He dreamed of something better: the Best of Merle Haggard

I wrote enough in my obit last year, but if anything his catalog has proven resolute in its power to charm. A special thank you to David Cantwell, whose 2014 biography deepened my affection for Haggard and who persuaded me to give forgotten masterstrokes like “No Time to Cry” a listen. And he inspired me to place “I’m a White Boy” and “Irma Jackson” side by side.

1. Mama Tried
2. California Cottonfields
3. Hungry Eyes
4. I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink
5. If We Make It Through December
6. Huntsville
7. Someday We’ll Look Back
8. I’m a White Boy
9. Irma Jackson
10. It’s Not Love (But It’s Not Bad)
11. The Bottle Let Me Down
12. Wishing All These Old Things Were New
13. Silver Wings
14. Kern River
15. Red Bandana
16. A Working Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today
17. Big City
18. Laugh It Off
19. Someday When Things Are Good
20. Tulare Dust
21. Life in Prison
22. My Own Kind of Hat
23. Pancho and Lefty (with Willie Nelson)
24. Kentucky Gambler
25. Misery and Gin
26. The Running Kind
27. Big Time Annie’s Square
28. Stop The World & Let Me Off
29. No Time to Cry
30. The Fightin’ Side of Me

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