For his 1980 album Back to the Barrooms, Merle Haggard chose an assortment of songs about drowning one’s sorrows. Among them are “Misery and Gin,” “I Don’t Want to Sober Up Tonight” and the Number One hit “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.”
The second single from Back to the Barrooms, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” was written by Haggard alone and notably features an extended jam section. That instrumental flash was present in October 2015 when Haggard visited the Grand Ole Opry and played “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” — nearly 35 years to the day Back to the Barrooms was released. The Opry rendition moves at a quicker tempo than the studio recording, but still makes room for some instrumental vamping — including a funky guitar solo from Haggard — before the final notes ring out.
In December, Haggard was hospitalized in California after being diagnosed with double pneumonia. “I guess I was nearly dead,” he told radio DJ Dallas Wayne during an interview on the SiriusXM channel Willie’s Roadhouse. The Country Music Hall of Fame member will take most of January off, resuming his busy schedule of shows on January 30th in Mescalero, New Mexico.