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Archive for the ‘Buck Owens’ Category

From Bakersfield to You: Newly-Discovered Recordings of Buck Owens, Don Rich Arrive in January

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Omnivore Recordings is bound for Bakersfield, and the honky-tonks are still open!

With Fresno to the north and Los Angeles to the south, the town of Bakersfield, California might have been an unlikely candidate for Nashville West, but so it was when Buck Owens, Ferlin Husky, Merle Haggard and other back-to-basics country stars called it home.  Owens made the town his adopted residence from the age of 21, and directly answered the “countrypolitan” sound coming out of Tennessee with an unabashedly pure country sound.  Bakersfield’s proud lineage as a musical epicenter is still celebrated today; an exhibit entitled The Bakersfield Sound is currently packing ‘em in at the Country Music Hall of Fame in…Nashville!  And Omnivore is doing its part.  The label has slated two albums of never-before-released Bakersfield music for January 23, 2013 release: Buck Owens’ Honky Tonk Man and Don Rich Sings George Jones.

Honky Tonk Man follows on the heels of the Black Friday Record Store Day exclusive vinyl EP Buck Sings Eagles, in which the Hee Haw man puts his stamp on California country-rock classics “Tequila Sunrise,” “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Lyin’ Eyes.”  That release itself follows past Omnivore treasures from the Owens camp, including a swell coloring book (!) and two rare live sets on one CD.  The eighteen tracks on Honky Tonk Man were culled from the material Owens recorded at his Bakersfield studio for Hee Haw in the early ’70s.  With his musical performances, Owens paid homage to his forebears as well as his contemporaries, and so the disc includes takes on “In the Jailhouse Now,” dating back to 1928 via Jimmie Rodgers, to “Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer,” a hit for Johnny Russell in 1973. In between, you’ll hear songs from Hanks Williams and Snow, the late, great Johnny Horton, and even a tip of the ten-gallon hat to Haggard with “Swinging Doors.”   All told, Honky Tonk Man offers eighteen slabs of prime Owens.

After the jump: much more on the boys from Bakersfield! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 12, 2012 at 10:07

Omnivore’s Black Friday Schedule: Capitol Rarities on Vinyl, Jellyfish Instrumentals on CD

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We’re close to that most wonderful time of the year, folks! No, not Christmas, but – well, yeah, I guess Christmas is closer than we’d all wish it would be. But ANYWAY, the wonderful time I was alluding to is Record Store Day’s Black Friday event. The day after Thanksgiving, our beloved local independent record stores join forces with major and independent labels alike to release special exclusive treats as a way of thanking us for patronizing their businesses.

While a full list of RSD exclusives has yet to materialize, at least one of our favorite reissue labels has announced their release slate for that November weekend: Omnivore Recordings is planning four very special 10″ vinyl EPs and a double-disc set of familiar works by a power-pop artist in a very unfamiliar way.

Let’s have a look after the jump, shall we?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

October 15, 2012 at 13:57

Review: Omnivore’s Legends of Music and Comedy, Buck Owens and Ernie Kovacs

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In the pantheon of American comedy legends, you’d likely find Ernie Kovacs, the gifted, gone-too-soon (1919-1962) personality who carved out a niche in the early days of American television.  Joining Ernie in that esteemed company might well also be Buck Owens (1929-2006), the influential guitarist and songwriter who made a second career out of joking, a-pickin’ and a-grinnin’ on the cornpone television variety show Hee Haw.  However different these two gentlemen are, however, Omnivore Recordings has celebrated both of them in high style with two recent releases, Buck Owens’ Live at the White House (…And in Space) and Ernie Kovacs’ Percy Dovetonsils…Thpeaks!

Though Buck could be quite a character in the environs of Kornfield Kounty, even the genial host might have been at a loss had Percy Dovetonsils been guesting on Hee Haw!  One of Ernie Kovacs’ most beloved creations, the lisping poet Mr. Dovetonsils could most often be found reciting his unusual odes in thick glasses with glued-on eyeballs, and a stylish, zebra-patterned smoking jacket.  What place is there in 2012 for such a, um, genteel and tasteful soul?  Omnivore makes a case for the longevity of Percy with his first and only LP release, the long-lost Speaks, I mean, Thpeaks (OVCD-27).  The album was recorded in 1961 but has remained unreleased till now, when it could be launched upon a discerning public.

Percy sets the scene for his vinyl (not to mention CD and digital) debut: “I’m sitting here beside my Italian harpischord…”  He describes the instrument in detail, and makes it clear that he’s sipping a martini.  But that’s not all.  ”Behind me is a marble bust…well, perhaps not a bust, but it wasn’t a complete success, either!”  Kovacs’ sincere delivery makes even the hoariest joke worthy of a smile.  You’ll find more about Percy and Buck after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 20, 2012 at 13:02

Posted in Buck Owens, Ernie Kovacs, Reissues, Reviews

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Release Round-Up: Week of June 19

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A quick heads-up to our fans: we’ve finally joined modern times and become an Amazon Associate. So if you click on any of our links and add to your collection, you’ll be supporting The Second Disc in our quest to become the best catalogue music site around!

The Ventures, The Ventures On StageWild Things! / Super Psychedelics / Hawaii Five-O (Sundazed)

Four classic Ventures albums, remastered on CD and LP.

Bob Mould, Bob Mould / The Last Dog + Pony Show / LiveDog98 (Edsel)

After the revelatory Sugar reissues, Mould’s late ’90s albums (plus one rare live disc from the same time period) are collated into one last deluxe set from the label.

Can, The Lost Tapes (Mute)

A triple-disc box set of completely unreleased works from the German band.

Ernie Kovacs, Percy Dovetonsils…Thpeaks / Buck Owens, Live at the White House (Omnivore)

The two newest from Omnivore: an unreleased set from iconic comedian Kovacs, and an expanded live album from Bakersfield’s favorite country musician.

BJ Thomas, The Complete Scepter Singles (Real Gone)

Cryin’s not for you with this collection of Thomas’ A and B-sides for the Scepter label.

Kylie Minogue, The Best of Kylie Minogue (EMI)

The U.S. release of Kylie’s newest greatest hits set, available as a deluxe CD/DVD edition.

Written by Mike Duquette

June 19, 2012 at 08:21

An Omnivore’s Appetite: Tasty Treats From Jellyfish, The Knack, Buck Owens and Ernie Kovacs Coming Soon

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Nobody could accuse the fine folks at Omnivore Recordings of not living up to the label’s name!  After all, “omnivore” is derived from the Latin for “all” and “everything.”   And Omnivore’s recently announced slate of upcoming releases certainly qualifies as encompassing music from an incredibly wide variety of genres and eras.  The label’s packed line-up for May, June and July takes in legends from the world of comedy and country-and-western plus new wave and power pop pioneers!

Two releases were previewed on Record Store Day and are now arriving in complete form.   A RSD-exclusive vinyl EP from The Knack sampled two live songs from the archive of late Knack frontman Doug Fieger, and now comes the full release, Havin’ a Rave-Up!  Live in Los Angeles, 1978. Recorded at two of Los Angeles’ most renowned music spots, the Whisky a Go-Go and Doug Weston’s Troubadour, Havin’ A Rave-Up! Live In Los Angeles, 1978 captures The Knack on the cusp of stardom.  Indeed, shortly after these 1978 sets were recorded, Capitol Records signed The Knack and “My Sharona” (the album’s closing track) took the country by storm.

Bassist Prescott Niles remembered, “Midway through our first show at the Whisky a Go-Go I felt a tingling sense that I was finally in that dream band. And it was called The Knack. We had been together as a band for a mere two weeks and this was our first public performance . . . we blew the roof off the place . . . We all knew on that night in 1978 that we had found our collective dreams, our boyhood fantasies, and a ticket to ‘the toppermost of the poppermost’ (as Doug would often quote).”  The date for Havin’ a Rave-Up! is May 22 in both CD and digital formats.

Hee-haw!  There’s more Buck Owens on the way.  A fantastically whimsical coloring book from the Bakersfield legend and television host was another highlight of Omnivore’s Record Store Day releases, and a flexi disc included with that vintage coloring book featured tracks recorded by Owen and his Buckaroos at the White House of President Lyndon B. Johnson.  On June 19, Buck Owens’ Live at the White House will arrive for the first time on CD and digitally, and as a bonus will also include The Apollo 16 Program.  The core White House set documented Washington, DC performance of Owens, Buddy Alan, Doyle Holly, Don Rich and The Buckaroos on September 9, 1968 and includes the hit single “You Ain’t Gonna Have Ol’ Buck to Kick Around No More.”  Four years later in 1972 (coincidentally the same year Capitol released the Live at the White House album on vinyl), Owens recorded a unique half-hour program intended for the astronauts aboard Apollo 16.  Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke recalled that the crew “played those tapes a lot during our flight to and from the Moon.”  Omnivore has included this true rarity on Live at the White House, which is set for release on June 19!

After the jump: previously-unreleased treasures from Ernie Kovacs and Jellyfish – when was the last time those two names appeared in the same sentence? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 2, 2012 at 09:08

The Second Disc’s Record Store Day 2012 Essential Releases

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Well, Record Store Day is finally upon us!  Tomorrow, Saturday, April 21, music fans and collectors will descend upon their local independent record stores to celebrate both the sounds on those black platters and the cherished physical shopping environments alike.  As Record Store Day 2012 will offer a typically eclectic array of limited edition releases (primarily on vinyl but also some on CD, too!) from many of our favorite artists here at Second Disc HQ, we thought we would take a moment to count down the titles to which we’re most looking forward!  I’ll take my turn first, and then after the jump, you’ll find Mike’s picks for some of the finest offerings you might find at your local retailer!  And after you’ve picked up your share of these special collectibles, don’t hesitate to browse the regular racks, too…you never know what you might find!

You’ll find more information and a link to a downloadable PDF of the complete Record Store Day list here, and please share your RSD 2012 experiences with us below.  Happy Hunting!

5.            Miles Davis, Forever Miles (Columbia/Legacy)

This five-track collection spotlights various eras of the legendary trumpeter via alternate takes and rare mixes new to vinyl plus a previously unreleased live recording.  It adds up to a sonic journey through the many iterations of jazz itself.  From the fifties comes a 1956 take of “Dear Old Stockholm” with John Coltrane and the first take of 1957’s “Blues for Pablo” with Gil Evans.  “Hand Jive” is an alternate from the Miles Davis Quintet box chronicling Davis’ “Second Great Quintet” of 1965-1968.  A new mix of “Early Minor” from the In a Silent Way box (1969) rounds out the set along with a previously unreleased “Directions”  from 1970 at The Fillmore East.


4.            David Bowie, Starman (Virgin)

Remember the picture disc?  Virgin Records brings it back with this 45 RPM single containing two versions of David Bowie’s “Starman,” off The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, soon to be celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new CD/DVD edition.  Bowie, in his most far-out garb, adorns the vinyl, on which you’ll hear both the original song and a live Top of the Pops performance!

3.            The Mynah Birds, It’s My Time/Go On and Cry (Motown)

It might be difficult to resist an offering from Neil Young or Rick James, but how about a 45 RPM single from a band which counted both gentlemen among its members?  The single “It’s My Time” b/w “Go On and Cry” was slated for 1966 release on Motown’s V.I.P. imprint, but was shelved until 2006’s Complete Motown Singles Volume 6 box set arrived.  Now, six years later, the single comes full circle and finally gets its intended vinyl pressing.  Get it while you can!

2.            Various Artists, Never To Be Forgotten – The Flip Side of Stax 1968-1974 (Light in the Attic)

Light in the Attic has pulled out all of the stops for this Record Store Day crown jewel: a 7” vinyl box set containing ten singles from the Stax library circa 1968-1974!  Artists include Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Mable John, Melvin Van Peebles and the Mad Lads, and their singles are housed in a stunning 10 x 7” magnetic flip-top box which also contains an 84-page book.  Though a digital edition was released last week, no CD version has been announced, so vinyl is truly the best option to experience these seldom-heard Stax sides.  And who could resist that book?  You might also want to check out LITA’s new Lee Hazlewood compilation, The LHI Years!  It arrives soon on CD, but is making an early appearance on vinyl as part of the RSD festivities!

1.            Buck Owens, Coloring Book and Flexi Disc (Omnivore)

Were there prizes awarded for Most Creative and Most Fun Releases this year at Record Store Day, the top honors would surely go to the team at Omnivore Recordings!  They’ve given nostalgia a new meaning with the release of the Buck Owens Coloring Book and Flexi Disc.  The country star and Hee Haw host planned to release his official coloring book in 1970, but instead, the books languished in a warehouse.  Omnivore to the rescue!  The clever label has bundled one of these original Owens treasures with a newly-pressed flexi-disc (available in red, white or blue, natch). The coloring book tells the story of Buck and his Buckaroos, with the grand finale a concert performance that can be heard on the flexi-disc. “Act Naturally,” “Together Again,” “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail” and “Crying Time” are all mentioned in the coloring book and can be played by you, the reader! All four songs come from Owens’ White House performance on September 9, 1968 before President Lyndon B. Johnson. A digital download card also contains all four songs, and the full concert will be released later this year on CD from Omnivore.  In the meantime, this unique offering just might make you join me in shouting, “Hee haw!”

Hit the jump for Mike’s top picks! Read the rest of this entry »

Bowie, McCartney, Joplin, Springsteen, Clash, Davis, Small Faces, More Lead Record Store Day Pack

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We’re just three weeks away from Record Store Day on April 21, and following individual announcements from fantastic labels like Omnivore Recordings, Concord Records, Sundazed Music and Rhino/Warner Bros., we can finally reveal the full line-up of RSD-related goodies!

These limited editions, available at independent music retailers across the U.S. and even internationally, are primarily vinyl releases in various formats (7-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, etc.) and range from replicas of classic albums to EPs and singles premiering exclusive content.  Some of our favorite artists here at TSD HQ are represented, including David Bowie, James Brown, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Lee Hazlewood, Janis Joplin, Buck Owens, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Bruce Springsteen, and even the “odd couple” pairing of Neil Young and Rick James as members of Motown’s The Mynah Birds!  All told, there’s plenty for fans of rock, pop and jazz on offer this year!

Without further ado, hit the jump for our exhaustive list of RSD releases related to the catalogue artists we celebrate each and every day here at The Second Disc.  For those in need of a checklist, you can find a downloadable PDF here of the complete list, and this official Record Store Day list also includes all of the releases of a more recent vintage.  Sound off below on which title you are most eagerly awaiting, and thanks for supporting your local independent record retailer! Read the rest of this entry »

Guitars A Go-Go: “Fender: The Golden Age” and Jerry Cole’s “Psychedelic Guitars” Celebrated by Ace

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If you’ve got guitars on the mind, look no further than a pair of new releases from those compilation experts at the Ace label!  Fender: The Golden Age 1950-1970 (Ace CDCHD 1315) is a new 28-track anthology that manages to be both comprehensive and the tip of the iceberg, where the famous guitar is concerned!  A new companion to the 2010 book of almost the same name (Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970 by Martin Kelly), this set offers a rare chance to appreciate both the talent on the record label and those axemen lending support.  And if Psychedelic Guitars are your bag, you’ll want to pick up the third installment of Ace’s series devoted to the sixties recordings of Jerry Cole.  Derived from Cole’s work on the Crown and Custom labels, Psychedelic Guitars surveys both appropriately trippy originals and well-chosen covers from the likes of Jimmy Webb and Jimi Hendrix.

Are you experienced?  Jerry Cole certainly was.  A veteran session man, his guitar graced countless budget titles in a variety of genres, from country to rock to even the obligatory Tijuana Brass tribute!  Ace’s series of Cole releases has separated the wheat from the chaff, and revealed that great music can be found in the unlikeliest of places.  For Psychedelic Guitars, the label has included 24 tracks from six albums on which Cole – in a variety of guises including The Generation Gap, The Stone Canyon Rock Group and my personal favorite, T Swift and the Electric Bag – was supported by Wrecking Crew stalwarts Don Randi, Steve Douglas and Leon Russell.  Under his own name, Cole recorded for Capitol, and even joined the Wrecking Crew for hitmaking sessions with Phil Spector and Brian Wilson.  He found plenty of business, however, with budget labels eager to jump on whatever musical bandwagon happened to be passing by.  In 1967, that bandwagon was psychedelia.

It’s hard to decide what’s groovier here: the music or the fantastically colorful LP covers reproduced in Ace’s 12-page booklet.  But I’ll give the edge to the fuzz- and feedback-laden music, as selected by compiler and annotator Mike Vernon.  Jimi Hendrix is name-checked on “Our Man Hendrix,” a funky little workout attributed to The Projection Company which doesn’t quite recall its namesake despite some sizzling work from Cole.  Hendrix recurs with a spacey and super-charged cover of “Are You Experienced,” which also gave the title to the T. Swift and the Electric Bag album!  Other than a few well-selected covers including a smoking instrumental take on The Box Tops’ “The Letter,” though, Cole wrote most of the (infectious!) material here.  There’s a great organ-and-guitar freak-out on “What’s Your Bag” from T. Swift, and “Kimeaa” bears a strong Eastern influence.  Cole channels a bit of the style of Wes Montgomery on The Projection Company’s “Tune Out of Place.”

There are even some vocal showcases, including “Are You Experienced.”  “Wild Times” from the Stone Canyon Rock Group and the trippy, drawled “High on Love” from The Generation Gap are akin to acid-tinged country-rock.  There’s an MOR vocal cover of Jimmy Webb’s epic “MacArthur Park” that closes out the compilation; it’s too bad that Webb’s “Up, Up and Away” (which lent another Cole LP its title!) didn’t make the cut here, although Vernon’s liner notes describe it as “quite dreadful.”  Yikes!  The rendition of “Gimme Some Lovin’” offers a nice variation on the original and the original “I Can’t Stand It” could have been a radio hit in its own right.

What stands out about all of these tracks is the sheer musicianship and adventurous spirit of Jerry Cole.  Hit the jump to join a number of Fender’s most illustrious guitar-pickers! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 16, 2012 at 10:13

The Knack (And How to Get It): Omnivore Offers Knack EP, Rare Buck Owens Coloring Book For Record Store Day

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We’re less than two months away from Record Store Day, and with that means the promise of major limited edition releases from many of the labels you read about each day here at The Second Disc.  Los Angeles’ Omnivore Recordings, one of our favorite new labels of 2011, is leading the pack with its announcement of two unique titles to be made available on April 21 for Record Store Day.  The more unusual of the two is, believe it or not, a coloring book!  Yes, Omnivore is offering a 2,500-copy limited edition of an actual 1970 Buck Owens coloring book, complete with a colorful flexi-disc containing four songs!  (A digital download card will also be included to bring the package into the 21st century!)  And that’s not all.  Omnivore will also issue a 10-inch “authorized bootleg” EP from power pop legends The Knack.  Live in Los Angeles: 1978 chronicles the band before “My Sharona” vaulted them to the big time one year later.  (The song is, however, heard on the EP!)  Befitting the spirit of Record Store Day, both titles are vinyl-only releases.

Buck Owens, pioneer of the Bakersfield Sound and Hee-Haw television personality, planned to release his official coloring book back in 1970.  In the “better late than never” department, it finally sees wide release for the first time on Record Store Day.  The package consists of a coloring book from Owens’ original stock plus a newly-pressed flexi-disc (available in red, white or blue).  The coloring book tells the story of Buck and his Buckaroos, with the grand finale a concert performance that can be heard on the flexi-disc.  “Act Naturally,” “Together Again,” “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail” and “Crying Time” are all mentioned in the coloring book and can be played by you, the reader!  All four songs come from Owens’ White House performance on September 9, 1968 before President Lyndon B. Johnson.  A digital download card also contains all four songs.  The original Live at the White House LP was issued on September 5, 1972 and hasn’t yet seen reissue on CD…until now.  Omnivore will, later this year, issue that seminal recording along with some very special bonus tracks: a previously unissued set recorded by Owens for the astronauts of Apollo 16 in 1972.  The label cheekily notes that these tracks have “never before been heard on planet Earth!”

Hit the jump to get the Knack! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 5, 2012 at 11:04

Review: Buck Owens, “Bound For Bakersfield: The Complete Pre-Capitol Collection 1953-1956”

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Though Buck Owens made his name in Bakersfield, California, his adopted hometown from the age of 21, he was a familiar face to audiences across America as co-host of Hee Haw, the country music variety show that launched in 1969 and lasted until 1992.  (Owens remained with the show until 1986.)  Despite the silliness of the television show, Owens was serious about his music, which was a direct answer to the “countrypolitan” sound storming Nashville in the 1960s.  Owens and his Buckaroos, along with Bakersfield colleagues like Ferlin Husky and Merle Haggard and the Strangers, brought country back to its honky-tonk roots, pure and simple.  But his path to stardom, like that of so many others in those pre-American Idol days, was a circuitous one.  Owens made his major-label debut at Capitol in 1957, releasing his first LP for the Tower in 1961.  But he had been a presence in Bakersfield since 1951, playing sessions for Faron Young and Wanda Jackson circa 1954, and shopping his songs around. 

During the years 1953-1956, Owens made his first solo recording, recorded a clutch of singles for the small Pico Rivera, California-based Pep label and continued to record demos, many of which were collected (of course) after his fame.  All of these recordings, and more, have been brought together by RockBeat Records, with the cooperation of the Owens family, as Bound for Bakersfield: The Complete Pre-Capitol Collection 1953-1956 (ROC-CD-3028, 2011).

A number of the tracks on Bakersfield have been packaged and re-packaged before, but this 24-song collection produced by Jim Shaw and James Austin expands on perhaps the most comprehensive of them, 2001’s 21-track Young Buck on the Audium label.  The new compilation opens with two selections from his first known session in 1953 in Hollywood, which produced two singles (“Down on the Corner of Love” b/w “It Don’t Show on Me” and “The House Down the Block” b/w “Right After the Dance”) on Pep. It comes to a close with a 1956 Bakersfield session with Owens on the verge of his breakthrough.

These compact songs, a number of which clock in at under two minutes’ length, draw on elements of honky-tonk and western swing for a traditional country-and-western sound.  There’s prominent fiddle and pedal steel, as well as tinkling piano and of course, Owens’ Telecaster guitar, the unique sound of which drew attention to the young star-to-be in Bakersfield.  The tracks largely don’t stray from that sound, and the sameness would threaten to bog down the compilation if not for the charm of Owens’ compositions.  Owens is responsible for writing all but one track here, “Blue Love” by Melba Rocha.  He co-wrote “Hot Dog” with Denny Dedmon. 

“Hot Dog” and its flip, “Rhythm and Booze,” are the most atypical tracks here, both recorded under the pseudonym Corky Jones in an attempt to court the rockabilly market.  (Owens is quoted in Rich Kienzle’s liner notes speaking of the pure country partisans in Bakersfield: “If you even got caught smilin’ over at the rockabilly folks, the Elvis folks or any of that, if anybody ever saw you do that, you was out!”) “Hot Dog” boasts a prominent drum beat and a breathless vocal.  “Rhythm” is a downright weird song, all tension and jitters, with the singer moaning and wailing through the fade!  It’s interesting, for sure, but Owens doesn’t have the danger in his voice that marks much of the best of the rockabilly genre, and his tentativeness with the genre shows.

We’ll pick up after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 30, 2011 at 13:56

Posted in Buck Owens, Features, News, Reissues, Reviews

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