Forget Hee-Haw. Buck Owens was vital, a bridge back to Country Music from Rock and Roll and a bridge back to Rock from Country Music. Without Buck there would have been no Byrds, no Gram Parsons, no Eagles. Without Buck, the “Nashville Sound” would have overwhelmed Country Music completely, leading to a soulless music w smothered with strings and voices , bereft of fiddles and steel guitars and telecasters.

Sings Tommy Collins

“If You Ain’t Lovin’ You Ain’t Livin’ “, “But I Do”, “It Tickles”, “I Always Get A Souvenir”, “My Last Chance With You”, “Smooth Sailin’ “, “You Gotta Have A License”, “High On A Hilltop”, “There’ll Be No Other”, “Whatcha Gonna Do Now”, “No Love Have I”, “Down Down Down” . Buck Owens had not quite achieved his classic sound at the time this album was recorded. A glance at the song titles (above) reveals a lot of songs that had been hits for a variety of artists, incluidng Faron Young. Buck and Merle both freely acknowledged their debt to Collins in getting their careers cranked up

Christmas with Buck Owens

“Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy” … indeed he did …

I’ve Got You On My Mind Again

I did a review of this album here.

Big in Vegas

By 1969, Buck was getting a bit restless to try new things. This album, essentially a variety album, features Buck and his crew with a Las Vegas show band behind the Buckaroos . “Big In Vegas” was not one of Buck’s bigger hits (although it got some pop chart action) but it was a song that came to be associated with Buck . When Buck passed away , it seemed everyone was playing this song.

Open Up Your Heart

Three hit singles – “Sam’s Place” , “Open Up Your Heart” and “Waiting In Your Welfare Line” plus a song “In The Palm of Your Hand” that would be reworked into a single later.

The Best of Buck Owens

Normally I wouldn’t include a ‘Best Of’ album in a list of this sort, but since both “Act Naturally” and Buck’s biggest chart hit “Love’s Gonna Live Here” made their album debuts on this album, how can I possibly NOT include this album. Other hits include “Foolin’ Around”, “Excuse Me (I Think I’ve Got A Heartache)”, “Under The Influence Of Love”, “Under Your Spell Again” and “Above And Beyond”.

I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail

The title track was Buck’s biggest hit sales wise (although not his biggest chart hit). “Crying Time” was the B side of the title track. While Buck regarded the song as a bit of a throw-away, Ray Charles soon disabused him of that notion (Buck’s version is good, too). Good mixture of fast and slow songs. Don Rich turns in a stellar instrumental of “Maiden’s Prayer and Buck proves that “Memphis, Tennessee” really is a country song.

The Carnegie Hall Concert

This album is a good representation of a live mid-1960s Buck Owens concert. While he would speed up the tempos in the near future, here the band sound s much like it did on the albums, except for the use of medleys to work more of his hits into the program. Doyle Holly and Don Rich each get their opportunity to shine, and the band is very cohesive.

In London

I reviewed this here.

Together Again/My Heart Skips a Beat

The title songs were the A&B sides of a single – both made it to #1 separately. “A-11” was covered by Johnny Paycheck and released as a single before Buck could get to it, while “Close All The Honky Tonks was covered for a Charlie Walker single . “Truck Driving Man” and “Hello Trouble”, while not issued as singles, became staples of his live shows for a decade. “Ain’t It Amazing, Gracie” was reworked into a single a decade later. Proving that Buck always had an ear for a good song, there is a masterful cover of the Drifter’s “Save The Last Dance For Me”.