20 Hits, Vol. 2

by: Merle Haggard

Most of Merle Haggard's biggest hits for Capitol Records, classics like "Mama Tried," "Branded Man," "The Bottle Let Me Down," "The Fightin' Side of Me," "Okie from Muskogee," "Hungry Eyes," and "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive," are on the first hits volume, but there are still plenty of Haggard gems on this set, as well, including the brilliant "Today I Started Loving You Again," the wise and comforting "The Roots of My Raising," the poignant "Things Aren't Funny Anymore," the wry "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink," and the quietly desperate (and yet still hopeful) "If We Make It Through December." Listeners should be aware that the versions of these songs presented here are actually re-recordings, but in Haggard's case, it's the song itself that is the star, so there really isn't any kind of quality drop off from the original versions. This guy is the real deal, both as a singer and as a songwriter, and while the biggest songs are on the other disc, well, this one may well be the sleeper of the two. ~ Steve Leggett

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