Alan Jackson on that time Merle Haggard didn’t like his mama’s lemon pie


In his heyday on the road, Jackson didn’t cut corners on backstage catering. He often hired a company to cook for his “country stuff” appetite.


That included a few family recipes, such as his “Mama Ruth’s” lemon pie. 

“My mama made this old lemon pie  — a lemon icebox kinda pie,” Jackson said. “It was one of my favorites but not everybody likes it, you know.”

Not everybody included Haggard, apparently. 

“I just remember one time we came into catering and Merle’s sittin’ in there and the guys said, ‘Merle, how’s the food today?'” Jackson said. “[He said], ‘Oh, it’s pretty good, but don’t eat that god**** yella pie!’ 

“He said don’t eat that yella pie,” Jackson continued, laughing. “I never did tell him that was my mama’s pie. He was just that way. He was crazy. He was funny.” 

On his new album, Jackson dedicated a cover of “That’s The Way Love Goes” — a Lefty Frizzell co-write that Haggard covered in the 1980s — to the late outlaw icon. 

I’ve been wanting to do something for Merle ever since he died,” Jackson said. “I think it’d been cut by a bunch of people but I always heard [Merle] did [“…Love Goes”] as a tribute to Lefty. … I did it kinda the same way, as a tribute to Merle.

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