Friday, October 12, 2012


Bear Family Release 4 CD Box Set With 68 Page Book

After his eleven year tenure with Capitol Records, which charted 40 Top Ten Singles (24 of them number one’s), Merle Haggard signed with MCA in 1976. His complete recordings for this label are now released by Bear Family, following on from the three earlier box sets that featured his former label material.

MERLE HAGGARD   The Troubadour (Bear Family BCD 17250 DK)

Although Haggard continued to enjoy great success on Capitol, he had begun thinking about semi-retirement, “wanting to get out of the limelight before I got too old” he told Chicago Tribune columnist Jack Hurst, then pondered what would be missed if he did quit. Around the same time the situation at Capitol was changing, with Buck Owens' contract adversely affecting the other artists on the label and producer Ken Nelson having no say in either recordings or release schedules. But Nelson, who nurtured the artist’s creativity, agreed to carry on supervising Haggard’s sessions until his contract expired in 1976, after his own retirement a couple of years earlier.

So, after a five month break, Merle Haggard re-assembled The Strangers, signed on Leona Williams as part of his show (at the same time time beginning a stormy personal relationship and, in time, a brief marriage) and looked around for the best record deal. It came with MCA and he commenced recording his first album during Christmas week 1976, with Nashville becoming his home base for the majority of recordings during the following years.

His association with MCA was far shorter than his days with Capitol and his recorded output - 111 tracks spanning from 1976 to 1981 - was a far more eclectic mix. And, although he might have been competing with the label's heavy sellers Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn and Tanya Tucker, he did enjoy sixteen chart entries (the majority being Top 10, if not Top 5) – If We’re Not in Love By Monday; Ramblin’ Fever/When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again; From Graceland To The Promised Land ; I’m Always on A Mountain When I Fall; It’s Been A Great Afternoon/Love Me When You Can; Red Bandana/I Must Have Done Something Bad; My Own Kind Of hat/Heaven Was A Drink Of Wine; The Way I Am; Misery and gin; Leonard; Rainbow Stew; Dealing With The Devil; It’s All In The Game; Make-Up And Faded Blue Jeans; and the chart-topping I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink.

He also charted a duet with Leona Williams, The Bull And The Beaver, and another number one, Bar Room Buddies, this being a duet with Clint Eastwood from the soundtrack of Eastwood’s movie Bronco Billy and released on Elektra Records, also included in this box set.

He released eight LPs, the first being Ramblin’ Fever with the majority of tracks produced by Hank Cochran at Nashville’s Glaser Studio and two – I Think It’s Gone Forever and If We’re Not In Love By Monday being the final items under the helm of Ken Nelson at Hollywood’s Capitol Studio. The album was soon followed by My Farewell To Elvis, his loving tribute to the entertainment whom he had met in Las Vegas in 1969 – “I left his suite disappointed because Elvis didn’t really seem ‘bigger than life’ offstage. I guess I felt a little bit cheated to discover that he was a human being like the rest of us” he reflects in Dave Samuelson’s detailed notes in this set’s accompanying book.

Nevertheless, in spite of the disappointment, Presley's music impacted upon Haggard and this tribute collection – produced by “Fuzzy” Owen at the Jack Clement Studio in two quick sessions – revived eight Presley hits, led off by Hag's original From Graceland To The Promised Land (written during the course of a relatively short car journey) and concluded with a few brief words. Although it was rush released, Haggard requested that MCA hold the album until late October as he didn’t want it seem that he was exploiting Presley’s death. He had recorded tribute albums previously (in particular, the Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills collections), but this set presented Haggard in fresh surroundings with his interpretations of such as Are You Lonesome Tonight, Don’t Be Cruel, Heartbreak Hotel and Blue Suede Shoes.

During this period of his life, the songs frequently reflected his dark mood fuelled by drugs and alcohol, and further aided by his tempestuous co-dependency with Leona Williams – and possibly best heard by the album I’m Always on A Mountain When I Fall with its array of ballads, described by one journalist as “distressingly slow-moving” but enhancing the album’s reputation among long-time Haggard aficionados, with the track It’s Been A Great Afternoon working out as one of the singer’s better selling singles. Then came Serving 101 Proof, with Haggard regaining writing enthusiasm after his marriage to Williams (Bob Eubanks, who booked live shows for a decade, once told the singer that he was at his most creative when he was having women troubles). This album also introduced newly installed MCA VP Jimmy Bowen as producer who, determined to change the way Nashville recorded music, only cut one or two songs on a session (instead of the normal four) and took three months to finish work on this ten song collection, even though Haggard handled most of the production!

The Way I Am – recorded piecemeal with three different producers ("Fuzzy" Owen, Don Gant and Porter Wagoner) – mixed new songs, including four originals, with oldies from veterans Ernest Tubb and Floyd Tillman. The title track, which rose to #2 in the charts, captured the singer’s mood and philosophy at the time. Then came Back To The Barrooms, with its lengthy I Think I’ll Stay Here And Drink, giving the singer his only number one on the label, and Leonard, his poignant tribute to the troubled Tommy Collins. Three songs that never made the album, Help Save The Wild Life, Lay Your Hands On My Heart and Dealing With The Devil are issued for the first time in this box set.

Merle Haggard’s final two albums for MCA (before he moved on to Epic) comprised a hot concert recording – Rainbow Stew: Live In Anaheim – and Songs For The Mama That Tried, a beautiful set of gospel songs dedicated to his 92 year old mother, Flossie Haggard Scott. Besides including such familiar items as What A Friend We Have In Jesus and Keep On The Sunny Side, it includes Hank Williams' When God Comes And Gathers His Jewels and newer material by Kris Kristofferson (Why Me) and Marijohn Wilkin (One Day At A Time) with the penultimate track, The Old Rugged Cross, including a deeply moving testament to his mother.

In addition to the commercially released items, MCA had one other album in the can which Epic acquired as the label didn’t want their product undermined by previously recorded material. Reportedly paying $120,000 for the ten unreleased masters (all presented in this collection), the majority of these tracks appeared on the 1984 collection It’s All In The Game. Headed up by the much recorded pop standard title track, the album also included Pennies From Heaven intended as a unrealized Bing Crosby tribute.

Among the other items in this set is the recently discovered, original version of Troubadour and three items - The Man In The Mask alongside two narrations - produced by Britain’s John Barry (best known for his work on the James Bond films) for the soundtrack of the commercially doomed movie The Legend Of The Lone Ranger.

As can be expected from Bear Family, the recordings are accompanied by a lavishly produced, LP size hard cover book – on this occasion running 68 pages in which Dave Samuelson’s informative notes about this period of this artist’s life and recordings are interjected with anecdotes and supplementary information with many comments by the artist himself. (The box set was produced with Haggard's full co-operation). The book has such fine diversions as a summary of the earlier Capitol years; the passages related to Leona Williams, “a crazy stubborn woman had a lot of strange ideas”; attempting to record on his isolated cabin on Lake Shasta and ending up with a lot of farmyard noises; Jimmy Bowen’s approach to recording country music, creating larger budgets and using different musicians; the ignored “live” version of The Fightin’ Side Of Me to capitalize on a middle-east political situation; and concludes with several paragraphs devoted to his career after MCA. Illustrated with numerous photographs and reproductions of album covers, there’s also a Scrapbook section and discography.

Other Merle Haggard releases on Bear Family Records:
Untamed Hawk (Tally & Capitol recordings 1962-68) (5 cd box set and 52 page book) – BCD 15744 EI
Hag (Capitol studio recordings 1969-76) (6 cd box set with 140 page book) – BCD 16749 FK
Hag (Capitol recording 1968-76: Concepts, Live & The Strangers) (6 cd box set with 120 page book) – BCD 16782 FK
Same train – A Different Time (cd with 20 page booklet) – BCD 15740 AH
Old Loves Never Die (duets with Leona Williams) (cd with 24 page booklet) – BCD 16411 AH

Merle Haggard’s duet album with Bonnie Owens “Just Between The two Of Us” is included in the Bonnie Owens’ collection Queen Of The Coast (4 cd box set with 76 page book) – BCD 16178 DK


“MARIE” OCTOBER 16, 2012



Nashville, TN (October 12, 2012) - Tune in Tuesday, October 16, at 12:00pm ET/11:00am CT to watch country music’s Danielle Peck debut her new single, “Impossible Dreams,” on Marie Osmond’s new daytime talk show, “Marie,” on the Hallmark Channel. Available now on ITunes, “Impossible Dreams” was written by Lari White, Chuck Cannon and Todd Portmann and features powerful lyrics that deliver a message of encouragement to overcome challenges and reach for dreams that may seem unattainable.

Peck has also been invited to serve as emcee for MGM Grand’s Gold Buckle Battle of the Bands in several US cities during the month of October.  The competition, which began September 21, features more than 30 bands, with the winners serving as the house band for the Crown Royal Gold Buckle Zone at the MGM Grand Las Vegas during the national rodeo finals December 6 – 15.  Peck will emcee the competitions at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill locations across the country including Mesa, Arizona (October 13); Rancho Cucamonga, CA (October 20); Denver, CO (October 27); and Dallas, TX (November 3). Visit for more information on Battle of the Bands and tickets.

Sponsors of the event include Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill Chain, Roper Apparel & Footwear, Crown Royal Black, and Country Jam Festivals.  A representative from each sponsor will serve as judge for the contest, with a special celebrity judge joining at each location.  The winning band will serve as the Official MGM Grand’s House Band during National Rodeo Finals December 6-15 and take home over $30,000 in cash for performances, a new wardrobe valued at $10,000, and future performances at Country Jam and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill locations.

For more information on Danielle Peck, visit

Country Music News International October 12. 2012

Here is your Country Music News of the day from Country Music News International . Your Country Music News is supported by, Flynnville Train, , Steel Guitar Nashville, , HelpCharity, , Bobbe Seymour, , Katsy Redstar

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Debut Single Sells Over 500,000 Copies In Just Five Months & Over 10,000 In One Day

FGL Gold

While in New York City for the sold-out, opening night of “CMT On Tour” hot country/rock duo Florida Georgia Line was surprised with plaques commemorating their GOLD-certified single, “Cruise.” Tyler Hubbard (Georgia) and Brian Kelley (Florida) celebrated at Carmine’s with their extended label families, including Big Machine Label Group CEO/President Scott Borchetta; BMLG Executive Vice President/Republic Nashville President Jimmy Harnen; Republic Nashville Vice President of Promotion Matthew Hargis; Island Def Jam & Republic Records Chairman/CEO Barry Weiss; Republic Records’ President/CEO Monte Lipman, Co-President/COO Avery Lipman, Executive Vice President Tom Mackay, Executive Vice President of Radio Promotions & Artist Development Joel Klaiman, Vice President Business Affairs Dan Getz and Vice President of Radio Promotions David Nathan and as well as manager Seth England and booking agent Kevin Neal.
Photo Courtesy of Sweet Talk Publicity
Nashville, TN (October 11, 2012) – While in New York City to kick off the “CMT On Tour” last night (10/10), Republic Nashville’s hot country rock duo Florida Georgia Line celebrated a major career milestone – GOLD certification in the U.S. for their debut single, “Cruise.” The RIAA has acknowledged the Top 20 single for selling over 500,000 copies in just five months. With infectious lyrics and a buoyant melody, the tune reached a high with over 10,000 in one day; was certified Gold in Canada and sits in the Top 5 nationally on iTunes Country Charts. Label executives and management surprised FGL with the big news and a special plaque to commemorate the occasion just before they took the stage to perform at the Best Buy Theater. 

“If the adrenaline wasn’t pumping enough just being on the CMT Tour with our pal (and headliner) Jake Owen, it certainly is now! We are just blown away to have earned so many fans already, who are investing in our music,” said FGL’s Tyler Hubbard of Monroe, Georgia.

“This is so cool! We have had so many great opportunities already and for our debut single to go GOLD already … there just aren’t any words!” added FGL’s Brian Kelley from Ormond Beach, Florida.

FGL brings a fresh sound to the genre that combines electrifying, hard-driving rock with honest, expressive lyrics. “Cruise” is featured on their EP It’z Just What We Do produced by Joey Moi. With energetic live shows and compelling tunes, it’s no wonder that FGL has previously gained the attention of other headlining acts – Brantley Gilbert and the annual Country Throwdown Tour – as well as rave reviews from the inaugural “CMT On Tour” stop.
For tour dates and more, visit

ABOUT REPUBLIC NASHVILLE: In May 2009 Scott Borchetta, President and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group and Monte Lipman, President and CEO of Universal Republic, announced the formation of its new label partnership – Republic Nashville. BMLG Executive Vice President Jimmy Harnen also serves as President of the label. The imprint is headquartered on Music Row and utilizes the combined resources of Big Machine and Universal Republic Records. The two companies first joined forces in 2007 to propel Country Superstar Taylor Swift. Republic Nashville's artist roster includes Grammy-winning, multi-platinum superstar Martina McBride; Grammy-nominated, Quadruple-Platinum sensations The Band Perry; Platinum-selling breakout act Eli Young Band; newcomers Florida Georgia Line, Greg Bates and RaeLynn.

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