Merle Haggard passed away on April 6, 2016. Haggard, a country music giant, wrote hundreds of great songs in his multi-decade career but this one might be my favorite. “Sing Me Back Home” was released in November 1967, and topped the country charts that winter. I discovered it through the Grateful Dead who covered it (the also covered another Haggard chestnut “Mama Tried” ). Gram Parsons also recorded a version but his was only released after his death.
Merle Haggard, came to personify the “Bakersfield Sound” which was grittier (and to me better) than most of what was coming out of Nashville. His life story (too long to go into in detail here) included time riding the rails and doing time in San Quentin where he heard Johnny Cash perform in 1958. Start with his wikipedia entry here and you’ll get an idea of what kind of life he had. RIP Merle.