So I’ve heard hipsters are now collecting tapes. Not to be outdone and to expand on my ever coveted music blogger cred, I present a special cassette edition of Random Records. Now don’t think I’m just pulling out a tape to be pulling one out. No sir, since downgrading my vehicle to a 99 Chevy Corolla to save cash (and gas), I’ve been blessed with a working sweet ass tape deck. First thing I did was go find that old box of tapes from high school and start listening to my old mixtapes. Some interesting things to be found but I won’t get into that here. The point I was trying to make is that I do in fact still listen to tapes, but only in my car, and mostly for nostalgia purposes (and sometimes for convenience).
The tape pictured above is one of my go to tapes. I think it may in fact be my only Merle Haggard tape….not sure on that because I stole a bunch of tapes from my dad when I got my first car….lots of Hank Jr, Waylon, Willie, etc..in those tapes. I love this particular tape here, especially now, because it doesn’t really have any of his big hits on it. That is to say, you are not likely to find any of these songs (except maybe “Making Believe”) on a Merle Haggard greatest hits compilation. Released in 1976 (originally on vinyl I’m guessing), it features the title track “A Working Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today” which is another working man’s anthem akin to “Working Man Blues” and makes a great companion to that song. Also featured on this album is a tribute to Lefty Frizzel called “Goodbye to Lefty” in which all the lyrics are made up of lyrics from Lefty songs. I feel I must also mention the song “I’m A White Boy” which may be the reason this album has never seen a re-release in the overly sensitive CD or digital eras. This song has Merle lamenting that he is just a white boy looking for a place to do his thing, wasn’t born and raised in a ghetto, trying to find him a welfare woman and a line of work that don’t take no diploma (great couplet there). The song is hilarious but I can’t find a digital copy of it to save my soul.
The song I will feature here is one of my all time favorite Merle Haggard songs…”The Running Kind”. Features one of my favorite lines “within me there’s a prison/surrounding me alone/as real as any dungeon with it’s walls of stone”. This song is pretty representative of the style found on most of the album (with the other songs more akin to “Making Believe”). That is to say, there is a lot of hot honky tonk playing on this thing. If anyone has a digital copy, I would love to get copy of it.