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Uncommon insights

June 27, 2004

Robert HILBURN'S in-depth feature on Merle Haggard, "Hard Times, Truth and Inspiration" (June 20), provided an understanding of the icon's large body of truthful work.

Haggard's classic country songs reveal the difficulties and realities of the blue-collar, lower-income Americans struggling to get by with limited opportunities, resources and education.

Unfortunately, the body of self-indulgent fantasy songs now given virtually all air time on country music radio are determined to be more commercially acceptable.

Since we live in reality rather than fantasy, we would do well to listen to the messages of Merle Haggard, with his remarkable ability to express and present hard-learned, earthy observations of the life so many lead.

Harvey Barkan

Studio City

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