Merle Haggard performs “Sing Me Back Home” Live from Austin TX 1978.

“Sing Me Back Home”, reached # 1 on the US Hot Country Songs charts, for two weeks in a row, and a total of 20 weeks in the charts. In the Canadian RPM Country Tracks charts, It reach number # 7. The song was included in the fifteenth album of Merle Haggard & The Strangers, Sing Me Back Home (Capitol 1968)

YouTube Live From Austin TX Channel
YouTube Live From Austin TX Channel

Sing Me Back Home

Lp cover Merle Haggard ( Capitol 1968 )
Lp cover Merle Haggard ( Capitol 1968 )

“Sing Me Back Home”, a song written by Merle Haggard, and recorded by Merle Haggard and The Strangers for the Capitol label, the first recording was made on September 18, 1967 (unissued), at Capitol Recording Studio, 1750 North Vine St., Hollywood, CA, the one that was finally released was the one that was recorded, in the same studios, on September 20, 1967, along with “Sing Me Back Home”, they were also recorded, “where does the good times go” and “good times”, in the recording session Merle was accompanied by: Glen Campbell (guitar), Tommy Collins (guitar), Billy Mize (guitar), Lewis Talley (guitar), Norman Hamlet (steel), Roy Nichols (bass), Howard Lowe (bass), Eddie Burris (drums), George French (piano) and Bonnie Owens (harmony vocal). With the production of Ken Nelson, the song was released on October 23, 1967, on January 20, 1968, reached # 1 on the US Hot Country Songs charts, for two weeks in a row, and a total of 20 weeks in the charts. In the Canadian RPM Country Tracks charts, It reach number # 7. It was the third number one on Merle’s career.



The song was included in the fifteenth album of Merle Haggard & The Strangers, Sing Me Back Home (Capitol 1968), the album was released on January 8, 1968, on March 9, 1968, reached number 1 on the charts from US Top Country Albums, and remaining a total of 20 weeks in the charts.

Story behind the song:

In December 1957, Merle Haggard was convicted of a crime that earned him a place in “The Book of Lists # 3” in the chapter called “Nineteen Stupid Thieves.” Merle was captured and served a sentence in San Quentin. In prison, Merle was at the first of Johnny Cash’s two concerts in San Quentin, and Cash then convinced Merle to be honest with the public about his experiences in prison. It was wise advice, and prison issues underlined each of Haggard’s first three number one singles. The first, “The Fugitive” (also known as “I’m A Lonesome Fugitive” to avoid confusion with David Janssen’s hit television series “The Fugitive”), was written by Liz and Casey Anderson and reached the top from the Billboard country list. On March 4, 1967. On September 2, Merle returned to number one with his own composition, “Branded Man”. “Sing Me Back Home” continued along the same lines, although the title is not so clearly related to prison.

“Sing Me Back Home” is the story of a death row prisoner, destined to be executed, whose last request is a song that will remind him of his home. It was based on a man Haggard knew in San Quentin, Jimmy “Rabbit” Hendricks. Hendricks escaped from prison, and committed the murder of a police officer on the outside, Hendricks was arrested, and a San Francisco court issued a death sentence. The scene in the courtyard of Hendricks Prison led to his execution, which Haggard witnessed, left an indelible mark on Merle’s mind, and the idea of “Sing Me Back Home” came to him a few years later while driving through North Carolina.



Single cover Merle Haggard ( Capitol 1967 )
Single cover Merle Haggard ( Capitol 1967 )

Some versions:
Conway Twitty 1968 (Decca)
Ernest Tubb 1968 (Decca)
The Everly Brothers 1968 (Warner)
Dave Rich 1968 (Stop Records)
Carl Butler & Pearl 1968 (Columbia)
Porter Wagoner 1969 (RCA)
Buck Owens 1969 (Capitol)
The Seldom Scene 1973 (Rebel Records)
Alabama 1994 (RCA)
David Allan Coe 2002 (King)
George Jones 2006 (Bandit Records)

 





Merle Haggard – Sing Me Back Home Lyrics

[Verse 1]
The warden led a prisoner down the hallway to his doom
I stood up to say good-bye like all the rest
And I heard him tell the warden just before he reached my cell
“Let my guitar playing friend do my request.” (Let him)

[Chorus]
Sing me back home with a song I used to hear
Make my old memories come alive
Take me away and turn back the years
Sing Me Back Home before I die

[Verse 2]
I recall last Sunday morning a choir from off the street
Came in to sing a few old gospel songs
And I heard him tell the singers “There’s a song my mama sang
Could I hear it once before you move along?”

[Chorus]
Sing me back home, the song my mama sang
Make my old memories come alive
Take me away and turn back the years
Sing Me Back Home before I die [x2]

Single Merle Haggard ( Capitol 1967 )
Single Merle Haggard ( Capitol 1967 )

Miquel Batlle
mbatllegarriga@gmail.com