DOWN EVERY ROAD covers Merle Haggard's entire career, culling material from the vaults of Capitol, MCA, Curb and Sony Records.
Personnel includes: Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson.
Recorded between 1962 and 1994. Includes liner notes by Daniel Cooper.
Country music has had a long and proud tradition of outlaws and hard men, but Merle Haggard is in a class by himself. A singer-songwriter regularly capable of heartbreaking emotional honesty, Haggard has also maintained an aura of danger, as if he'd be just as happy to punch your face in as to buy you a beer. The essential four-disc box set, DOWN EVERY ROAD 1962-1994, is a perfect overview of both sides of Hag's personality. Its 100 songs are spread over four solid discs, without an ounce of fat. Signature tunes like "Mama Tried" and the perpetually misunderstood "Okie From Muskogee" (a much more sardonic song than its reputation suggests) sit next to equally fine but lesser-known material from Haggard's later career, when the urban cowboy scene and the rock-oriented dilution of modern country music had unfairly turned him into a niche artist. EMI wisely licensed material from all of Haggard's various labels, making this the only truly comprehensive box set of the Bakersfield legend's work.
Rolling Stone (5/2/96, p.54) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...offers the wide-angle view that the singer has long deserved...a rich portrait of one of America's most important and often misunderstood musical figures..."
Entertainment Weekly (4/5/96, p.81) - "...Not even his hero Lefty Frizzell produced a body of work this influential or satisfying." - Rating: A