Tribute: Buck Owens

91044__buck_lCountry titan Buck Owens, who died Saturday at 76, started as an outlaw and wound up as a clown. At least, that was the perception of many, including perhaps those under 40, who best remember him not as the architect of the Bakersfield Sound but as the co-host of Hee Haw for 17 years. It was a gig Owens came to resent, as it seemed to make record buyers take his music less seriously. After all, he’d gone from upstart status — rising up through the West Coast fringes of country alongside Merle Haggard and creating a rawer, more electrified sound — to being the top-selling country artist of the 1960s. In fact, he transcended country. His hits were covered by artists as far afield as the Beatles (”Act Naturally,” which became a signature song for Ringo Starr) and Ray Charles (”Cryin’ Time,” ”Together Again”), and he was name-checked by Creedence Clearwater Revival (in ”Looking Out My Back Door”). And the Bakersfield Sound (named for the California town that was Owens’ home base throughout his career) served as a touchstone to such late-60’s country-rockers as the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons, and Emmylou Harris.

Then in 1969 came Hee Haw, where he and co-host Roy Clark and others continued to make outstanding music, but whose cornpone humor Owens blamed for his slump on the charts. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s, with the rise of Dwight Yoakam, that Owens received his due as an influence and elder statesman. (The two had a No. 1 duet in 1988 with ”Streets of Bakersfield.”)

Still, if Owens felt overlooked, he continued to prosper as a businessman, with an empire of real estate holdings and radio stations. Hee Haw, which ceased production in 1992, remains hugely popular on DVD. And despite being plagued by health problems in recent years, Owens never stopped performing; he played his last concert hours before he died at his Crystal Palace club in Bakersfield.
USA Today has a list of 10 essential Owens tracks, and there are audio, video, and concert clips at Owens’ website.

addCredit(“Buck Owens: Everett Collection”)

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  • Bruce Thiessen

    I’m from Bakersfield, California and work a couple of blocks from Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. I was just about to complete work on my Buck Owens tribute CD, Confessions of a Buckaholic, when I heard the news of his death. While saddened by the news, it also caused me to reflect on his legacy and to write and record more songs for the CD. Here’s one that has already hit the airwaves, thanks to The Jaz McKay Show. I’d like to share it for free with Buck fans across the country:
    Oh, BTW, I’m Dr. BLT, an independent artist who writes and records music of multiple styles. You may have seen me on MTV, if you’r a Cake fan, or you may have heard, Black Santa, a song of mine that recently hit the top 30 download charts at mp3000.net.
    Believe it, or not, Buck Owens, with his rebel attitude, had a marked influence on multiple styles of music. So don’t be surprised if this song rocks your world or makes you want to get up and dance. Although there are some country songs on the forthcoming tribute CD, this is obviously not one of them. Let me know what you think:
    The Last Time I Saw Buck Owens
    words and music by Dr. BLT, (c)2006
    http://www.drblt.com/music/lastimebuck.mp3
    http://www.drblt.com

  • Bruce Thiessen

    Oops, I forgot that you country fans might also appreciate something free from the “Confessions of a Buckaholic” CD. Here are a couple:
    Starbuckaroo
    words and music by Dr. BLT (c)2005
    http://www.drblt.com/music/starbuckaroo.mp3
    4 Quarters Gets Me 2 Buck Songs
    words and music by Dr. BLT (c)2005
    and here’s one more rock n roll Buck tribute that’s really catching on around California:
    Buck has Joined Johnny in Heaven
    words and music by Dr. BLT (c)2006
    http://www.drblt.com/music/buckhas.mp3
    http://www.drblt.com
    KEEP THE SPIRIT OF BUCK OWENS ALIVE! CLINT BLACK, YOU DID YOUR PART WITH THAT FREE CONCERT AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE. THAT WAS A REAL TREAT!

  • Bruce Thiessen

    I hate to be the only one responding to the above article on Buck Owens, so anybody, please feel free to jump in at any time. Also, I want to thank Clint Black, who performed a free concert at the Crystal Palace just a couple of days after Buck’s funeral. You brought back Buck’s spirit to that place. I got to shake his hand, and tell him about this song that he inspired with his magnanimous act:
    You Dried Our Crystal Tears
    words and music by Dr. BLT (c)2006
    http://www.drblt.com/music/crystal.mp3

  • Bruce Thiessen

    It looks like I am the lone commenting visitor at this place, so I will make this my song shrine to Buck Owens. The following original free mp3 song represented my Buck-inspired efforts to invent a new brand of country music. This is an invention I call “super-modern country.” It mixes various genres into a modern dance groove with a hint of traditional Bakersfield Sound in the mix:
    Buck in the System
    words and music by Dr. BLT (c)2006
    from Confessions of a Buckaholic
    http://www.drblt.com/music/buckinthe.mp3
    or visit:
    http://www.drblt.com

  • Bruce Thiessen

    I’d like to thank all the DJs out there who have been honoring Buck Owens with this brand new tribute to him, and to the Crystal Palace. And I want to thank those who have sent me emails letting me know how much you appreciate this song, and, last, but not least, I want to thank the powers that be at Pop Watch for allowing me to make this my own personal song shrine for Buck Owens. For the rest of you, feel free to hear this and download it for free until the CD, Confessions of a Buckaholic is released on April 29, 2006. That goes for DJs who want to play it as well. It’s royalty-free until the CD is released, all in Buck’s honor.
    The Place You Used to Play
    words and music by Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT (c)2006
    http://www.drblt.com/music/theplacehe.mp3

  • Bruce Thiessen

    Welcome to what has become my own personal song shrine for Buck Owens. I’d like to invite others to offer songs and poems in Buck’s honor as well. The more, the merrier. I don’t think Buck would take kindly to the idea of my hogging up all the shrine space below Gary’s gracious comments. BTW, Buck, just in case you’ve got your ear turned towards the Streets of Bakersfield, I didn’t do justice to this song the first time around, so I’ve remixed, just for you, your family, your friends and your fans:
    4 Quarters Gets Me 2 Buck Songs (The Remix)
    words and music by Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT (c)2006
    http://www.drblt.com/music/fourquartersR.mp3

  • Bruce L. Thiessen

    The following song is dedicated, not only to Buck, but to Buck’s immediate family members. It’s a blue grass medley fusing two original songs: “Under the Influence (of Buck Owens)” and “Crystal Palace in the Sky.” “Under the Influence (of Buck Owens)” is a song that portrays the profound influence that Buck has had, and continues to have on musicians like myself, who are greatly indebted to the unique style of music he offered.
    “Crystal Palace in the Sky” offers a glimpse of our highly anticipated reunion with Buck Owens in heaven some day. The medley will appear on my new CD: “Confessions of a Buckaholic: A Tribute To Buck Owens.”
    Under the Influence (Of Buck Owens)/Crystal Palace in the Sky
    http://www.drblt.com/music/influence.mp3
    or
    http://www.drblt.com

  • Bruce L. Thiessen

    Well, it’s time for my daily trek to what has become my own personal song shrink for Buck Owens. Today, I’d like to encourage the young, and the young of heart, who are into musical experimentation and risk, to use Buck as a role model in your risk-taking, experimental musical endeavors. I tried to follow his example when I wrote and recorded this brand new “hick hop” rap/country fusion song:
    BYOB (Bring Yer Own Buck)
    words and music by Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT (c)2006
    http://www.drblt.com/music/byobuck.mp3

  • Bruce Thiessen

    Correction: “song shrink” below should read “song shrine.”

  • Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT

    Today I’m going to add something special to my Buck Owens song shrine. A few years ago I wrote a song about Buck Owens called “The Buck Stops Here,” and I sent it to Jim Shaw, the keyboard player for the Buckaroos, Buck’s business manager, and basically Buck’s right-hand man. I later received feedback from Jim. He told me that Buck Owens listened to the song, liked it. He added that Buck compared my style to that of Johnny Cash, a comparison I am clearly unworthy of, but one that I graciously accepted anyway. Sadly, “The Buck Stops Here,” has recently changed to “The Buck Stopped Here,” but, in a sense, he still stops here, at the Crystal Palace and everywhere his friends, family and fans may be, because his spirit will always be with us. Buck, thanks for your feedback on the song. If your ear is turned towards the earth, I hope you also like this remix of that original cassette version you heard:
    THE BUCK STOPPED HERE
    words and music by Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT (c)2006
    http://www.drblt.com/music/buckstop.mp3

  • Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT

    Today I’m going to add something special to my Buck Owens song shrine. A few years ago I wrote a song about Buck Owens called “The Buck Stops Here,” and I sent it to Jim Shaw, the keyboard player for the Buckaroos, Buck’s business manager, and basically Buck’s right-hand man. I later received feedback from Jim. He told me that Buck Owens listened to the song, liked it. He added that Buck compared my style to that of Johnny Cash, a comparison I am clearly unworthy of, but one that I graciously accepted anyway. Sadly, “The Buck Stops Here,” has recently changed to “The Buck Stopped Here,” but, in a sense, he still stops here, at the Crystal Palace and everywhere his friends, family and fans may be, because his spirit will always be with us. Buck, thanks for your feedback on the song. If your ear is turned towards the earth, I hope you also like this remix of that original cassette version you heard:
    THE BUCK STOPPED HERE
    words and music by Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT (c)2006
    http://www.drblt.com/music/buckstop.mp3

  • Bruce

    The above song links are no longer operational, in case you hadn’t noticed. I apologize. All the above songs can now be found at my website (under free mp3s) as the domain name has changed:
    http://www.drblt.net

  • Bruce

    Correction:
    The songs below can now be found at…

  • Bruce

    I understand that this has become quite a popular song shrine for Buck Owens fans and I apologize for the changed song links. Here are the new ones, and I’ve even thrown in a few bonus tracks.
    The Last Time I Saw Buck Owens
    words and music by Dr. BLT(c)2006
    http://www.drblt.net/music/lastimebuck.mp3
    Four Quarters Gets Me Two Buck Songs
    words and music by Dr. BLT(c)2006
    http://www.drblt.net/music/fourquartersR.mp3
    King of the Crystal Palace:
    words and music by Dr. BLT(c)2006
    http://www.drblt.net/music/kingcrystalpal.mp3
    The Place He Used to Play
    words and music by Dr. BLT(c)2006
    http://www.drblt.net/music/theplacehe.mp3
    and here’s one for Buck’s good friends, Merle:
    Merle Hasn’t Lost His Fighting Side
    (currently on playlist at WFMU in New York)
    words and music by Dr. BLT (c)2006
    http://www.drblt.net/music/MerleVeryLast.mp3
    and Johnny:
    The Ballad of Johnny and June
    words and music by Dr. BLT(c)2006
    http://www.drblt.net/music/Johnnyandjune.mp3
    (We) Still Miss Someone
    music/new lyrics adapted from Johnny Cash’s original
    http://www.drblt.net/music/MissSomeone.mp3
    Bruce
    aka Dr. BLT

  • Dr BLT

    Well, it’s been a while since I’ve paid a visit to the site, I’ve humbly, but single-handedly turned into a song shrine honoring Buck Owens. I noticed on my stats site that a lot of you have been trying to download these tunes, to no avail. That’s because the links have changed slightly. You’ll now need to replace the .com in the links with a .net
    Despite that barrier, you’ve managed to find the link for this surprise recent internet hit:
    Backin’Up Buck
    Dr. BLT
    words and music by Dr. BLT (c) 2006
    http://www.drblt.net/music/BackBuck.mp3
    While I haven’t written any new Buck Owens tribute material, his style continues to influence my music, as I’m sure you’ll discover in these recent new Christmas songs of mine:
    Christmas For Two
    Dr. BLT
    words and music by Dr. BLT (c) 2006
    http://www.drblt.net/music/XmasForTwo.mp3
    What Kind of Christmas Has This Become
    Dr. BLT
    words and music by Dr. BLT (c) 2006
    http://www.drblt.net/music/WhatKindaXmas.mp3
    Merry Christmas!
    Bruce L. Thiessen
    aka Dr. BLT

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