Own Kind Of Hat," Haggard understands perfectly well where he doesn't fit in; he just can't find a place he belongs. All that separates Haggard from his audience, he seems to be saying, is his ability to transform his melancholy into art.