2 LPs in 1 CD: HAG (1971)/SOMEDAY WE'LL LOOK BACK (1972).
Audio Remasterer: Randy LeRoy.
Liner Note Author: Joel Selvin.
Real country simply doesn't get any better than this. The albums paired on this twofer, HAG and SOMEDAY WE'LL LOOK BACK, both released in 1971, were two of Merle Haggard's best. Given the wealth of quality material in his discography, that's saying quite a bit.
Both albums tend toward Hag's more introspective side, featuring ballads and downtempo tunes that artfully mix his Bakersfield honky tonk roots with folk, blues, and occasional pop tendencies. What really stands out--in addition to Haggard's aching baritone croon--is the consistently excellent songwriting, which touches on themes personal ("I'm a Good Loser"), social ("California Cottonfields"), and political ("I've Done it All"). Individually, HAG and SOMEDAY WE'LL LOOK BACK are stone-cold country classics. To have them both on one CD (with bonus tracks, no less) is almost too good to be true.
Rolling Stone (p.95) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Haggard proved how crucial it was for a country guy to say what was on his mind -- and because he was such a sublime recording artist, he was able to make it stick, right from the start."