SING ME BACK HOME

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • SING ME BACK HOME
    Merle Haggard is an American country music singer, guitarist and songwriter. Despite
    serving a prison term in the early 1960s, Merle Haggard has become one of the true
    giants of country music, as a singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Along with Buck
    Owens, Haggard and his band “The Strangers” helped create the Bakersfield Sound,
    which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster guitars, vocal
    harmonies, and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville Sound recordings
    of the same era. After earning a local reputation, Haggard’s money problems caught up
    with him. He was arrested for robbing a Bakersfield tavern in 1957 and was sent to prison
    in San Quentin for 10 years.
    Even while in prison, Haggard was wild, running a gambling and brewing racket from his
    cell. Merle attended three of Johnny Cash‘s concerts at San Quentin. Seeing Cash perform
    inspired Haggard to straighten up and pursue his singing. Several years later, at another
    Cash concert, Haggard came up to Johnny and told him “I certainly enjoyed your show at
    San Quentin.” Cash said “Merle, I don’t remember you bein’ in that show.” Merle
    Haggard said, “Johnny, I wasn’t in that show, I was in the audience.” In the early ’70s the
    Grateful Dead began performing Haggard’s tunes “Mama Tried” and “Sing Me Back
    Home” and they stayed in their regular repertoire thereafter; singer-activist Joan Baez,
    whose political leanings couldn’t be more different from those expressed in Haggard’s
    above-referenced songs, nonetheless covered “Sing Me Back Home” and Mama Tried
    in 1969. The Everly Brothers also used both songs in their 1968 country-rock album
    Roots.
    The warden led a prisoner down the hallway to his doom
    I stood up to say good-bye like all the rest
    And I heard him tell the warden just before he reached my cell
    ‘Let my guitar playing friend do my request.’ (Let him…)
    Sing me back home with a song I used to hear
    Make my old memories come alive
    Take me away and turn back the years
    Sing Me Back Home before I die
    I recall last Sunday morning a choir from ‘cross the street
    Came to sing a few old gospel songs
    And I heard him tell the singers ‘There’s a song my mama sang.
    Can I hear once before we move along?’
    Sing me back home, the song my mama sang
    Make my old memories come alive
    Take me away and turn back the years
    Sing Me Back Home before I die
  • Sing Me Back Home before I die