Tag Archives: Merle Haggard Eulogy

“We don’t smoke marrijuana in Muskogee”


This appreciation of Merle Haggard I originally published in 2014. At the time it did not occur to me that this would evolve into a eulogy. A fitting eulogy does require more than Merle’s political music. “Momma Tried” is the most famous of the songs of the underdog that are truly Merle’s legacy.


You Tube and Copyright attorney assistance requested. This website primarily discusses the problems of aging and disabled Baby Boomers.

In writing about my kidney cancer operation last year, I took inspiration from my coverage in 1972 of the World Series of Rodeo then in Oklahoma City. If a cowboy can ride a bull (and I was down next to the pits every night watching them mount the animals angered by a cattle prod before the shoots opened), then I figured I could handle the pain there at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

In producing one of a series of vignettes on the lessons I learned from rodeo, I posted this song Okie From Muskogee, sung every night at the Gusher Club by cowboys still jangley from (if lucky) their 8 second ride.

The song is integral to the review. If I were writing on line for Rolling Stone, for example, would I be entitled, under the copyright law, to reproduce this video obtained from You Tube?

Alas, You Tube removed my original embed of the above song intimating copyright violation. As a reviewER, removal meant denying my readers the right to appreciate Merle Haggard and understand my review. Am I correct in asserting Fair Use?


This song written to espouse the virtues of NOT smoking marijuana has perversely become the hymn of the country’s legally approved Medical Marijuana clubs. Club members report that when a member gets high, he or she often will start singing with vigor “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee.”

Here are the lyrics:

We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
We don’t take our trips on LSD
We don’t burn our draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin’ right, and bein’ free.

I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all

We don’t make a party out of lovin’;
We like holdin’ hands and pitchin’ woo;
We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy,
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

And I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball.
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all.

Leather boots are still in style for manly footwear;
Beads and Roman sandals won’t be seen.
Football’s still the roughest thing on campus,
And the kids here still respect the college dean.

We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
In Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.


I spent a solid intense week in Oklahoma.

“A major producer of natural gas, oil, and agriculture, Oklahoma relies on an economic base of aviation, energy, telecommunications, and biotechnology.

In 2007, it had one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, ranking among the top states in per capita income growth and gross domestic product growth.

Oklahoma City and Tulsa serve as Oklahoma’s primary economic anchors, with nearly two thirds of Oklahoman’s living within their metropolitan statistical areas.”



I spent that solid week at the State Capital of Oklahoma which at the time had the ONLY working oil well on the grounds of any state capital building in the 50 U.S. states.

Capital Building, Oklahoma City
Capital Building, Oklahoma City

In the next installment, I will tell you about the rodeo cowboys I spent a week with. A seamlessly endless period spent in the Gusher Club where drunk bull riders sang with heartfelt feelings the patriotic intensity Haggard conveys in the song.

One of the singers was a bronco rider who had attached to his saddle a sign reading: “I would rather be a roper than a doper.”

–Joel Solkoff

Copyright by Joel Solkoff 2013. All rights reserved.