May 11

“Sing Me Back Home”: Is It Merle Haggard’s or Don Williams’?

Do Williams
Nashville Portraits: Don Williams. Photo by Jim McGuire

Merle Haggard “The Hag” and Don Williams “The Gentle Giant” are two of the best country artists in history. Their style and choice of music may differ, but both can, undeniably, move people. They can, indeed, touch our hearts and soul.

These two legends have one thing in common. They have their interpretation of one of the best country songs ever penned “Sing Me Back Home.” Moreover, the song was primarily recorded by Merle Haggard in 1967. Meanwhile, Don Williams recorded his version in 2014 under his album “Reflections.”

Melre Haggard

However, there are still differences in how they presented the song. Who do you think sang “Sing Me Back Home” better? Is it Don Williams or Merle Haggard? I believe both were good. Both gave reasonableness to the song. With this,  there’s no need for us to argue. Let’s just enjoy their vocals and jive with them.

This is for all “The Hag” and “The Gentle Giant’s” supporters and obsessives out there. “Sing Me Back Home” is for you to reminisce two legends we miss a lot. Let’s go ahead and listen to their rendition as they execute their best to reach out to us.

The Song…

Merle Haggard wrote the song himself. He originally recorded “Sing Me Back Home” along with The Strangers. It was released in November 1967 under Hag’s album “Sing Me Back Home.” Moreover, the song was Haggard and The Stranger’s third No.1 song on the country charts. It spent a total of 17 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart.

The Lyrics…

The warden led a prisoner down the hallway to his doom

And I stood up to say goodbye 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 in to sing a few old gospel songs

And I heard him tell the singers “there’s a song my mama sang

Could I hear once before you move along?”

Won’t you sing me back home, with the 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

Merle Haggard’s Delivery…

The song was one of The Hag’s most notable songs that touched his themes in the 60s and 70s. Most of his themes at that time were about his life in prison. Also, “Sing Me Back Home” talks about Hag’s relationship with two of fellow inmates. First, Caryl Chessman, the “first modern American executed for a non-lethal kidnapping.” Second, James “Rabbit” Kendrick, who was executed in 1961 for killing a California Highway Patrolman after escaping from prison.

Don Williams’ Delivery…

The “Gentle Giant” was mesmerized with the song and decided to record his version. With this, he documented the song and listed it on his album “Reflections” in 2014. The song perfectly matched his low, smooth baritone voice.

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don williams, gentle giant, merle haggard, sing me back home, The Hags

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