In my not so humble opinion, there has never been a greater Country Music artist than Merle Haggard.  I love Willie, I love Jones, and I could listen to George Strait all day.

But hey, there's only one Merle.

With the hundreds of great songs the man has released since the mid 1960's (and all the songs that have become country music standards), here's my Top Ten Merle songs.

10) Mama Tried - From 1968, this is classic early Merle music.  The opening licks of this song are among the most identifiable in country music history.  Plus it always makes me think of my mama.

9) Roots Of My Raising - In 1975 Merle had a hit with this great tune about going home.  Love the recitation in this, a lost country music art. Plus we'd all like to go home if it could be like it was.

8) Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man) - Merle gave us this nugget in 1971. A great story about growing up and a family persevering despite overwhelming odds.

7) I'm A Lonesome Fugitive - Merle gave us a great glimpse into his personal life in this 1967 country standard. And what a life it's been for the Hag.

6) My Own Kind Of Hat - This 1979 hit wasn't among Merle's biggest ever, but as someone who does some writing myself, I just love the way he strung the words together.

5) Old Man From The Mountain - Sometimes you just want to crank up Merle and sing along with a nice up-tempo tune. This 1974 hit fills that bill.

4) The Farmer's Daughter - If you have a daughter you love like I do, well you'll know why this is on my list. Give it a listen.

3) That's The Way Love Goes - In 1983 Merle gave that Haggard spin to this Country Music classic.  Lefty wrote it, Rodriguez topped the charts with it, but give me the Merle version anytime.

2) Mama's Hungry Eyes - From 1969, Merle at his absolute best.

1) In My Next Life - This came out in 1994 and did very little on the Country Music charts.  You see, by 1994 Merle was "too old" for mainstream country music.  He had been in effect kicked to the curb.  If this song had been released in 1970 it would have been the song of the year.  This is pure Merle.  Why? Because it moves you.  That's what a great song is supposed to do.

I know, I know, I know, "Okie From Muskogee" isn't even on the list.  Merle's signature song. Guess that says something about how much I love Merle. If you do too, just listen to my "Mess" weekday afternoons, and you'll hear plenty!

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