Merle Haggard’s Country Music Songs
While country music has been a popular genre enjoyed by millions around the globe and all around the United States, many people have never given it the proper opportunity it truly deserves. They should honestly though, for reasons which could easily be explained – most often due to the fact that there are so many country music songs which everyone must listen to at some point in their life: because they tell stories, elicit emotions, and encourage listeners into their own world. This is why it is critical to learn the most effective ways to approach country music. So how do you go about doing this?
One strategy to take when learning about the rich history, traditional format, and soundbite of country music – as well as one that make it easy to recall it whenever desired – is to get a good country music reference book. Such a book would contain information on every country song ever made and also would provide background information on each of them. For instance, you might get a reference book which focused on the original hits by The Tragically Hip, if you were interested in hearing about The Who’s “My Year Away.” Or if you were looking for a great acoustic number, you might want to look for “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” from Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine man.”
In addition to these kinds of reference books, you may also want to visit a number of websites dedicated to country music and specifically to country music lyrics. One of the best known is the Wallace Page, which has an enormous number of fallacies listed: from beginning to end. As a result, you can see the fallacies which have interesting names, descriptions, and (in some cases) links to videos as well. One interesting Wallace in particular features the words, “At last, the red light district is awake. This is your chance to become famous.”
As you can imagine, this was a song written for the young people of the 1930s who were fighting for civil rights in the United States. There’s no question that the United State’s army of the past, the Women’s Army Corps, or the WAC, did much to help change the status of women in the country. But it was the country’s middle class whites, in the form of citizens, who provided the funding for these important institutions of higher learning. A great example of a song written by and for country music fans (and meant especially for the poor and disadvantaged), is George Feder, the country singer. He sang “ulators” (he used the word optimally) in a song whose title translates literally to “poor guys”.
One song written by Merle Haggard showcases both the beauty and power of country music. “My Old School” was inspired by the social work done by the school administrators during the time of the Great Depression. In the first verse, the words “My old school, they teach us to make the best of what we have” are spoken by Merle Haggard. And in the second verse, “My old school teaches me to take a stand, when other people see that I have a conscience” are spoken by Merle Haggard. To know that the country music icon has such deep convictions regarding social justice is almost like finding yourself in the middle of America.
The country music soundbite above, from the Merle Haggard classic, “My Old School”, contains another great message for today’s youth. In this soundbite, Haggard laments the lack of a good public school in America, and then goes on to outline his own personal philosophies on how to improve the conditions of those who are unable to afford private school. “A few more years,” he states, “a child will be able to learn free.” This is the same philosophical concept behind the civil rights movement and the goal of providing equal educational access for all children, regardless of their economic status. And by doing so, by making education available to everyone, it will also provide a better standard of living for them when they grow up.
Finally, the most famous line in the song, “My old man knows a good country song when he sees one,” comes from a speech that Merle Haggard gave at the Muskogee picnic in July of 1957. At the picnic, he gave an address on his philosophy of life, which included a moral judgment of the way people choose to live their lives. During his speech, he said that while some people may live in constant pain and hardship, he could not in good conscience live life as those who chose to lead a hard life. According to the standard of the good society, which is the kind of life that Merle Haggard was living, those who choose to lead such a life would indeed be worthy of trust. His speech received international acclaim and was printed in many newspapers around the world.
With his speech, Merle Haggard created quite an impact. President 1957 was Calvin Coolidge, who was an important conservative leader within the Republican party and had been an earlier target of the cultural left for his views on race and religion. On October 9th, President 1957 released a written statement recognizing the contributions of Merle Haggard to the country’s culture and also his efforts to help create a better America. Merle Haggard was posthumously nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, which is considered to be one of the most prestigious prizes in the world today.