Now there was a song

ZZ Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard/photo submitted

By Doug Davis

This week in 1921: “Tarzan Of The Apes” opened on Broadway, starring lions, apes and other jungle animals; this week in 1932: Jimmy Doolittle became the first person to fly over 300 miles per hour; this week in 1945: the war in the Pacific officially ended in a ceremony aboard the American battleship Missouri as Japan surrendered unconditionally; and this week in 1966: Merle Haggard had recorded a song that was never a hit but became his favorite.

When asked about their favorite song—a lot of recording artists and songwriters will tell you their favorite song is the last one they wrote or recorded. But according to Merle Haggard, one of his favorites is a tune that’s been around awhile.

Merle says that his favorite song was not one of his hits but was a track in his “Working Man’s Journey” album with the song titled, “Shade Tree Fix-It Man.” The song reminds him of fishing trips he took with his favorite uncle many years ago.

He commented, “When I was about nine years old, we would throw an old two-man boat in the back of my uncle’s truck and go fishing. I really enjoyed those times. And every time I see an old 1931 Model A pickup—it takes me back to those good times. For me, those were the good ol’ days!”

His “Working Man’s Journey” contains never-released versions of previously recorded songs. “Shade Tree Fix-It Man” was originally a track in Merle’s 1966 “Swinging Doors And The Bottle Let Me Down” album.

That album and his 1965 “Strangers” album were re-issued as “Close-up” in 1969. The track was also included in his 1968 “The Best Of Merle Haggard” album.

(To subscribe to our free “Country Music Classics” email newsletter, send a blank email to

Leave a Reply