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Same Train - A Different Time: A Tribute To Jimmie Rodgers
Genres: Country, Pop
Oddly enough, Merle Haggard first heard the songs of Jimmie Rodgers on Lefty Frizzell's 1951 tribute record. Just as Frizzell (as well as Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb) did, Haggard took advantage of his station atop the count... more »
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Oddly enough, Merle Haggard first heard the songs of Jimmie Rodgers on Lefty Frizzell's 1951 tribute record. Just as Frizzell (as well as Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb) did, Haggard took advantage of his station atop the country charts by paying homage to country's first legendary figure. Recorded across seven sessions between August 1968 and February 1969, the double-album Same Train barely registered on radar screens upon its initial release, but it remains a loving memorial to one of Hag's idols as well as one of Hag's most sensitive and engaging vocal performances. After all, Haggard could easily relate to the displaced and disillusioned characters that Rodgers portrayed. It's also testament to Rodgers's genius that his characters stayed relevant and his music fit seamlessly into the Strangers' clothes 40 years after the fact. --Marc Greilsamer
Must Have--for Jimmie Rodgers or Haggard fans
LtCol Richard L. Jones (USAF-Retire | Warner Robins, GA USA | 08/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Back in the late 60's I bought the LP record version of this album, and when I heard it, I went back to the store and bought another copy, which I keep in pristine, unplayed condition. Now I have a CD which I can play endlessly without worrying too much about deterioration. So many people have performed songs by Jimmie Rodgers, but this album by Merle Haggard is so far above the rest we need a new way to describe it. It just reaches down into your soul. When you have material like this and an artist like this to perform it, it just doesn't get any better, to use a trite phrase. The technical quality of this CD is very nearly the same as my old LP, also, which is a plus. I only wish Merle had included "TB Blues" in this album--but the CD containing this tune recorded live is a good second one to get, anyway. (The Best of Country Blues)"
A Haggard Classic
LtCol Richard L. Jones (USAF-Retire | 05/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like a quick aside from his rapidly ascending career, Haggard recorded this tribute after the Strangers had perfected their pre-swing mixture of electric honky-tonk and sophisticated folk-country. As a result, the album remains a C&W landmark. Among the other major stars of his day, only Haggard recorded with his road band all of the time, and the virtuosic fretwork of Roy Nichols, James Burton, and Norm Hamlet (steel and dobro) drives every track. To the musical backing, Haggard lends his unmistakeably smooth vocals. He pulls off an amazing representation of Jimmie Rodgers' tough, little-guy machismo (which he shares) on the best tracks, which include all of the blues numbers. If the sentimental songs on the disc are generally a little weaker, "Waiting for a Train" still provides the record's transcendent moment. Neither can one divorce the musical brilliance from Haggard's use of the songs to make a socio-political statement. When he chose to do a tribute album, Haggard clearly intended to use Rodgers' hard times, Depression-era songs to convey his idea of late 60's populism, which he advanced in tunes of his own like "Mama's Hungry Eyes" and "Workin' Man Blues." The album, despite lackluster commercial success, remains one of C&W's defining records."
A Great Tribute To Rodgers
James E. Bagley | Sanatoga, PA USA | 09/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Released in 1969 as a double album, Same Train A Different Time received little attention when first issued, yet it has deservedly grown in popularity and stature over the years. Here Haggard tackles twenty Jimmie Rodgers classics like "California Blues," "Frankie & Johnny," and "Muleskinner Blues" with great affection for the material. Having survived a destitute youth, Haggard obviously identified with the Depression Era songs. The backing musicians (including the legendary James Burton - a sideman for Rick Nelson and Elvis) are also first-rate and Haggard's yodeling is surprisingly strong. It all combines for a wonderful tribute to the Singing Brakeman."