MERLE HAGGARD: If I Could Only Fly: CD

The man is a musical maverick, an enigmatic well-traveled larger-than-life legend, a stern and stoic leathery-faced old outlaw who’s sturdily rode the hellbent-on-fury buckin’ bronco of life into many a dust-stirred silhouetted sunset. His music is country, pure and simple and no-holds-barred. Yep, on this here smorgasbord spread of delectably tasty ditties, old-time country’n’western is heartily served by the musically mercurial master himself, Mr. Merle: whiskey-sippin’ country twang that smoothly quenches the debilitative thirst of the forlorn, lost, and forgotten transient nomads aimlessly wandering the vast sprawling expanses of America’s endlessly open rural desolation; chugga-chugga cowhide country that colorfully conjures a smalltown backwoods honkytonk setting of sawdust-covered floors, sweet and sticky BBQ beef thickly piled heaven-high on platters of beans, potato salad, and home-baked bread, and nostalgically cradlin’ a longneck while swayin’ in a boot-shufflin’ cheek-to-cheek waltz with your true-love high school sweetheart; cryin’-in-your-beer shitkickin’ country that appropriately provides a spirit-stirring soundtrack of robustly brawlin’ manliness. The most intimately inspirational moments contained herein: the jaunty and jazzy New Orleans rowdiness of “Honky Tonk Mama” (it’d do ol’ Hank Sr. proud… he must surely be smilin’ big and prideful-like in the wild blue yonder!), the downhome flavorful strains of an achingly poignant swirling steel-guitar in “Turn to Me,” the quavering cowpoke harmonica-blaring solitude of “If I Could Only Fly,” the Bob Wills-inspired country-swing swagger of “Bareback,” and the ruggedly jubilant giddy-up-and-go folksiness of “Proud to Be Your Old Man.” Yeeehaw and yippy-tie-yie-yay! Merle Haggard, the man and his music… endearing, inspiring, and always intriguing… timeless, yet aged to perfection.

 –guest (Anti)