Jesús Aguilar YouTube / bigdandbubba YouTube
Many of Merle Haggard‘s songs are considered to be classic parts of country music history. With singles such as “Mama Tried” and “Okie from Muskogee,” Haggard has an extensive musical legacy that serves as an inspiration to many other country stars.
One such artist is Tracy Lawrence, who is known for his many hit singles such as “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” and “Texas Tornado.” During an appearance on the Big D & Bubba radio show on Monday (Feb. 29), Lawrence performed a beloved Haggard classic in exchange for the return of his show hat, which the guys at Big D & Bubba had been holding “hostage.”
Lawrence chose to perform Haggard’s 1982 single, “Are The Good Times Really Over (I Wish A Buck Was Still Silver).” The single was released as the third one off of Haggard’s album, Big City, and was a major chart success. It peaked at the second spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in the U.S., and claimed the number one spot on the country chart in Canada.
Written by Haggard himself, the song questions if the good ole days have come to an end by comparing aspects of the past to their current counterparts. He sings about how things don’t seem as good as they used to, saying, “Wish a Ford and a Chevy/Could still last ten years, like they should/Is the best of the free life behind us now?“
The end of the song leaves a bit of hope for the listener, as Haggard reveals that the good times aren’t over, they simply haven’t happened yet, singing, “The best of the free life is still yet to come/The good times ain’t over for good.“
For his performance, Lawrence delivered a stripped down, acoustic version, which gave it a sentimental and old-fashioned feeling that fit with the message of the song. The song also gave Lawrence the chance to show off his range, as he hit all of the notes, no matter how high or how deep, with absolute ease.
It seems the guys at the radio show thought that Lawrence’s performance was a fitting tribute to The Hag, because they returned his show hat to him at the end.
Tune in below to watch Lawrence’s acoustic version of Haggard’s beloved classic.
We feel like Haggard would be quite proud of Lawrence for his heartfelt and talented rendition of his song!