My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Daily Archives: May 20, 2016

Classic Rewind: Merle Haggard – ‘Makeup And Faded Blue Jeans’

Album Review: Merle Haggard – ‘5:01 Blues’

Merle_Haggard_-_5-01_Blues5:01 Blues was Merle Haggard’s final album for Epic Nashville, released in 1989. This distinction couldn’t come a moment too soon as relations between Haggard and the label had been breaking down for some time.

Despite the tensions, four singles were released from the album. The title track, a workingman’s anthem, peaked at #18. “If you want to be My Woman,” a mid-tempo honky-tonker, stalled at #23. The traditionally minded “Broken Friend” became Haggard’s first single to fail to chart. Through it all he did manage one final top 5, the horn-drenched ballad “A Better Love Next Time,” which hit #4.

Haggard had a hand in writing or co-writing the majority of the ten tracks on 5:01 Blues. The ballads “Wouldn’t That Be Somethin’” and “A Thousand Lies Ago” are unremarkable at best and fail to have any qualities that would render them memorable. “Somewhere Down The Line” and “Someday We’ll Know” are better, with steel and fiddle throughout, although they’re really just more of the same.

5:01 Blues is a terrible album, wrought with Haggard’s complete lack of inspiration. It’s as if he gave up, and tried to pull the wool over our eyes. He’s better than this.

Grade: C