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Merle Haggard’s Sons, Noel and Ben, Share the Stage To Honor His Legacy

Noel Haggard & Ben Haggard The Runnin' Kind I'm A Lonesome Fugitive

The sons of Merle Haggard, Noel Haggard and Ben Haggard, shared a stage to honor his musical legacy with a cover of two of his hit songs, “Running Kind” and “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive.” The performance was part of the Country’s Family Reunion four-part tribute series for the legendary singer.

The Tribute 

Larry Black, a long-time disc jockey who owned and operated Gabriel Communications, had the idea to apply their specialty “reunion” concept to country music legends. That then made way for the creation of “Country’s Family Reunion” and the celebration of the songs and stories of the artists who helped shape country music into what it is right now. 

One of those celebrations was Merle Haggard’s impact and legacy, and among the distinguished guests on the show were his three sons. His oldest, Marty , sang a rendition of “Mama’s Hungry Eyes,” while his youngest, Ben Haggard, covered “It’s All in the Movies.” They also did joint performances: All three of them performed “Workin’ Man Blues,” and then Noel and Ben duetted “Running Kind” and “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive.”

The Rendition

Noel opened the performance with “Running Kind,” Merle Haggard’s second and final single off his 1978 album, A Working Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today. The song peaked at number 12 on the country charts and was later covered by Radney Foster and Johnny Cash. 

He sang solo for the first two parts, and then, when he hit the first line of the chorus, his brother Ben joined him, harmonizing. Their voices blended so well – like they were just one person singing – and their short duet was met with warm claps from the audience. Noel then finished the rest of the chorus. 

After that, they skillfully transitioned to “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” with an instrumental. And this time, Ben took it away. Noel, on the other hand, supported him by playing with the band. 

The audience gave them a round of applause for their performance, and then, Noel quipped, “Next band, please.” (His brother was going to perform “It’s All in the Movies next.) Bill Anderson, the host of the show, let out a little laugh, saying it was funny. He then directed the conversation toward Ben and his guitar-playing, saying, “That guitar, we’ve heard that a few times in our lives.”

Truly, Merle Haggard and his music are kept alive by his sons. Catch their performance in the video below. 

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