April 15, 2024

Kris Kristofferson by Fans, for Fans

In appreciation of the Silver Tongued Devil

Merle Haggard was a Friend of Mine

2 min read
He was a wonderful man and called me a friend and son for over 50 years. This is my tribute to his legacy.

Raymond McDonald’s book, Merle Haggard was a Friend of Mine, is complete and available now.

Birth of a Book

So many great friends and fans of Merle’s have asked me to write this book about Merle. I’ve completed the manuscript. It’s all good. No negative energy at all. He was a wonderful man and called me a friend and son for over 50 years. This is my tribute to his legacy.
The art work is a mock up that a close friend has developed, the actual cover will come later this summer. Thanks to all my friends and family for the encouragement.

Ray McDonald
Looking for the book? Click the image below, or search on your regional Amazon site

Why Them?

Kris’ fans have been hoping an autobiography for years. Most of us have accepted that Kris’ life story already exists within the lyrics of his songs. Merle and Kris go back a long way. Their stories are entwined. This book is of special interest to Kris’ fans as it includes a chapter dedicated to the Silver Tongued Devil himself. The chapter is called, “ Why me?”. Ray says that he spoke with Lisa Kristofferson about some of the details, and that Merle loved touring with Kris who went over to Merle’s bus after each show during that last tour. The two icons laughed together – A lot.

Anita, an avid Kris fan, added her thoughts.

Get on up There

Can hardly wait to read it. Kris loved working with Merle and the Strangers in the period before Merle’s untimely death — gone far too soon. He never forgot that Merle had good and generous things to say about him when others were slamming him for his sensual songs, his hippie-looking appearance, and just about everything but his dog, and then only because he didn’t have a dog. Kris was up against Merle for that 1970 Song of the Year award, and when he slammed his head against the pew and was so dazed he was just sitting there, it was Merle who said “get on up there”. And in his acceptance speech, after he thanked Johnny Cash “for making this possible”, Kris paid tribute to Merle by saying “I’m just glad I wasn’t up against ‘Today I Started Loving You Again'” — one talented songwriter acknowledging the excellence of another whom he deeply respected. Of course, Merle took Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and Album of the Year at that awards show, so he had a good night. Nonetheless, Merle was never Old Guard Nashville; he always marched proudly to his own drummer.

Anita Lay


6 thoughts on “Merle Haggard was a Friend of Mine

  1. kris and Merle, oh my goodness what a great combination. I love all their songs and merles boys, especially Ben. where can I get some Ben cd’s? keep trying but have had no success. Live close to Toledo, Ohio where we were at Merles show in dec. just before he passed in April…have a bunch of his c.d.’s what a memorable show it was and Ben was with him.

  2. My book is available now in ebook form and paperback (March 8). The book includes a chapter titled, “Why Me, Kris Kristofferson. “ I had the privilege of knowing Merle for 52 years. He was so happy when he toured with Kris. They had so many wonderful times on stage and visiting on Merle’s bus. Kris came over to Hags bus nearly every night after the show. He usually visited for an hour or so. At one point he asked his booking agent to book him with Kris exclusively. The chapter on Kris is tender with a twist…

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