Buck Owens & the Buckaroos – Bakersfield Gold – 2CD – 1959-1974
While not a big fan of vintage country I appreciated the creativity of Buck Owens (1929-2006) who was always clever with his repertoire. What I learned allowed me to experience an artist like Owens & how far-reaching, smart & diversified he was.
Owens had something to say with a light touch. “Above & Beyond,” is superb & Buck was captured well by Capitol Records (home of The Beatles & Beach Boys). This set is an hour of music on each disc. With 46-cuts over 2 CDs. The playing is exemplary but the musicians in this 15-year retrospect are too numerous to mention.
The CDs feature many bright moments & some novelty-oriented (“Foolin’ Around,” “On the Cover of the Music City News,” & “It’s a Monsters’ Holiday”). But it’s Owens’ own sharp instincts that through the decades he developed into a country legend simply by being an artist of quality. He sounds like he’s having fun & it spills from the speakers. The original recordings were produced by Ken Nelson, except some on disc 2. The compilation was produced by Cheryl Pawelski who always does a fine job with these reissues.
Bakersfield Gold – 1959-1974 (Drops Sept 9-Omnivore) features a 2-cut duet with hillbilly/rockabilly & gospel singer Rose Maddox. “Loose Talk,” (1961) is solid & “Mental Cruelty” is a brave production about a divorce.
The original “Act Naturally,” (#1 – 1963) is here by Mr. Owens (The Beatles, with Ringo on vocals, covered it in 1965). In 1989 Buck & Ringo sang it together & Starr still sings it with his All-Star Band.
The Owens #1 hit “I’ve Got a Tiger By The Tail,” (1964) was my introduction to Buck when I was 13. I thought that simple song was so cool. I still believe Owens survived as long as he did in country music simply because he never compromised his art.
Buck — never part of the outlaw brood of Merle, Waylon, Willie & Cash. He never was as polished as baritone country vocalist Jim Reeves, but he did share similarities with Sonny James (“True Love’s a Blessing” “Young Love”). Now as for Jim Reeves & Sonny James – there are 2 careers Omnivore should explore.
There’s a colorful 20-page stitched insert with annotation. This CD art looks deserving — with spot varnish on Buck’s image – nice touch.
Don Rich’s lead guitar lets loose on the live fiery rollicking ballsy “Johnny B. Goode,” that Owens rocks out on. Wow. Highlights – “Under the Influence of Love,” “Love’s Gonna Live Here Again,” “My Heart Skips a Beat,” (#1 song 1964), “Buckaroo,” “Open Up Your Heart,” “How Long Will My Baby Be Gone,” “I’ve Got You On My Mind Again,” “Tall Dark Stranger,” (quality), “Big In Vegas,” (nice chiming guitars), “The Great White Horse,” & “Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms” (great banjo & fiddle work).
CD photo: Buck Owens Foundation. Color image by Peter Darley Miller – Special for the Republic. CD @ http://omnivorerecordings.com/shop/bakersfield-gold/