A trio of 80s albums from Merle Haggard – all brought together in a single collection! The Epic
Collection has a title that's a bit confusing – an album issued on Epic
Records, but not a collection of earlier material – as the whole thing's a new live recording, Haggard's first for the label! Merle really scored big with live albums on Capitol in the early 70s – and he sounds equally great here – working through lots of his own material in a lean, classic-styled setting – in front of an audience that's clearly going mad in his presence! Titles include "Sing A Sad Song", "Holding Things Together", "Working Mans' Blues", "Trouble In Mind", "I Always Get Lucky With You", "Every Fool Has A Rainbow", and "Honky Tonk Night Time Man/
Old Man From The Mountain". Chill Factor is a seminal 80s album from Merle Haggard – from a time when the singer was changing things up a bit – both with a maturing style of vocals, and with a shift in themes in his songs! Merle's no less heartfelt here than on the early Capitol classics – but he's clearly lived a lot more life, and maybe not all of it on the road or behind bars – as he demonstrates this great sensitivity for the human condition, and his own as well – spun out beautifully on tunes that include "Thirty Again", "Man From Another Time", "We Never Touch Ag All", "1929", "I Don't Have Any Love Around", and "After Dark". 5:01 Blues is Merle Haggard's last album for Epic
Records – part of a great run that helped further elevate the singer's genius during the 80s! The spirit of the songs follows nicely from Hag's earlier gems from the time – like Chill Factor or Kern River – music that's quite different that the Capitol years, but in a really great way – and which marks Haggard as one of the few of his time than can really grow and shift as a country singer over the decades without losing quality or steam at all – an elite group that might include George Jones and Willie Nelson too. Titles include "Broken Friend", "Losin In Las Vegas", "Wouldn't That Be Something", "Somewhere Down The Line", "A Better Love Next Time", and "Sea Of Heartbreak".