Branded Man (1967)
Label: Capitol Nashville
"Branded Man" is one of the dozen or so songs that helped form the legendary persona of this architect of the Bakersfield sound. Haggard's seminal early singles, and the Bakersfield sound itself, were a return to the roots and raw recording techniques of country music before things got a little too polished in Nashville. The traditional yet progressive nature of "Somewhere Between," "Long Black Limousine" and "I Threw Away the Rose" are excellent examples of the style. Plus, anytime Haggard sings about "the wall" or "the bottle," you know he's speaking from experience.