First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2006, Volume 13, #1
Written by Dan MacIntosh
Anybody who still thinks that Merle Haggard is merely the conservative reactionary reflected in his old song Okie From Muskogee obviously hasnít heard his latest effort Chicago Wind. Containing a pro-civil liberties message, Whereís All the Freedom easily could be confused as the new theme song for the A.C.L.U. Elsewhere, America First reveals his displeasure with the ongoing war in Iraq.
Haggard, of course, has never been hesitant about mixing social commentary with his distinctive brand of country music. Yet, thereís more to Chicago Wind than its political content. On What Iíve Been Meaning to Say, Haggard explores the difficulties of communicating within a relationship, while on Some of Us Fly, a duet with current superstar Toby Keith, he details lifeís everyday ups and downs. With White Man Singiní the Blues, Haggard states what many have long believed: that great country music can be as affecting as the blues.
Unfortunately, not every track on Chicago Wind is successful. Despite its brassy colorations, for example, Mexico falls flat.
Even so, it is worth noting that Chicago Wind marks Haggardís return to Capitol, for which he made some of the finest recordings of his career. Without a doubt, Chicago Wind proves that Haggard hasn't lost his touch.
Editor's Note: This review has been edited and reprinted with the full
permission of Country Standard Time.
Chicago Wind is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box