A Taste of Yesterday's Wine Merle Haggard & George Jones

Album info

Album-Release:
1982

HRA-Release:
29.06.2015

Label: Sony Music Latin

Genre: Country

Subgenre: Country Folk

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Yesterday's Wine03:13
  • 2After I Sing All My Songs03:15
  • 3I Think I've Found a Way (To Live Without You)03:28
  • 4The Brothers04:01
  • 5Mobile Bay (Magnolia Blossoms)03:17
  • 6C.C. Waterback03:35
  • 7Silver Eagle03:35
  • 8Must've Been Drunk02:39
  • 9I Haven't Found Her Yet02:26
  • 10No Show Jones02:25
  • Total Runtime31:54

Info for A Taste of Yesterday's Wine

So what happens when you put two country music legends on the same record? Apparently Epic and Columbia were big on finding out in the early '80s. This set of Merle Haggard and George Jones is only one of a series -- Willie Nelson and Haggard did two--the frist netted a hit with Townes Van Zandt's 'Poncho and Lefty'-Ray Price, Leon Russell, Jones, and on and on. As to the album at hand, it's a satisfying, pleasant listen if not a mind-blowing one. Both men were experiencing resurgences in their careers, particularly Haggard, who was on a roll of fine records, and Jones had come off the enormous success I Am What I Am. Most of the tracks here are somewhat melancholy such as the title track by Nelson, 'After I Sing My Songs' by Haggard's wife at the time, and Merle's 'I Think I've Found a Way,' which are on the sad side, good for sipping whiskey on a cloudy afternoon. The pair's voices blend seamlessly and compliment each other in almost symbiotic fashion. The only problem is, Hag and Possum are a bit too courteous around one another. It's obvious they didn't set out to make a honky tonk record, but they did. Billy Sherrill in the producer's chair was swinging for the radio fences, and he got close, but even he stayed the hell out of the way most of the time here and let the music take its course, and this pair just treated each other deferentially. So side one is pure downer music, and side two picks up the tempo and the grit level. 'C.C. Waterback,' a Haggard tune written just for this session, is a pure drinking masterpiece with the two trying to keep from laughing their asses off. It's got Haggard's version of Bob Wills Western swing complete with a Dixieland trumpet solo. There's also the Vern Gosdin and Max Barnes honky tonk classic anthem 'Must've Been Drunk.' And the album closes with a novelty track that can be listened to over and over, a good-natured self-deprecating song by Jones called 'No Show Jones' due to his Sly Stone rep for not making his gigs. It's hilarious and sad at the same time, referencing all the country legends with their talents and reputations, and here, in good-time fashion, Jones disappears from the song too. This is a fine album for enjoyment among friends -- especially if you're not looking for revelation.“ (Thom Jurek, AMG)

George Jones, vocals, guitar
Merle Haggard, vocals, guitar
Jimmy Belkin, fiddle
Bobby Emmons, keyboards
Don Markham, trombone, trumpet
Terry McMillan, harmonica
Bobby Wood, keyboards
Hargus 'Pig' Robbins, keyboards
Weldon Myrick, steel guitar
Freddy Powers, guitar
Billy Sanford, guitar
Dave Kirby, guitar
Pete Bordonali, guitar
Bobby Thompson, guitar
Karen Taylor, backing vocals
Lea Jane Berinati, backing vocals
Hershel Wilginton, backing vocals
Leona Williams, vocals, harmony vocals
Dennis Wilson, backing vocals

Recorded at CBS Recordind Studios, Nashville, Tennessee
Engineered by Ron Reynolds, Ed Hudson
Mastering by MC Rather
Produced by Billy Sherrill

Digitally remastered


Merle Haggard
Though for the last decade his new recordings have received almost no airplay—in the innocently cruel Nashville taxonomy, he is classified as a living legend—Merle Ronald Haggard remains, with the arguable exception of Hank Williams, the single most influential singer-songwriter in country music history.

Haggard is certainly one of the genre’s most versatile artists. His repertory ranges wide: aching ballads (“Today I Started Loving You Again,” “Silver Wings”); sly, frisky narratives (“Old Man from the Mountain,” “It’s Been a Great Afternoon”); semi-autobiographical reflections (“Mama Tried,” “Hungry Eyes”), political commentaries (“Under the Bridge,” “Rainbow Stew”), proletarian homages (“Workin’ Man Blues,” “White Line Fever”), as well as drinking songs that are jukebox, cover-band, and closing-time standards (“Swinging Doors,” “The Bottle Let Me Down,” “I Think I’ll Just Sit Here and Drink”).

His acolytes are legion and include many of country music’s brightest and lesser lights, as well as thousands of nightclub musicians. As fiddler Jimmy Belken, a longtime member of the Strangers, Haggard’s exemplary touring band, once told The New Yorker, “If someone out there workin’ music doesn’t bow deep to Merle, don’t trust him about much anything else.”

Haggard was born poor, though not desperately so, in Depression-era Bakersfield to Jim and Flossie Haggard, migrants from Oklahoma. Jim, a railroad carpenter, died of a stroke in 1946, forcing Flossie to find work as a bookkeeper.

Flossie was a fundamentalist Christian and a stern, somewhat overprotective mother. Not surprisingly, Merle grew quickly from rambunctious to rake-hell. By his twenty-first birthday he had run away regularly from home, been placed in two separate reform schools (from which he in turn escaped a half-dozen times), worked as a laborer, played guitar and sung informally, begun a family, and performed sporadically at southern California clubs and, for three weeks, on the Smilin’ Jack Tyree Radio Show in Springfield, Missouri. He also spent time in local jails for theft and bad checks.

His woebegone criminal career culminated in 1957 when, drunk and confused, he was caught burglarizing a Bakersfield roadhouse. After an attempted escape from county jail, he was sent to San Quentin. There, in a final burst of antisocial activity, he got drunk on prison home brew, landing himself briefly in solitary confinement. He was paroled in 1960 and, after a fitful series of odd jobs, got a regular gig playing bass for Wynn Stewart in Las Vegas.

Another Bakersfield mainstay, Fuzzy Owen, signed Haggard to his tiny Tally Records in 1962. After recording five singles there—the first release, “Skid Row” b/w “Singin’ My Heart Out,” sold few copies; the fourth, “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers,” entered Billboard’s Top Ten (1965)—Haggard signed with Capitol. He moved to MCA in 1976, to Epic in 1981, and in 1990 to Curb.

He released his first album, Strangers, in 1965. Roughly seventy feature albums have followed. Counting repackagings, reissues, compilations, promotional and movie-soundtrack albums, as well as albums in which Haggard has participated—with the likes of Willie Nelson, Porter Wagoner, Johnny Paycheck, Bob Wills, Dean Martin, Ray Charles, and Clint Eastwood—the number of albums is likely more in the vicinity of the 150 mark.

Haggard has recorded more than 600 songs, about 250 of them his own compositions. (He often shares writing credits as gestures of financial and personal largess.) He has had thirty-eight #1 songs, and his “Today I Started Loving You Again” (Capitol, 1968) has been recorded by nearly 400 other artists.

In addition, Haggard is an accomplished instrumentalist, playing a commendable fiddle and a to-be-reckoned-with lead guitar. He and the Strangers played for Richard Nixon at the White House in 1973, at a barbecue on the Reagan ranch in 1982, at Washington’s Kennedy Center, and 60,000 miles from earth—courtesy of astronaut Charles Duke, who brought a tape aboard Apollo 16 in 1972. Haggard has won numerous CMA and ACM Awards including both organizations’ 1970 Entertainer of the Year awards, been nominated for scores of others, was elected to the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 1977, and won Country Music Hall of Fame membership in 1994. In 1984 he won a Grammy in the Best Country Vocal Performance, Male category for “That’s the Way Love Goes.”

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