Sunday, January 11, 2009


The great Merle Haggard threw down the gauntlet in the "culture wars" of the 1960s in his song "Okie From Muskogee": the song started out with the lyric "We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee." It was a pretty outright anti-hippie and anti-rock and roll song. It didn't change the way many rock and rollers felt about him though: noted marijuana enthusiasts The Grateful Dead covered his classic "Mama Tried." But in a recent Reuters story, he says that he's been having a hard time kicking pot - he's quitting both pot and tocacco after having a lemon-sized tumor removed (he had lung cancer).

I saw Merle open for Bob Dylan a few years ago, he was pretty bad-ass, and at least as good as Bob. I hope he goes on for a long time. I've actually enjoyed some of Merle's recent albums, like If I Could Only Fly (on the punk label Anti-) and his collaboration with (another) noted pot user Willie Nelson and Ray Price, The Last Of The Breed.

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