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Do Johnny for me
April 9, 2014 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Merle Haggard doing impersonations.

Merle doing Marty, for Marty.
The live album version.
posted by Lorin (18 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
One of my favorite clips.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:10 AM on April 9


Those are fantastic. It says something about the richness of Johnny's voice, though, that while Merle can do a pretty good Buck Owens impression alongside the real Buck and it sounds like two Bucks singing, when the real Johnny shows up and sings, it swallows Merle's faux-Johnny whole.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:30 AM on April 9 [7 favorites]


Johnny Cash? He'll kill me.
posted by 256 at 9:32 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


I've always loved Merle Haggard even though I knew that if I ever met him, he'd be punching me in the face within about a minute-- which wouldn't have been all that bad I guess, as long as he didn't mess up his hands too much.

His Marty Robbins goes past imitation most of the way toward reincarnation of the unwilling living.
posted by jamjam at 9:40 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]


I never realized how tall Cash was (or maybe the country musicians of the time were just short) - also, almost any country song is immediately improved by reducing it to singer + guitar + another guitar.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:04 AM on April 9


My god, that Marty Robbins is just spot-fucking-on.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:39 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Young Merle Haggard looks like Middle-Aged Mark Ruffalo.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:39 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Wow, I’ve never seen this. The Marty Robbins is so good it seems fake, the Hank Snow is pretty good too. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a convincing Cash impersonation.
posted by bongo_x at 11:03 AM on April 9


My aunt Cleo who lives on a farm [asparagus, hops and corn] in the Yakima valley east of the Cascade mountains in Washington state, out toward Topenish, sounds exactly like Johnny Cash.
posted by vapidave at 12:21 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Even if he's hamming it up a bit for the camera, Marty's baffled look/neck crane at that high note is classic. Uncanny!
posted by Lorin at 12:27 PM on April 9


I had no idea Merle was so darned funny.
posted by dougzilla at 12:34 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


True story: Merle lives in my neck of NorCal. Was at the local Chevron station one day filling up my Prius. Next to me pulls up a black Hummer (I am not a fan of Hummer's) and I of course look to see what comes out of the driver's side. What comes out first, are obviously VERY expensive cowboy boots. As the driver comes all the way out and I take in the whole picture, vision didn't fit the boots. I see an old guy in worn jeans, a holey flannel shirt, a looks rode-hard-put-away-wet-for-mucho-years worn face with a straggly white beard and a non-descript ball cap on the top of his head. He looks at me looking at him - not in a friendly "yep it's me" kinda way, more in a "don't even think about it" kinda way. I'd heard stories ~ knew it was indeed Merle. He pumped his gas, I pumped mine - and life went on.....

Loved this clip. I mean that story I just shared kindly; he's been very ill, and it shows. He values his privacy and has a reputation in these parts for keeping to himself. He's a good dude and I love his music. Nice after seeing him up close and personal as he is today - to be reminded of him in his prime.

I'll be 60 this year - I sure don't look anywhere near how I did when he recorded that program with those guys either, and I haven't dealt with lung cancer.

p.s. apparently he now drives around town (I have this on good authority, I swear) - in a Mini Cooper
posted by cdalight at 12:40 PM on April 9 [8 favorites]


vapidave, I grew up in Eastern Washington in a and around the Tonasket, Oroville, and Incheleum areas. Everyone there sings and sounds like Johny Cash.
posted by ZaneJ. at 12:52 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Oh fabulous. I love Merle but never knew he did impersonations. As everyone is saying, the Marty Robbins is utterly uncanny in its accuracy. (Hadn't heard Devil Woman in eons and it is one of my favorites) I though his Buck Owens was pretty good, too.

This makes me nostalgic for how good country music used to be before it got all slick and processed.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:17 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Johnny, do Evis for me
posted by bonefish at 4:28 PM on April 9


It's funny because Merle started out as a Lefty Frizzell impersonator...

This is great.
posted by notsnot at 5:57 PM on April 9


I first saw this just a couple weeks ago in Nashville at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Never would have pegged Merle Haggard as an impersonator.

> how good country music used to be before it got all slick and processed

I've never been much of a country music fan, but dang! Hearing all the old stuff at the CMHOF really opened my eyes.
posted by chazlarson at 8:49 PM on April 9


Also, Phil Baugh doing Country Guitar.
posted by batfish at 9:13 PM on April 9


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