This extensive best-of illustrates both the breadth of Merle Haggard's songwriting and his ability to unerringly hit a nerve with the American public. Blue-collar songs, drinking songs, outlaw songs, and prison songs are all well-represented here. Barroom songs like "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink," well-known redneck anthems like "The Fightin' Side of Me" and "Okie From Muskogee," and hard-edged yet deeply felt songs like "If We Make It Through December" and "It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)" illustrate Haggard's identification with his hardscrabble roots and his facility with a lyric. There's also the bonus inclusion of duets with George Jones and Willie Nelson on "Yesterday's Wine" and "Pancho and Lefty," respectively. 40 #1 HITS is an enlightening overview of the most successful work of one of country music's great treasures.