Tommy Collins was the stage name for Leonard Sipes, whose presence on the Bakersfield scene and in the country charts during the 1950s was no doubt a major inspiration for Merle Haggard during his early years of apprenticeship. Carolyn tells the tale of Tommy's rise and fall and rise again in deft images; a plain-spoke and loving tribute to a hero of Merle's. Tommy contributed songs to Merle's songbook often in the early days. The B-side of this single, Carolyn, went to number 1 for three weeks in '72, toward the end of Tommy's period of getting songs on Merle's records. On Leonard, Bonnie and the band (Van Campbell, Nuala Kennedy, Danny Kiley) are joined by Matt Sweeney who sings along and fingerpicks an acoustic in a fond tribute to Merle and Tommy and all the old boys. Carolyn is an outtake from the Ease Down the Road recording.
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