Merle Haggard Portrait This page looks at various best-of collections featuring country legend Merle Haggard. This is part of a larger discography, taking a quick look at this maverick country artist... Album reviews are linked to below.

Merle Haggard Discography: 1962-69 | 1970-1979 | 1980- Present | Best-Ofs Tributes & Links

Merle Haggard "Untamed Hawk: The Early Recordings" (Bear Family, 1995)
Five CDs and 133 songs charting Merle's explosive appearance on the Capitol label. This box set covers 1962-68, Haggard's first golden era. I haven't heard it, but I imagine it's pure gold for the true Haggard fan.

Merle Haggard "Down Every Road" (Capitol, 1996)
4-CD box set...

Merle Haggard "The Best Of Merle Haggard" (Capitol, 1968)

Merle Haggard "The Best Of The Best Of Merle Haggard" (Capitol, 1972)

Merle Haggard "Eleven Winners" (Capitol, 1978)

Merle Haggard "Merle Haggard's Greatest Hits" (MCA, 1982)

Merle Haggard "Merle Haggard His Best" (MCA, 1985)

Merle Haggard "His Epic Hits The First Eleven (To Be Continued)" (Epic, 1984)

Merle Haggard "Collector Series" (Capitol, 1990)

Merle Haggard "Vintage Collections" (Capitol, 1995)
Certainly no disappointment as far as a Merle best-of goes, but it's one of the least adventurous or enlightening discs in the Vintage series. It's basically interchangable with any other collection of Haggard's hits on Capitol.

Merle Haggard "Lonesome Fugitive: The Merle Haggard Anthology" (Razor & Tie, 1995)
A fine 2-CD anthology

Merle Haggard "The Essential Merle Haggard: The Epic Years" (Sony-BMG/Epic Legacy, 2004)

Merle Haggard "Hag: The Best Of Merle Haggard" (Capitol, 2006)

Merle Haggard "The Complete '60s Capitol Singles" (Omnivore, 2013)
You can't go wrong with a collection of Haggard's early Capitol singles, especially when the A-side hits are combined with the B-side backup songs, including gems such as "Falling For You," "The Longer You Wait" and "This Town's Not Big Enough," which are often forgotten on best-of sets and other reissues. Haggard was really on fire when he first hit the scene -- original songs like "Swinging Doors," "Mama Tried," "Silver Wings" and "Bottle Let Me Down" were all just doozies. Buck Owens might have handled the good-timing side of the Bakersfield Sound, but Haggard was its real poet-craftsman, and his stuff in the 'Sixties was his best, if you ask me. This is Merle at his absolute peak. This disc has the added advantage that the tracks are all mixed from the original Capitol masters, so the sound quality is pretty sweet. There are other Merle Haggard best-ofs that are equally satisfying, but this is a killer introduction to his early work, with a slightly more rootsy feel than collections which also go into his '70s stuff. Highly recommended!

Merle Haggard Discography: 1962-69 | 1970-1979 | 1980- Present | Best-Ofs Tributes & Links

Hick Music Index

Top photo credit: Norman Seeff, courtesy of Compendia Media.

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