Recording began in July 1967 for Lee Hazlewood's LHI Records, with the actual group consisting solely of Parsons and lead guitarist John Nuese. Rounding out the duo were session drummer Jon Corneal (a friend of Parsons soon promoted to full member), bassist Joe Osborn, pedal steel guitarist Jay Dee Maness and pianist Earl "Les" Ball, with Hazlewood's girlfriend Suzi Jane Hokom producing. Recorded at the time were the Parsons originals "Blue Eyes" and "Luxury Liner", soon issued on a 45 single. The group gigged with the additions of guitarist Bob Buchanan and bassist Chris Ethridge over the next few months.
Four months later, with the group's line-up consisting of Parsons, Nuese, Corneal and Buchanan (augmented by Ball, Maness and Ethridge) the group ran through two new originals, "Strong Boy" and "Do You Know How It Feels To Be Lonesome" and seven covers, six of which ended up on the original album. By early December, the album was finished and given a target release date of late January or early February 1968, in order to avoid the Christmas rush.
Parsons jumped ship before the album's release and it lay dormant for months. After months of legal wrangling, with Parsons a member of The Byrds and the remainder of the group unable to find a suitable replacement for him, the album came out in July (complete with rave reviews from Glen Campbell and Don Everly—leading some to speculate they had played and/or sang on the album), with any hope of Parsons' returning to the fold, and any hope of the album's success lost. As a condition for The Byrds releasing their next album, the Parsons-dominated Sweetheart of the Rodeo, however, was the deletion of Parsons' vocals from most of the tracks he had sung lead on that album. This would be one of Parsons' many gripes about his tenure in the group, which was over by the time of the release of Sweetheart of the Rodeo in August, 1968.
While searching out materials for the 2001 Parsons anthology, the lost track "Knee Deep in the Blues" was re-discovered, and issued on that anthology as well as the 2004 compact disc re-release of Safe at Home (the original mid-1980s CD pressing having been on the tiny Shiloh Records).