One of the most important country music recordings in history is Johnny Cash's live performance at San Quentin prison entitled At San Quentin. The recording was one of many shows he did there. Several years after a 1959 concert performed at San Quentin, country music legend, Merle Haggard, told Cash that he enjoyed that particular show. When Cash replied that he didn't remember him being on the lineup that day, Merle responded simply that he was in the audience as a prisoner that day.
While Johnny Cash was romanticizing the outlaw lifestyle in his songs, Merle Haggard was living it. And while Hollywood was tripping over itself to bring Cash's life story to the big screen, Haggard's is a far more complex and compelling tale and one that should be told. Hopefully, Merle will get his due someday.
For the time being, though, PBS will premiere: Merle Haggard: Learning to Live with Myself this Wednesday, July 21 at 8pm(CST). For those of you who are otherwise unfamiliar with Haggard, and even those who consider themselves fans, I highly recommend you watch this documentary on Wednesday.