One of my all-time favorite Haggard songs. There’s a lot to say about this song, not only the fitting performance of it, but how well written it is. You would probably get slapped in the mouth by any real country fan if you tried to make the assertion that this song isn’t country. Yet look what’s missing.
He doesn’t even mention how country he is. He doesn’t turn on the twang (I consider it an insult to my authentic Southern accent when people do that). He doesn’t throw in the word “ain’t” to try to convince us how country this song is.
But it’s country. It’s country because it’s an honest and (for the time it was written) accurate look at a segment of the American life everyone is familiar with. Sure, being a hobo may not be the ideal situation, but it’s not necessarily something to be ashamed of either.
When I listen to classic country music, I almost always feel like I’m getting a true and accurate glimpse of American culture and history. Haggard is especially adept at capturing the periods between the dust bowl and the 70s. I sincerely hope people don’t listen to what is being played on top 40 country radio these days and think it’s a true snapshot of American life.