For Your Weekend Listening Pleasure: Misery and Gin and Merle Haggard at the Longhorn
This particular performance, a strong dose of twang and swing polished with just the right amount of rough, is extraordinary -- the history of early 20th-century American music downed in a single shot. "Mama Tried," an immortal that never tires, sounds brand-new; so too "Right or Wrong" and "Pennies From Heaven" and "Tulare Dust" and the rest of the 21-song set list captured so crystal-clear it's overwhelmingly you-are-there.
And then there is the interlude, during which Dewey himself comes to the stage to issue an announcement -- a threat, more like it. But those Groom boys were awful proud of their place, and rightfully so: In November '82, Dewey's son Doug told Billboard, look, now the Longhorn ain't going nowhere: "The Longhorn will be here 'til they tear it down. It's here to stay." Just like Merle Haggard.