Home Read Classic Album Review: Merle Haggard | The Peer Sessions

Classic Album Review: Merle Haggard | The Peer Sessions

The Hag dusts off country classics — and restores them with restraint and respect.

366

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


Merle Haggard has few peers in country music. But that’s not the sort of peer these Peer Sessions are talking about.

This CD is a tribute to Ralph Peer, a music-publishing pioneer whose company controlled hundreds of hit tunes. Here, Haggard — who’s never met an old country number he didn’t like — dusts off a dozen classics from the catalogs of Jimmie Reed, Floyd Tillman and Jimmie Davis and restores them with restraint and respect. Backed by a tastefully understated, lightly swinging band, The Hag reins in his craggily dulcet voice to present chestnuts like Peach Pickin’ Time in Georgia, Shackles and Chains and Whippin’ That Old T.B. in all their unadorned, down-home glory. Just for the record, most of this was recorded back in the mid-’90s. But for fans of Haggard and classic country, these tunes are timeless. And, dare I say, peerless.