Merle Haggard – Capitol Rarities

by Chuck Dauphin

There is something that – after all these years, and the technological advances we have made in the business, gets to me about the sound of music on vinyl. Apparently, I am not  alone in this. The folks at Omnivore Recordings have just released four new projects on  vinyl that will be of great interest to historians and fans alike. Yesterday, we took a look at a new Buck Owens project where he covered the Eagles. Today, one of Buck’s former band members (albeit briefly) shines in the vinyl spotlight – Merle Haggard.

This project contains six songs  drawn from unique sessions where Merle recorded in  Nashville and Hollywood in March and June of 1966 respectively, but these tracks were never used, which help to make this vinyl E.P. a collectors’ piece well worth the attention of Haggard fans everywhere.

Of the three Nashville cuts, Haggard sounds best on “I’m A Lonesome Fugitive,” which actually holds up quite well in its’ Music City version. These three cuts were produced by Marvin Hughes and manager Fuzzy Owen, so you do get a little bit of a different sheen, though the talent is undeniable. Owen also helmed the three California cuts – along with Capitol head Ken Nelson. Sometimes listening to these, I don’t know if I don’t like them better than the hits. His Hollywood take on “I Threw Away The Rose” is absolutely priceless!

But, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying them both, right? I think that’s what I will do. Thanks to Omnivore for releasing such a beautiful history piece!

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