Merle Haggard - Big City
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Big City (Sony, 1999)

Merle Haggard

Reviewed by Holly Gleason

"Big City" may not have his biggest or most famous songs on it, but has over the years held up as a subtle gem for Merlee Haggard. From the swinging title track to the hushed "My Favorite Memory of All," this is one man's declaration of "who I am here and now" based upon a life of ruminating on the question. Even the swirling "Good Ole American Guest"* is a sweeping slice of what it means to be alive and proud of one's heritage.

Haggard is that most cliched of monikers: an American original. He's forged a career and a catalogue of songs that are based on the truth of life in the 20th century as he's witnessed it. At times harsh, he's found a spectrum of moments that reflect the diversity of truly living - and when the work is the centerpiece (as in "Big City"), the lack of retrospective content isn't the issue for the quality of the whole transcends.

CDs by Merle Haggard

Working in Tennessee, 2011 I Am What I Am, 2010 Legendary Performances DVD, 2008 The Bluegrass Sessions, 2007 Hag/Someday We'll Look Back, 2006 I'm A Lonesome Fugitive/Branded Man, 2006 Mama Tried/Pride In What I Am, 2006 Sing Me Back Home/The Legend Of Bonnie & Clyde, 2006 Strangers/Swinging Doors And The Bottle Let Me Down, 2006 Chicago Wind, 2005

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