Like “A Place To Fall Apart,” the song was enhanced in the studio with a last-minute appearance by Janie Fricke. She was walking through a Music Row-area parking lot with her husband/manager Randy Jackson when they bumped into Haggard.
“Merle was at Shoney’s Inn on his bus,” Janie remembers, “and he had just recorded these songs. He said ‘How about you coming in and doing some things on ‘em?’ So we went right in and did it.”
One other last-minute addition to “Natural High” was Lloyd Lindroth, a harpist who was friends with Powers. They ran into him in the lobby of the Opryland Hotel and invited him to join them when they laid the basic tracks in the recording studio.
“I’m thinking, ‘What the heck are we gonna do with a harp?’” admits producer Ray Baker. “That guy shows up, and he’s got this harp, and he’s sitting out there with all those hillbilly pickers, but when we cut “Natural High,” I couldn’t have thought of a better sound to have on that record.”
Haggard’s career was starting to wind down by this point, but “Natural High” propelled him to the #1 slot for the 37th time, Merle’s next-to-last Billboard chart-topper and only the ninth of his solo number one hits that he did not write.