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Leona Williams - 'Leona Williams Sings Merle Haggard'

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Leona Williams - Sings Merle Haggard

Leona Williams - Sings Merle Haggard

Bottom Line:

Leona Williams is known as one of Merle Haggard's ex-wives, as well as the mother of country singer Ron Williams, but she's also a highly talented singer/songwriter in her own right, with a beautiful voice and tremendous range. She's sung duets with Merle as well as being one of his backup singers, she's toured with Loretta Lynn and Jean Shepard, played with the Grand Ladies of Branson, and she's written some good ol' country hits. Now she takes on some of Merle's greatest hits and puts her own spin on them.

Leona Williams began her illustrious career at the age of 15, with a radio show called "Leona Sings." She hit the ground running and hasn't stopped since. Her honest and clear voice got her several hits once she moved to Nashville, and then she toured with Loretta Lynn as the upright bass player and harmony singer.

Later she met Merle Haggard, teamed up with him for a few duets, and they later married in 1978. She wrote "You Take Me For Granted" and "Someday When Things Are Good" for him.

From there, she's forged herself a very successful recording and touring career, including trips around the country and around the world. She's sung duets with George Jones, Jimmy Martin, Floyd Tillman, Justin Trevino, Johnny Bush and Joe Paul Nichols; she was inducted into the Country Music Association of Texas Hall of Fame in 1999, and has also been inducted into the Missouri Country Music Hall of Fame. Her songs have been recorded by just about everybody. So now Leona has released a collection of Merle Haggard's best known.

The Songs:

You know all these songs. I certainly do. There's nothing new in them (other than changing the gender, such as the "Working Girl's Blues"), but Leona still manages to make them all fresh and fun, taking all those familiar tunes and words and giving them just enough sparkle. Of course, they're all classics, so it's not hard.

From "(Tonight the) Bottle Let Me Down" to the iconic "If We Make It Through December," she does a fine job of making Merle's songs hers, even brushing up the sixties anthems "The Fighting Side of Me" and "Okie from Muskogee." She does a great take on "Daddy Frank the Guitar Man" and "It's Not Love." Overall, if you love Merle Haggard, then you'll certainly like this. As Merle is one of my favorites, I can't find anything to fault here. It's a loving tribute to one of the legends, sung by someone who ought to be a legend herself.

Release Date: July 22, 2008 - Label: AH-HA

Track List:

  1. Working Girl Blues
  2. Bottle Let Me Down
  3. It's Not Love
  4. Today I Started Loving You Again
  5. If We're Not Back In Love By Monday
  6. Daddy Frank The Guitar Man
  7. You Take Me For Granted
  8. Fightin' Side of Me
  9. Mama's Hungry Eyes
  10. Someday When Things Are Good
  11. If We Make It Through December
  12. Okie From Muskogee
  13. Everybody's Had The Blues/Tryin Not To Love You/Someday We'll Look Back
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