"Workin' Man Blues" is the first track from the 1969 album "A Portrait of Merle Haggard" and is Haggard's tribute to a core group of his fans: The American blue-collared working man. Backed by a strong electric guitar beat that typified Haggard's signature Bakersfield Sound, he fills the role of one of those workers expressing pride in values such as hard work and sacrifice, despite the resulting fatigue and the stress of raising a large family. He admits to relaxing during the off-working hours ("I drink my beer in a tavern, sing a little bit of these workin' man's blues.") and vows that as a result of keeping his values, he will never need to go on welfare ("... cause I'll be working, long as my two hands are fit to use."). Music critic Mark Deming noted that the song was among three of Haggard's finest songs to appear on the album; "Silver Wings" and "Hungry Eyes" were the other two. "Most country artists would be happy to cut three tunes this strong during the course of their career, let alone as part of one of six albums Hag would release in 1969," wrote Deming.