Tag Archives: Merle Haggard

When You Were Mine

I’ve been listening today to a lot of early Merle Haggard. He’s always been one of my biggest influences, particularly as a songwriter — although as a singer, particularly his work in the sixties, there was NOBODY as fluid or versatile, not even Elvis, as far as I’m concerned, and for me that’s saying a lot. Anyway, drawing water from the Merle well is always inspirational, and to drink such early vintage is heady stuff, which inspired me to write another drinking song.

Yes, my body wears the scars
from long nights spent at the bar;
I’ve grown old before my time
Become vintage, like this wine.

In my younger, bolder days
I followed wild and dangerous ways;
Now I’m tired and worn clear through
by those things I used to do.

If I could go back, try to undo
the ways I tried to get over you,
instead of drinking, try something new,
what would that get me, what would that prove?

There’s too much sorrow, too much pain;
don’t want to live through it all again.
I’d rather wear out before my time
than relive remembering when you were mine.

I’ve poured fortunes down the drain,
spent nights standing out in the rain,
grown sick and tired, and aged 10 years,
much like the whiskey I’ve got right here.

You should have seen me in my prime:
I was so reckless, it was sublime;
Now I’m just waiting around to see
how long it takes to lose all of me.

If I could go back, try to undo
the ways I tried to get over you,
instead of drinking, try something new,
what would that get me, what would that prove?

There’s too much sorrow, too much pain;
don’t want to live through it all again.
I’d rather wear out before my time
than relive remembering when you were mine.

16 JAN 2006

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Your Right

for Merle Haggard

I’m an easy-going guy as far as that’s concerned
I tend to only simmer where another fellow burns
Let live and go on living is the lesson that I’ve learned
I only ask for the same in return

Some fellows look for reasons to get into fights
They claim its just protection of their natural rights
But that’s no call to start a brawl near every night
When I’m trying to relax and just get tight

You’re free to exercise your right to party
You’re free to get real loud and cause a scene
You’re free to get attention by stating your intention
To go through life big, ugly, dumb and mean

This country was built in the name of freedom
and to protect it, I will come to blows
Your rights mean something to me,
but don’t bring ’em too close to me, ’cause
your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.

I’m patriotic, and I’ll wave the flag now and again
My country’s enemies are mine, and its friends are my friends
But there’s a way that breaks, and one that merely bends,
and it looks like you’ve confused them once again.

You’re free to exercise your right to party
You’re free to get real loud and cause a scene
You’re free to get attention by stating your intention
To go through life big, ugly, dumb and mean

This country was built in the name of freedom
and to protect it, I will come to blows
Your rights mean something to me,
but don’t bring ’em too close to me, ’cause
your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.

16 JAN 2006

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Lucky Number

I’m thinking about the Bakersfield sound, and a song by Merle Haggard in particular — “I Must Have Been Somebody Else You’ve Known”, which as far as I can tell is only available in a version by the International Submarine Band (Gram Parsons’ outfit pre-Sweetheart of the Rodeo and Flying Burritos). Thinking about Buck Owens, too, and that brother act / close harmony from Appalachia married with Western Swing, and also thinking about how lucky I am to be in the relationship I’m in — a gamble that has paid off in dividends beyond my wildest imagination.

For my lucky number (#25)

Love’s always been a lottery as far as I’m concerned
You lay your money down, you roll the dice, and you get burned
A sure thing Friday night’s all right ’til Sunday comes around
And you find out the race was fixed; one more lost weekend down.

Where lady luck’s concerned I’ve struck out nearly every time
My credit’s gone to hell and I’m down to my last worn dime
While other guys get lucky I’m the one shot down in flames
But I’m back every weekend just the same …

I’m hoping that you’ll be my lucky number, ’cause I’ve got everything I own on you.
You’ve got all my wheels spinning, feels like I just might be winning
and my losing streak will finally break in two.
I’m hoping that you’ll be my lucky number, and that I’ll end ahead this time around;
Oh, seven come eleven, won’t you be my slice of heaven
and I’ll end my gambling ways and settle down.

Love’s always been a game of chance where all the money cards
seem to escape my hand, my plans die fast and they die hard;
A solid bet on some coquette turns into morning rain
A fleeting song, goodbye, so long and I’m alone again

Where passion sparks, my matches are soaked through with bitter tears
I’m left holding a worthless stub when the racetrack is cleared
While other guys are finding love they probably don’t deserve
I’m at the low end of the romance curve …

I’m hoping that you’ll be my lucky number, ’cause I’ve got all my hopes tied up in you.
You’ve got all my wheels spinning, feels like I might be winning
and this losing streak I’m on will soon be through.
I’m hoping that you’ll be my lucky number, and that I’ll hit the jackpot finally;
Oh, seven come eleven, won’t you be my slice of heaven
get lucky with a poor gambler like me.

19 DEC 2005

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