Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard–The Ballard of Pancho and Lefty

Although it was originally written by Townes Van Zandt, (The Ballad of) Pancho & Lefty is best remembered as a collaboration between Willie Nelson and the late, great Merle Haggard.  They chose it as the title track for an album length collaboration that secured a place in the country stratosphere for both artists.  While making obvious use of Van Zandt’s brilliant lyricism, much of the song’s strength came from its surprisingly modern, yet still authentic, country sound.  It’s a brilliant move, using an old school outlaw tale to advance the sound of the genre, and it remains one of Merle Haggard’s best remembered performances.

 

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