January 2-6 – Richie Havens and Merle Haggard

Richie Havens – Something Else Again

I wish I could say I’ve seen live all the musicians I’ll discuss in this blog.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen a handful of them, and in the case of Richie Havens I was able to meet him as well.  He radiated just as much grace and peace while chatting with me and signing my copy of his debut album Mixed Bag as he did on stage.

This followup to that fantastic 1966 debut came in January.  While Havens is best known for his unique and very tasteful covers of songs by other major songwriters, the opening track was written by Richie and covered two years later by Yes on their Time and a Word album.  There will be more on Havens come August of 1969 when he opened Woodstock with a very memorable and courageous performance.

 

January 2

Merle Haggard – Sing Me Back Home

After all my prefacing about my music interests and the incredible rock music from 1968 to be discussed, one of my first official posts on a 1968 release is about…a country album?  I won’t pretend to be very knowledgeable about country music.  Growing up, country music was for the shit kickers at the back of the school bus who spat tobacco juice into their communal Folgers can strategically placed on the floor in the aisle.  Johnny and Willie, o.k., but the rest of it?  No thanks.  Thankfully I’ve come around, at least with some of the classics.  I saw Merle Haggard a few years back when he opened for Dylan.  I quickly came to view it as a twin bill because on that night I thought Merle was better than Bob, and I consider myself a fairly serious Dylan fan.  I was driving through Muskogee, OK a couple of years ago and noticed a billboard advertising a country music festival to be headlined by the Okie himself that June.  Sadly, Merle had passed away on his 79th birthday, April 9.  The billboard remained up for some time.

Merle.JPG

The title track to that January 2, 1968 release spent a couple weeks at #1 on Billboard’s country chart, and was written in tribute to a fellow inmate of Haggard’s at San Quentin where he spent three years:

 

January 6

On this date, the Gibson Guitar Corp. patented the Flying V guitar.

Jimi Hendrix _ live.jpg

 

 

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