This song takes a look at the close relationships both Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard had with Johnny Cash. Haggard came up with the idea for the track when they were putting the Django and Jimmie album together. "I ran it by Willie, and he liked it," Haggard said. "It was just some words that I had some chords to, but really not a melody to it."
The project's producer, Buddy Cannon, added: "[Haggard] just had the lyric, and he created the arrangement on the spot. Johnny Cash and Merle, their history goes back. I think the first time Merle saw Johnny Cash, he was an inmate in one of the prison shows that Cash played. They were friends all the way up to the end."
This homage to the Man in Black features guest vocals from country music singer Bobby Bare.
Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: http://www.oldiesmusic.com/news.htm Country star Merle Haggard, whose 1970 tune, "Okie From Muskogee" (#41-Pop, #1-Country, 1970) made him a star, died Wednesday (April 6th, 2016) of pneumonia on his 79th birthday... He had been in poor health for quite some time. Born in Bakersfield, California, he spent three years in San Quentin (California) Prison for burglary, starting in 1957. Continuing his love of music upon his release, he became part of the Bakersfield sound popularized by Buck Owens. Merle charted in 1964 on tiny Tally Records with "Sing A Sad Song" (#19 Country) and a year later he was signed to Buck's own label, Capitol. All told, he charted 105 times on the Country charts (12 times on the Pop charts) in 42 years, including crossovers like "The Fighting Side Of Me" (#92-Pop, #1-Country, 1970) and "If We Make It Through December" (#28-Pop, #1-Country, 1973). Merle was granted a full pardon for his early offenses by then-California Governor Ronald Reagan in 1972. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994 and was granted an honorary doctorate in fine arts by California State University in Bakersfield in 2013... May he R.I.P.