Buck Owens, Sunset
:: Buck Owens - You Ain't Gonna Have Ol' Buck To Kick Around No More ::
A few years ago, I watched a show on the Trio cable channel (rip) called "Lost Highway", which was a pretty good history of country music. Before that, I had been slightly into older country, but this show made me want to hear more. When they got to the part about Bakersfield, the shots of the Buckaroos cruising down the Hollywood Freeway toward the Capitol tower, and performing "Sam's Place" on Ed Sullivan with they're shinny new Telecasters hooked me. I started picking up Buck Owens records wherever I could find them, and they were all pretty good. Produced by the great Ken Nelson at Capitol, these records sound like they were recorded yesterday, yet as old-timey and traditional as real country music should sound.
Though not a great song writer, he most certainly was prolific. In an age where recording artists were required to put out 2 albums per year, it seems like Buck put out 4. I was given the Rhino box set for Christmas one year, which features a full discography in the booklet. Damn this guy made a lot of records, and it suddenly became my mission to own every one of them.
Our friend and sometimes Robot contributor Mark had seen Buck perform once up at the Crystal Palace, Buck's place in Bakersfield. Naturally I wanted to see him so we made reservations for the 4 of us to eat dinner and see the show, then we piled into the van and headed up the 5. Upon arriving we were informed that Buck had "called in sick" that night and would not be appearing. Although we were bummed, we decided to eat dinner and watch the Buckaroos perform anyway, which turned out to be not so great and after a while of watching people mindlessly two-stepping to generic country sounds in a Disneyland-like setting, we called it a night.
Just this last Friday, Buck came in to the Crystal Palace and enjoyed his favorite meal of chicken fried steak, then said he didn't feel up to performing and started out to his car to go home. Some people saw him in the parking lot and explained they had just driven down from Oregon to see him perform that night. So Buck changed his mind and went back in and did his show, then he went home and died in his sleep a few hours later. Those folks from Oregon have good timing.
Just last week I found the one Buck Owens record I didn't yet own at Antone's Records in Austin. So now I can die happy.