An amazing live document of Hag at his late 60s best! Recorded in – you guessed it – Muskogee, OK in 1969, this excellent 45th Anniversary edition also includes the nearly as great, comparably rare follow
-up live album Fightin' Side Of Me
, recorded in Philly in 1970. If you've seen Merle Haggard live over the years, you might have gotten the picture that "Okie" is more of a satire of conservatism than an indictment of hippies – but it's powerful anyway – and the album also includes great live versions of a bunch of his best ever songs, including "Mama Tried", "No Hard Times", "In the Arms Of Love", "If I Had Left It Up To You", "White Line Fever", "Blue Rock", "Okie From Muskogee", and a medley of "Swinging Doors", "I'm A Lonesome Fugitive", "Sing Me
Back Home", and "Branded Man". Fighting Side Of Me
is best known for the reactionary title tune, quite unfortunately, since it's a really amazing document of Haggard and the Strangers at their all time best. Like most of Merle's live shows throughout the years, it's bookended by some great original tunes like "I Take A Lot Of Pride In What I Am" and "Today I Started Loving You Again", plus a travelogue of 20th Century country music – from the spare sadness of Jimmie Rodgers's "T.B. Blues" to the Western swing of "Corrine, Corrina", to Tommy Collins's "When Did Right Become Wrong", Johnny Cash's "Orange Blossom Special", Hank Snow's "I'm Moving On" and well beyond. All of which is to say it's one of the best live country albums ever recorded for a major label!