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July 7th, 2004

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Merle Haggard is weird.

Merle Haggard's Are the Good Times Really Over (I Wish a Buck Was Still Silver) just happened to come up in iTunes and I was struck by the lyrics (here's the first verse and chorus):
I wish a buck was still silver and it was back when the country was strong,
back before Elvis and before the Vietnam war came along,
before the Beatles and yesterday, when a man could still work and still would.
Is the best of the free life behind us now, and are the good times really over for good?

Are we rollin' downhill like a snowball headed for hell
with no kind of chance for the flag or the Liberty Bell?
I wish a Ford or a Chevy would still last ten years like they should.
Is the best of the free life behind us now and are the good times really over for good?
He also talks about when 'Nixon lied to us all on TV'.

Anyway, I was struck by this because he's looking back towards, I guess, the 50s (or earlier?) as 'the best of the free life'. Which is weird, because he spent most of the 50s in JD or in jail for armed robbery. I guess everything's relative.
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