Sing Me Back Home

“This was one I wrote on a trip from somewhere to somewhere in Ohio. It conjured up a lot of the feelings that took place around an execution. I had the privilege to talk to one of the condemned guys.”Merle Haggard (304)

Mama Tried

“It was written as a tribute to my mother [Haggard had an extremely rebellious youth, was frequently in jail (he was present at Johnny Cash’s performance at San Quentin), and generally made life extremely difficult for his widowed mother – Ed].”Merle Haggard (596)

Wishing All These Old Things Were New

“I’m against prohibition – people should never be allowed to dictate what others should or shouldn’t do. Children shouldn’t be allowed to do anything but go to school, but it’s different when they become adults. Heaven knows that alcohol is the worst thing in the world, but it’s debatable whether cocaine is worse than caffeine or whether it’s the same thing and they just changed the name. I think we live in a world today where there are so many double standards.”Merle Haggard (697)

Grandma Harp

“Let me tell you about a song I wrote about my Grandma. Now I guess the thing that I remember most about Grandma was her pretty blue eyes and her trembling hands as she baked the best apple pie I ever ate. It always amazed me how ’til the age of 75 years she personally raised her own black-eyed peas and her own turnip greens that the old corner market just couldn’t match. But one day the old summer sun just got too much for her and she fell and broke her hip and after that she seemed to slow down for a while but, bless her heart, she lived to be 93. It was like she’d lived to see a 1000 years of progress from the horseless carriage, through two world wars and the first man walk on the moon. But the times with which she lived were not what mattered, it was how she lived it and that made it all worthwhile.”Merle Haggard (1262)

They’re Tearin’ The Labor Camps Down

“I guess it’s no secret I did a few years in San Quentin and on my release I noticed a lot of different things had come to pass while I was out of circulation. Like the girls’ dresses were shorter, the freeways were wider and the old steam engines were gone forever. But the one thing I noticed most of all down through the San Joaquin Valley, was the disappearance of so many labor camps, the ones I’d lived from time to time myself. I noticed that that one there in Hughson, California was gone, the old Crowns camp that lie between Fermosa and Bakersfield was just a barren spot with a few Cottonwood trees and surrounded by an Olive orchard. Though a few still remain like Blackman’s Camp out on Weedpatch Highway, it was an evident fact that someone was trying to do away with them all. And I couldn’t help but wonder, “What’s gonna happen to the farm workers, and the fruit pickers who move from town to town, the man with the big family who can’t afford the old high standard of living. It was these thoughts and my memories that inspired me to write this song.”Merle Haggard (1262)

Turnin’ Off A Memory

“Let me tell you about a song that I wrote especially for my friends with drinking problems or, maybe I should say, my friends with problems enough to drink. Anyway, it’s just an old theme of a man sitting in a barroom and trying to drown his past.”Merle Haggard (1262)

Irma Jackson

“The song is purely fiction and created solely from my imagination. It’s just a love story of two people, of two different races and a situation that their families and society wouldn’t accept.”Merle Haggard (1262)