Thanks Merle

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April 6, 2016 by jacklovelace

I was a smartass rock and roll kid playing country songs at a small town radio station.

While I was too stupid to give most of the music a chance, Merle Haggard got through to me.

Mama Tried. Lonesome Fugitive.

Okie From Muskogee got a lot of attention but Fighting Side of Me was even tougher.

He also served a practical purpose. He put out an album recorded live in Muskogee. It didn’t have breaks between songs for up to 14 minutes. For a dj on long duty it was a merciful break, bathroom and otherwise.

Years passed and we moved to Kansas City. He played a casino sponsored by some trucking outfit with a banner overhead.

That familiar voice and familiar songs filled the air, although even then he wasn’t it in greatest of shape.

Always the rebel, he did his last song and ambled offstage with his wife urging him to recognize the trucking company. He waved an arm as in “fuck that” and never turned around.

Never.

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