A coupla good stories about Merle Haggard.


I’ve been watching/listening to songwriter/singer Otis Gibbs’ YouTube videos for a coupla years now. Here’s the one posted today:




Here’s my own Merle Haggard story


In the early-to-mid 1970’s I was in a coupla bands who had a really good soundman. He owned his own sound reinforcement company, had a great PA system, and hired himself out for individual shows. His services were engaged for Merle Haggard’s appearance at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos (about a half hour’s drive south of San Francisco) sometime in 1972 or ’73.

A bassist I often worked with was a huge Merle Haggard fan (who isn’t?), a fact the soundman was well aware of. "My" bassist was of course attending the show, and the soundman asked him if he would like to go onto Merle’s tour bus and meet the man. Well duh. The two climbed the stairs onto the bus, and were soon in it’s living room, in the middle of which was a table. Sitting at the table were Merle and his band (the best in the biz), in the center of which was, my bassist friend recounted to me, the biggest mountain of cocaine he had ever seen.


It is well known that speed was very popular amongst southern white musicians in the 1950’s and 60’s (Elvis and Johnny Cash loved the stuff), and in Otis’ video you will hear that Merle Haggard sang it’s praises. This Okie wasn’t from Muskogee ;-) . PS: I’ll take music inspired by speed over that inspired by LSD any day.


A wise man would postpone a component upgrade until his music library included the entire Merle Haggard catalog. Says who? Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Keith Richards, Steve Earle, and me.




@loomisjohnson yes, my 67 year old memory is not as good as it once was. I remembered the BB version after I posted above.I bought the Big Brother album in the early 70's. Thanks.

I only saw Merle once, the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. I think it was 2005. He and his band opened for Dylan. Smooth as silk. Top notch musicians.

I had hoped Merle would come out and play a song or two with Dylan, but no.

i just cued up that big brother record ("be a brother"), which was rated two stars on allmusic.com, and i was surprised how good it is--nick gravanites is no janis but he is a first-rate songwriter who's behind a lot of classic stuff from quicksilver, paul butterfield, etc. also, he's from my old neighborhood.