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Samuel’s Musician Of The Week: Merle Haggard

February 17th, 2014 at 03:23pm

While I’m in the US I intend on focussing this weekly feature on not just American artists, but music which in some way is particularly American. Also, so as to not hurt my brain too much, I’ll be running it on Sunday in the US rather than Sunday in Australia.

This week I’m going with a song by Merle Haggard for a reason. When I was driving from Petaluma to Las Vegas the other day, I drove through Bakersfield and right past a road called “Merle Haggard Drive” which pretty much settled my decision as to which artist to run this week.
Map of Merle Haggard Drive, Bakersfield

Then came the question of which song to choose. Well, that was easier than I thought it would be. Merle has a lot of great songs but in keeping with the theme of the road named after him, Bakersfield is in Kern County which contains the Kern River so the obvious choice is the song “Kern River”.

Oh I’ll never swim Kern River again.
It was there that I met her,
It was there that I lost my best friend.
Now I live in the mountains,
I drifted up here with the wind.
I may drown in still water,
But I’ll never swim Kern River again.

I grew up in an oil town,
But my gusher never came in.
And the river was a boundary,
Where my darlin’ and I used to swim.
One night in the moonlight,
The swiftness swept her life away.
Now I live on Lake Shasta,
And Lake Shasta is where I will stay.

There’s the South San Joaquin,
Where the seeds of the dust bowl are found.
There’s a place called Mount Whitney,
From where the mighty Kern River comes down.
Well, it’s not deep nor wide,
But it’s a mean piece of water, my friend.
I may cross on the highway,
But I’ll never swim Kern River again.

Oh I’ll never swim Kern River again.
It was there that I met her,
It was there that I lost my best friend.
Now I live in the mountains,
I drifted up here with the wind.
And I may drown in still water,
But I’ll never swim Kern River again.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Samuel's Musician(s) Of The Week

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