Digitally remastered by Mark Chalecki (Capitol Mastering).
Liner Note Author: Jim Beavers.
Though Capitol Records let much of Merle Haggard's vintage '60s catalog remain unjustly out of print for too long, they began mending their ways in the 21st century with the reissue of those classic titles. Making even further amends is this almost-unassailable compilation, which nearly supplants the CAPITOL COLLECTOR'S SERIES album as THE single-disc Merle anthology to own. Merle's '60s run of hits represents one of the last times in country music that aesthetic and commercial success were working partners.
With Haggard's working-man narratives, Roy Nichols's terse guitar statements, and those inimitably catchy refrains, this stuff is the very definition of the Bakersfield sound that disciples like Dwight Yoakam would build a career imitating. For as many songs about "mama" as you'll hear out of Nashville, none are as honest or as poignant as "Mama Tried." As many drinking songs as you'll find in country music, few can match the quiet drama of "The Bottle Let Me Down." Sure, there are a few key songs missing, such as "Swinging Doors," but you can only fit so much from such a rich catalog onto one disc, and there's certainly no arguing with any of the inclusions.