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Merle Haggard - Mama's Hungry Eyes

It reached number # 1 on May 1969, in Canadian RPM Country Tracks, I get to number # 2. was included Merle’s tenth studio album, A Portrait of Merle Haggard (Capitol 1969). The song was one of the most famous of his career, and one of the most significant songs in the history of country music.

Mama's Hungry Eyes

A song written and recorded by Merle Haggard for the Capitol label, it was recorded on December 8, 1968, at Capitol Recording Studio, 1750 North Vine St., Hollywood, California. In the recording Merle Haggard was accompanied by: James Burton (guitar), Roy Nichols (guitar), Norman Hamlet (steel), Howard Lowe (bass), Eddie Burris (drums), George French (piano) and Bonnie Owens (vocal harmony). In this session three songs were recorded: Hungry Eyes, Every Fool Have A Rainbow and Silver Wings. With the production of Ken Nelson, the song was released on February 17, 1969, on May 10, 1969, it reached number # 1 on May 1969, in Canadian RPM Country Tracks, I get to number # 2.

 

It was the sixth number one of Merle’s career, The song was one of the most famous of his career, and one of the most significant songs in the history of country music.

 

The song was included Merle’s tenth studio album, A Portrait of Merle Haggard (Capitol 1969), the album was released on September 2, 1969, and reached # 3 on the Billboard Country albums charts.

 

“Hungry Eyes” is a tribute to Okies and others who lived in forced labor camps during the Great Depression, the time period in which this song is established. “It’s Haggard’s way of commemorating a whole generation of Okies that persisted during the persecution and suffering to transplant their culture to California.”

 

Some Versions :

 

Johnny Bush 1969 ( Stop Records )

Conway Twitty 1969 ( Decca )

Charlie Louvin 1969 ( Capitol )

Cal Smith 1970 ( Kapp Records )

George Jones 1972 ( Epic )

Emmylou Harris 1994 ( Arista )

Robin & Linda Williams 2002 ( Sugar Hill )

Leona Williams 2008 ( Ah Ha Records )

Kinky Friedman 2015 ( Avenue A Records )

Miquel Batlle Garriga
mbatllegarriga@gmail.com

Merle Haggard – Mama’s Hungry Eyes Lyrics

 

A canvas covered cabin in a crowded labour camp

Stand out in this memory I revived;

Cause my daddy raised a family there, with two hard working hands

And tried to feed my mama’s hungry eyes.

 

He dreamed of something better, and my mama’s faith was strong

And us kids were just too young to realize

That another class of people put us somewhere just below;

One more reason for my mama’s hungry eyes.

 

Mama never had the luxuries she wanted

But it wasn’t cause my daddy didn’t try.

She only wanted things she really needed;

One more reason for my mama’s hungry eyes.

 

I remember daddy praying for a better way of life

But I don’t recall a change of any size;

Just a little loss of courage, as their age began to show

And more sadness in my mama’s hungry eyes.

 

Mama never had the luxuries she wanted

But it wasn’t cause my daddy didn’t try.

She only wanted things she really needed;

One more reason for my mama’s hungry eyes.

 

Oh, I still recall my mama’s hungry eyes.



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