A trio of early classics from the great Merle Haggard – served up here in a single set! Branded Man is a key early album in the career of the legendary Merle Haggard – a set that's open about his time behind bars, and which resonates beautifully with all the themes of loss and loneliness that haunted his music for years! Even at this early stage, Haggard is head and shoulders above the rest – contributing his own fantastic work to the record, and also taking on a few tunes by others – almost making the whole thing feel like a concept album – not a unified suite of tracks, but more one that's unified with a sense of emotion and persona that few other country singers were bringing to the format at the time. While Johnny Cash may have learned to boost his career by recording in prisons, Merle used his time in one to create the sort of deep emotional well that you'll hear on classics that include "Branded Man", "I Threw Away The Rose", and "I Made The Prison Band" – next to other gems that include "Loneliness Is Eating Me Alive", "Long Black Limousine", "Go Home", "My Hands Are Tied", "Gone Crazy", and "Don't Get Married". Sing Me Back Home is a fantastic album from Merle Haggard – one that signals its sense of longing and wandering with its title and cover – then really delivers the goods in a package that's overflowing with strong original material by the man himself! While so many other country singers were singing about drinking and loving with a nod and wink, Haggard was able to set a whole new tone with a record like this – really digging deep both in spirit and lyrical presentation – and making the kind of music that raised the bar for generations to come! Every song on the record is a gem - and titles include "Where Does The Good Times Go", "Sing Me Back Home", "Look Over Me", "Wine Take Me Away", "If You See My Baby", "I'll Leave The Bottle At The Bar", "Home Is Where A Kid Grows Up", "My Past Is Present", "Good Times", and "Seeing Eye Dog". Okie From Muskogee is one of the most legendary albums in the long career of the mighty Merle Haggard – a live set that's capped with the famous title tune – recorded down in Oklahoma, as a nod to the roots of Merle's heritage
– and one that was really able to carefully play both sides of the fence at the end of the 60s! So while Hag is singing the anthemic title tune – a proud statement against hippies and the radical underground while most of America is standing strong – he's still also reaching out with a palette of emotional expression that shows that the man himself is deeply complex, and able to rise up a bit of Okie pride, while also letting the world know that the same spirit was also fanning the flames of the musical revolutions out on the west coast too. The set's overflowing with classics – not just the new "Okie From Muskogee" – but also killer versions of "Mama Tried", "No Hard Times", "In the Arms Of Love", "If I Had Left It Up To You", "White Line Fever", "Blue Rock", and a medley of "Swinging Doors", "I'm A Lonesome Fugitive", "Sing Me Back Home", and "Branded Man".