Merle Haggard Turned Down a Highwaymen Spot / Doesn’t Know “What The F**K” is Wrong w/ Dylan



Merle Haggard is getting ready for the release of his new album with Willie Nelson next week called Django & Jimmie (you can stream it over on NPR), and ahead of the release he spoke to Broadway of Country 92.5 in Connecticut and had some interesting revelations about some things in his past, and what he might have coming up in the future.

For a few years now there has been talk of a “Musketeers” album between Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson. Some were wondering if Django & Jimmie would be replacing the Musketeers project, but according to Merle, The Musketeers is still on. Just finding the time in the three men’s busy schedules to get it done is the issue. “Well I think so, yeah,” Merle said to the question if fans could still expect it in the future. “Just when, I’m not sure.”

On the subject of supergroups, Broadway wondered why Merle never joined the Highwaymen, but it apparently wasn’t because they didn’t want him. “I was asked,” Merle said. “I was asked to become a fifth member, and I turned it down because I said hell, it will cut the money down so low so the four of you guys won’t even want to do it. But they did offer me a part … When you’re touring the world, you’ve got to take the economics in play. It’s going to cost a lot of money to do that. When you’ve got 15 or 20 people traveling with you, you know, it’s a big deal.”

Merle Haggard also addressed his recent brushup with Bob Dylan. During a Grammy function Bob Dylan said, “Merle Haggard didn’t even think much of my songs. I know he didn’t. He didn’t say that to me, but I know way back when he didn’t. Buck Owens did, and he recorded some of my early songs. ‘Together Again,’ that’s Buck Owens. And that trumps anything else out of Bakersfield. Buck Owens or Merle Haggard? If you had to have somebody’s blessing, you can figure it out.”

Merle responded on Twitter by saying, “Bob Dylan I’ve admired your songs since 1964. ‘Don’t Think Twice’ Bob, Willie and I just recorded it on our new album.”

“Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” appears on Django & Jimmie. Dylan later clarified his statements, saying, “I wasn’t dissing Merle, not the Merle I know.”

When asked where the matter stood today, Merle said,

“I don’t know what the fuck’s wrong with Bob (laughing). I’ve always liked his music. And his writing was just impressive to me, because I was a songwriter, and struggling. So I admired him from the very first. I love hearing him sing. And I loved hearing him play guitar. I wish he’d come out from behind that damn piano and play his guitar. He’ll think it over and change his mind.”

READ: 10 Badass Merle Haggard Moments

As for how much music Merle Haggard has stored away over his Hall of Fame career that fans haven’t heard yet:

“I’ve got probably 300 to 400 songs that I haven’t released, that I’ve collected over the years,” Merle says. “It’s because of the archive. And we haven’t released anything from that. When I get unable to sing or record anymore, or get killed or something, well they’ll probably put it out. We own them, the family owns them.”

Listen to the full interview below:

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