California’s large and influential role in the history of country music was widely overlooked or discounted, until a local writer with roots in the Central Valley took pains to fully tell that story.
California’s influence on country music added a chapter in the 1960s, as bands like New Riders of the Purple Sage, Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen and Asleep at the Wheel, The Flying Burrito Brothers and the Eagles found ways to meld country and rock. But in Gerald Haslam’s analysis, there were other stylistic threads emerging as well.
“Workin’ Man Blues” was initially the title of a song from Merle Haggard’s 1969 album, A Portrait of Merle Haggard, and became a 1# country single. The undated live video below of Merle and his band performing the song is probably from the early 1970s.