Haggard Like Never Before Do not mistake Haggard Like Never Before -- a deceptively jaunty, brief (a tad over half an hour) album -- as minor Merle Haggard. While… Haggard Like Never Before Do not mistake Haggard Like Never Before -- a deceptively jaunty, brief (a tad over half an hour) album -- as minor Merle Haggard. While… 2003-09-30 Merle Haggard Country
Music Review

Haggard Like Never Before (2003)

Merle Haggard | 'HAGGARD' GOLD This old coot only gets better with age
'HAGGARD' GOLD This old coot only gets better with age
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Sep 30, 2003; Lead Performance: Merle Haggard; Genre: Country

Do not mistake Haggard Like Never Before -- a deceptively jaunty, brief (a tad over half an hour) album -- as minor Merle Haggard. While the title song invites you to apply the pun of his surname to his aging musical prowess, the music refutes his joshing. There's a lotta spunk in the old coot: Beyond the typically anti-media, anti-Iraq-war-policy politics behind the single ''That's the News,'' ''Never Before'' has a fun novelty song (''Garbage Man''), a great ballad (''The Downside''), and a beautiful ballad (''Because of Your Eyes''). And, except for the novelty number, he wrote all those, and he sings them in a voice that, impossibly, has grown smoother and more flexible with age.

Originally posted Oct 17, 2003 Published in issue #733 Oct 17, 2003 Order article reprints
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