Click to listen

Click to listen

Oct. 30: Merle Haggard, a former inmate at California’s San Quentin penitentiary, wrote several prison songs in the early phase of his career. This one, about a fellow inmate who’d escaped, killed a state trooper and was executed, was released 42 years ago today, on its way to the top of the charts.

I often extoll the quality of the music cut at Capitol Records’ studios in the L.A. area, the old one on Melrose Avenue and the newer one in the Capitol Tower at Hollywood and Vine. This one came from the latter. That’s Glen Campbell (I think) with the nice acoustic guitar throughout, with Haggard’s wife, Bonnie Owens, providing harmony and Norm Hamlett with tasty steel guitar near the end. It’s a great record, as well as a great song.

Check out Haggard’s Country Music Hall of Fame profile, and his discography.

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