September 18, 1978 12:00 PM

Merle Haggard

While the man sings real good, his insistence on squeezing spongy social philosophy into every LP becomes increasingly tiresome. (Everybody who always wondered about the sincerity of Okie from Muskogee raise a hand.) The stumping in this album shows up in The Immigrant, which he co-wrote and which decries the exploitation of alien farm workers. However justifiable his view, Haggard is totally uninteresting. Contrast that song with It’s Been a Great Afternoon, where the lyrics at least don’t create antagonism toward the melody. It is the hit single of the LP, which ought to give some kind of message to ole Merle.

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