Today we’re going to throw it back about 40 years for one of the most unique country songs in history. I guess there isn’t anything particularly crazy about the melody, but I do think the song is very unique and special.
It has elements of a holiday song, a family and life song and also some struggle and worry, which are staples of good country story songs.
The song is If We Make It Through December by Merle Haggard. It was released as the only single off the album of the same name in 1973. The single reached #1 on the charts and has become a staple of Merle’s catalog.
The song is about the working folks out there and the struggles they often face during tough times especially during the holidays. There is always pressure around this time for people to have enough money for the extras in December, but it’s also a slow time for many businesses.
The reality is that people get laid off in December. If it’s cold, construction crews can’t work as often. Factories don’t have as many orders in some sectors and even service businesses slow in some areas as people take more time off to be with family.
So it’s a really tough time of year for a lot of people and this song touches on some important emotions and really connects well with the pressure of this time of year.
I just finished reading one of Merle’s autobiographies. As you probably know, he’s led an interesting life. He mentions this song a couple times, but never discusses it too much, but I figured with it coming up on December that it was a good time to look back on it.