Merle Haggard has fired back at Bob Dylan after the folk rock icon called out the country veteran at a pre-Grammy Awards tribute for failing to support his music early on in his career.

The Mr. Tambourine Man hitmaker was honoured as the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year at a Los Angeles benefit gala on Friday night (06Feb15), and, during his 30-minute acceptance speech, Dylan praised the likes of Nina Simone, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix and Sonny & Cher for recording his songs and turning them into hits at the start of his career in the 1960s.

He also had choice words for his critics, and pinpointed Haggard as one of his detractors, saying, "Merle Haggard didn't think much of my songs, but Buck Owens did, and Buck even recorded some of my early songs.

"Now I admire Merle... I love Merle but he's not Buck. Buck Owens wrote Together Again and that song trumps anything that ever came out of Bakersfield (the Bakersfield sound genre of country music). Buck Owens and Merle Haggard? If you have to have somebody's blessing - you figure it out. What I'm saying here is that my songs seem to divide people. Even people in the music community."

Haggard learned of his former tourmate's comments on Saturday (07Feb15) and decided to set the record straight by taking to his Facebook and Twitter accounts to dispute the rocker's claims, insisting he has always been a fan.

The Branded Man singer also noted that he and his pal Willie Nelson have even covered one of Dylan's tracks for their upcoming collaboration album.

He wrote, "Bob Dylan I've admired your songs since 1964. Don't Think Twice Bob, Willie and I just recorded it on our new album."