The Way I Am

by: Merle Haggard

The Way I Am shares many of the same qualities of its predecessor (Serving 190 Proof) and successor (Back to the Barrooms) albums. That is, it's pretty much a straight-ahead honky tonk album that pays little mind to the contemporary trends of the day. Where it differs from Serving 190 Proof or Back to the Barrooms is that the performances are a little inconsistent, as is the material. Still, Hag is a reliable performer in that he always delivers a couple of gems. Here, it's in the form of the title track, Floyd Tillman's "It Makes No Difference Now," and three Ernest Tubb covers ("Take Me Back and Try Me One More Time," "I'll Always Be Glad to Take You Back," and "It's Been So Long, Darlin'"). It's enough to make it worth a listen for hardcore Hag followers, but all others may find it a little bit too uneven. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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