I'm a Lonesome Fugitive

I'm a Lonesome Fugitive is the third studio album by Merle Haggard and The Strangers released on Capitol Records in 1967.

I'm a Lonesome Fugitive
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 4, 1967
RecordedAugust and November 1966
StudioCapitol (Hollywood)
ProducerKen Nelson
Merle Haggard and The Strangers chronology
Swinging Doors
I'm a Lonesome Fugitive
Branded Man
Singles from I'm a Lonesome Fugitive
  1. "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive"
    Released: December 6, 1966

Recording and composition edit

The song "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive" brought Haggard country stardom. Although it sounds autobiographical (Haggard had done time at San Quentin), David Cantwell states in his book The Running Kind that it was actually written by Liz Anderson and her husband Casey while driving cross country and was inspired by the popular television show The Fugitive starring David Janssen as Richard Kimble. Haggard felt a connection to the song immediately and when it was released it became his first number one country hit. When Anderson played the song for Haggard, she was unaware about his prison stretch. "I guess I didn't realize how much the experience at San Quentin did to him, 'cause he never talked about it all that much," Bonnie Owens, Haggard's backup singer, and then-wife, is quoted in the liner notes to the 1994 retrospective, Down Every Road. "I could tell he was in a dark mood...and I said, 'Is everything okay?' And he said, 'I'm really scared.' And I said, 'Why?' And he said, 'Cause I'm afraid someday I'm gonna be out there...and there's gonna be some convict...some prisoner that was in there the same time I was in, stand up—and they're gonna be about the third row down—and say, 'What do you think you're doing, 45200?'"[1] Haggard would address the issue on his next album, Branded Man.

In 1996, I'm a Lonesome Fugitive was reissued by BGO Records along with Mama Tried.[2]

Reception edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [3]

I'm a Lonesome Fugitive was released on March 4, 1967 and rose to number 3 on the Billboard country albums chart and made it to number 165 on the pop charts. As with his previous album Swinging Doors, Haggard wrote nearly all the songs himself. As David Cantwell observed in 2013, most of the songs find Haggard in some sort of trap, citing the prison song "Life in Prison" and "House of Memories" ("My house is a prison...") and describes the album as "hurtling and out of control even when standing still.[4] Merle can do nothing but sit and wait for phone calls that never come...It's a fantastic album, start to end..." George Bedard of AllMusic praises Haggard's cover of the Jimmie Rodgers classic "Rough and Rowdy Ways," insisting that Haggard "could evoke the Ghosts of Country Past in an absolutely convincing way without nostalgia or imitation."[3]

Track listing edit

All songs by Merle Haggard unless otherwise noted.

1."I'm a Lonesome Fugitive"Liz Anderson, Casey Anderson2:56
2."All of Me Belongs to You" 2:40
3."House of Memories" 2:47
4."Life in Prison"Jelly Sanders, Haggard3:02
5."Whatever Happened to Me" 2:57
6."Drink Up and Be Somebody" 2:30
7."Someone Told My Story" 2:32
8."If You Want to Be My Woman" 2:16
9."Mary's Mine"Jerry Ward2:56
10."Skid Row" 1:57
11."My Rough and Rowdy Ways"Jimmie Rodgers2:23
12."Mixed Up Mess of a Heart"Tommy Collins, Haggard2:06

Personnel edit

The Strangers:

  • Roy Nichols – guitar
  • Ralph Mooney – steel guitar
  • George French – piano
  • Jerry Ward – bass
  • Eddie Burris – drums



Chart positions edit

Chart (1967) Peak
Billboard Country Albums 3
Billboard Pop Albums 165

References edit

  1. ^ Down Every Road 1962–1994 compilation album. Liner notes by Daniel Cooper
  2. ^ Mama Tried/I'm a Lonesome Fugitive reissue at AllMusic
  3. ^ a b I'm a Lonesome Fugitive at AllMusic
  4. ^ Cantwell, David (2013). Merle Haggard: The Running Kind. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-71771-8.

External links edit