Thursday, April 7, 2016

January 1953 and April 2016, Hank and Merle--so very different

In January 1953 I was up and down the Sabine River towns in Louisiana and I swear you could have walked from one side of any town or little settlement and never gotten away from the voice of Hank Williams. Every radio station was playing Hank Williams, everyone with a record player was playing Hank Williams.
In April 2016 I tried the radio stations in the car going to the beach and coming back and could not find a single song by Merle Haggard. Was he not 33% as important as Michael Jackson? Did he not deserve 25% of the attention David Bowie just got?
Now, I underwent a change of mind about Merle Haggard because Merle Haggard underwent a profound change himself. He went from those squirrelly guys who just don't believe in fighting to back before Nixon lied to us all on TV. Even when he was singing the early hate anthem, he had the purest voice in country music. And his songs got better and better.
Maybe we have had too many deaths. Waylon, Johnny, Ray Price . . . . Maybe we are afraid that Willie really is not Superman, after all, and I for one am afraid for Kris.
But we really are grieving differently, those of us who are grieving and honoring Merle.


  1. Mike: Did you know that Haggard was kin to the Glenns?
    HP: No, tell me more.