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A Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today

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Released  September 1977
Label  Capitol Records
Producers  Ken Nelson, Fuzzy Owen
Release date  September 1977
Genre  Country music
A Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenaacAW
A Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today (1977)  My Farewell to Elvis (1977)
Artists  Merle Haggard, The Strangers
Similar  The Strangers albums, Country music albums

A Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today is an album by American country singer Merle Haggard, released in 1977. Even though Haggard had moved to the MCA label, Capitol created this release from tracks previously recorded in 1975 and 1976.


Recording and composition

The album was the result of some shrewd marketing on Capitol's part, playing off Haggard's previous #1 hit "Workin' Man Blues" and his reputation as the "Poet of the Common Man" by dressing him up on the cover as a hardhat worker sitting at a bus stop with a lunch box and dangling cigarette. The concept was timely, considering the Carter-era oil crisis that was engulfing the country, and is reflected in the self-penned title track. Despite a short running time of twenty-four minutes, the assembled LP includes several high quality cuts that, remarkably, did not make their original albums. Foremost of these is "Running Kind," a song that Haggard had recorded in Nashville in 1975 and would become a concert favorite, and "Goodbye Lefty," his touching tribute to his hero Lefty Frizzell, who died in 1975. "Blues for Dixie" and especially the cover of Hank Williams' "Moanin' the Blues" feature a breezy, feel-good energy that was largely absent on his final Capitol releases. Perhaps the most curious track on the album is its closer "I'm a White Boy." In his 2013 book on Haggard The Running Kind, biographer David Cantwell describes it as "an aggrieved-feeling white reply to James Brown's 'Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud,' with Haggard shouting "I'm proud! And white! And I got a song to sing!"


Allmusic critic Eugene Chadbourne stated in his review: "This is one of this country legend's well thought-out combinations of hardcore traditional material from Hank Williams and the Delmore Brothers, combined with his own brilliant songwriting from some of his tried and true perspectives..." Music critic Robert Christgau also rated the album highly, writing "These are powerful pieces whether you like them or not, rendered with passionate sympathy and a touch of distance—his strongest in years."

Track listing

  1. "A Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today" (Merle Haggard) – 2:55
  2. "Making Believe" (Jimmy Work) – 3:02
  3. "Blues Stay Away from Me" (Alton Delmore, Rabon Delmore, Henry Glover, Wayne Raney) – 2:16
  4. "Got a Letter from My Kid" (Alex Kramer, Joan Whitney, Hy Zaret) – 2:29
  5. "When My Last Song Is Sung" (Haggard) – 1:58
  6. "Moanin' the Blues" (Hank Williams) – 2:03
  7. "Goodbye Lefty" (Haggard) – 2:39
  8. "Blues for Dixie" (O. W. Mayo) – 2:40
  9. "Running Kind" (Haggard) – 3:00
  10. "I'm a White Boy" (Haggard) – 2:05


1A Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today2:55
2Making Believe3:02
3Blues Stay Away From Me2:16


A Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today Wikipedia