[99] Merle Haggard – I'm a Lonesome Fugitive (1967)


Mar 4 2009, 21h53

Merle HaggardI'm A Lonesome Fugitive

Country music and I are no close friends. Earlier country albums in this list have proved that already, and even though I appreciated Marty Robbin's voice and Buck Owen's humour (the other country albums in this list don't need to be mentioned for me), that didn't mean I liked the music. Suffice to say I enjoyed that music sometimes, but it never got me interested to play it again.

Big exception to me not liking country music is Johnny Cash. After I had seen the movie, I did as everyone else did who had seen the movie, and bought myself the At Folsom Prison and At Saint Quentin albums. But, I must admit my relation with Johnny Cash was still a bit troubled (my relation... that sounds weird... You know, the movie got it all wrong: in fact I was Johnny Cash his big love, haha), because as it turned out, I rarely listened to these albums. They were more country than I expected. Only after repeated exclamations of wonderfulness by friends who listened to my Johnny Cash cd's, I listened again and found myself suddenly liking him much more. But that's for within a few albums. The thing is, Johnny Cash doesn't have a typical country music voice: much lower and with some darkness in it. That's what makes him different and definitely more interesting.

Merle Haggard, apparently a country monument, but completely unknown to me is claimed to have a bit of the same darkness. In contrary to Johnny Cash, he spent a decent amount of time in jail, and these songs are a collection of songs he wrote there. The title song for instance 'I'm a Lonesome Fugitive' is one of his most well-known songs and a typical jail song. Now, Merle Haggard has a typical (low) country voice but the music is most of the time slower than what I'm used to. And that fits this music quite well.

Is it his voice? Is it the -sometimes splendid- guitar work? Is it the lyrics? I can't explain, but this music gets to me. Not all of the time, but songs like I'm a Lonesome Fugitive, All Of Me Belongs To You, Whatever Happened to Me, If You Want To Be My Woman or the jumpy very Buck Owens alike 'Mixed up Mess of a Heart' do something with my heart. Maybe this 1001 albums challenge has changed my musical taste... I don't know. And although the album as a whole doesn't convince me that much, this album has some very beautiful moments. Yes, I am still talking about country music!

(Wel goed, zelfs country: I'm a Lonesome Fugitive, All Of Me Belongs To You, Whatever Happened to Me, If You Want To Be My Woman, Mixed up Mess of a Heart)


  • rockrobster23

    Merle is a great songwriter, but I find that many of his own versions of his songs seem too slow. As if there is a slightly faster, better version that wants to get out, but is tied up in the corner with duct tape on its mouth. It's true I generally like faster-paced songs, but I don't have that reaction to lots of other slow country songs...just with Merle.

    Mar 5 2009, 9h10
  • Llorenza

    Haha! Tastes and colours... I think I like him just because the music is a bit slower...

    Mar 5 2009, 9h13
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