BUCK OWENS The Complete Capitol Recordings 1969-1975


8 CD Box
Set Now Released
Complete Capitol Recordings 1969-1975
Following Bear
’s previous Buck Owens box
sets, Act Naturally and Open Up Your Heart, this collection
brings together the artist’s final recordings for Capitol Records, covering the period
1969-1965 – a total of 214 tracks with a playing time of (approx) 521
Although not as dominant chartwise as in preceding
years, this six year period nevertheless produced 20 chart entries, a figure
rivalled by few of Owens’ contemporaries. This collection also includes duets by
Susan Raye and Buddy Alan alongside all the recordings
by the artist’s award winning group The
. Plus there’s more than dozen hitherto unissued
(Bear Family BCD 16898 HK)
was a period of change for the
superstar, coming at a time when he was at his musical and commercial peak.
Besides the hits, he operated a highly successful music publishing operation
(Blue Book) which also featured material by Merle Haggard, among others, and given
a great boost when Ray Charles
transformed his Cryin’ Time into a
major pop hit. In addition, he was soon to become a household name with his
appearances on Hee Haw, the weekly
tv series that he co-hosted with Roy
and built a highly successful concert show around with his group The Buckaroos, Susan Raye, son Buddy Alan and The Hagers.
But Buck
, who had built his immensely successful career on snappy songs and the
“freight train” sound, wanted to make changes and attain the musical freedom
that artists in the pop/rock world had secured. The first sign of change came
with the singles Who’s Gonna Mow Your
and Johnny B. Goode (found
in the previous box set) and now continued with Tall Dark Stranger, a differently
structured song that Owens wrote from a phrase used by his grandmother. It was
“sweetened” by producer Ken Nelson
who added Nashville vocal overdubs and resulted in his 19th Billboard
number one while the album of the same name attained number two
The three chart singles that followed – Big In Vegas, The Kansas City Song and I Wouldn’t Live In New York City (If They
Gave Me The Whole Dang Town)
– were among the songs also to be found in
1970’s I Wouldn’t Live In New York
album, a collection of Owens penned songs featuring well known places.
In early 1971 he charted with a cover of Paul Simon’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and that
subsequent album also included Simon’s I
Am A Rock
and Homeward Bound,
alongside Donovan’s Catch The Wind and Dylan’s Love Minus Zero-No Limit, with only a
minimal of original songs from Owens. Then came another fresh musical direction,
bluegrass, as the #3 charted Ruby (Are
You Mad)
and the #2 follow-up Rollin’
In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
led on to an album that also included such classics
as Ole Slew Foot, Salty Dog Blues
and Rocky
Among his other albums was a Gospel collection, Your Mother’s Prayer, which featured Wait A Little Longer Please Jesus, That Old
Time Religion, Lonesome Valley
and When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder; Arms Full Of Empty, a collection of
Owens originals, heavy on shuffles and ‘60s style honky-tonk material; (It’s A) Monsters Holiday which, a
rarity for the singer, included several covers, Pass Me By (If You’re Only Passin’ Through),
Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’
Amazing Love
among them; and his final release, 41st Street Lonely Hearts
, the title song born out of one of the singer’s many promotional
campaigns, “Lonely Buck Owens looking for
a wife”.

other chart singles were I’ll Still Be
Waiting For you, Made In Japan
(his final number one on Capitol), You Ain’t Gonna Have Ol’ Buck To Kick Around
No More, In The Palm Of Your Hand, Ain’t It Amazing Gracie, Arms Full Of Empty,
Big Game Hunter
(a satire on television football), On The Cover Of The Music City News (Shel Silverstein’s country music
version of his The Cover Of Rolling Stone, recorded by Dr. Hook), It’s A Monster’s Holiday (which became a
favourite around Halloween), Great
and 41st
Street Lonely Hearts Club/Weekend Daddy
. His final Capitol single was a
revival of Jimmie Driftwood’s The Battle Of New Orleans, originally a
chart-topper for Johnny Horton in
The chart singles didn’t end there though. He enjoyed
one-off success with son Buddy Alan
on a revival of Too Old To Cut The
(originally a hit for both Ernest Tubb & Red Foley and The Carlisles in 1952) which led on to
the album of the same name which included further novelties like I Won’t Go Huntin’ With You Jake (But I’ll
Go Chasin’ Women), Cigareets, Whuskey and Wild, Wild Women
and Pfft! You Were
more successful were the duets with
born Susan Raye, who joined Owens’
organisation in 1968 and remained in his circle for eight years. Maintaining
country music’s popular tradition of male-female offerings, the couple hit the
charts six times – We’re Gonna Get
Together, Togetherness, The Great White Horse, Looking Back To See, The Good Old
Days (Are Here Again)
and Love Is
– alongside a handful of albums, We’re Gonna Get Together, The Great White
Horse, The Good Old Days (Are Here Again)
as well as a seasonal collection,
Merry Christmas From Buck Owens &
Susan Raye
which featured all Owens originals (some co-penned) such as Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy, At Home On
Christmas Day
and Santa’s Gonna Come
In A Stagecoach.
Susan Raye, of
course, also enjoyed a very successful career on Capitol Records, notching up 17
chart singles for the label.
was one other duet and undoubtedly the rarest of all Buck Owens
work. Recorded on
27, 1969
at the Capitol Studios in
it featured soul singer Bettye Swann
joining forces with Owens on Haggard’s Today I Started Loving You Again.
Produced by Wayne Shuler, it was a
revolutionary idea having a white man singing with a black female (and Owens was
never one to maintain the status quo) but Capitol’s Ken Nelson was outraged and quickly
shelved the recording. It’s only in this collection that it’s now seen the light
of day. Among the other unreleased recordings is I’ve Got A Happy Heart, which became a
Top 3 hit for Susan Raye in 1972,
and the biographical California Okie,
which he later re-recorded for Warner
Enjoying an equally prolific recording career were The Buckaroos who, besides backing up
Owens on the majority of his recording sessions, also released five albums in
their own right – Roll Your Own, Rompin’
& Stompin’, Boot Hill, Play The Hits
and The Songs Of Merle Haggard, the last
named included Daddy Frank (The Guitar
Man), Today I Started Loving You Gain, Okie From Muskogee, Swinging Doors
and Mama Tried. One of country
music’s most successful bands, The
enjoyed two chart singles during this period, Nobody But You and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. The
group was headed up by Owens’ right hand man, occasional writing partner and
close friend Don Rich and included,
over the years, such luminaries as Doyle
Holly, Doyle Singer, Earl Ball, Jayne D. Maness
and Buddy Emmons.
from the recordings, Buck Owens’
other activities flourished. His appearances on Hee Haw had further developed his
popularity by putting him before television audiences (and he remained with it
until 1986, leaving it when goofy comedy prevailed over country music) while
converting an old movie theatre in
into a recording studio gave him the opportunity to experiment with his music.
Named, obviously, the Buck Owens
, all recording sessions from April 1970 were headquartered at this
new location rather than at the Capitol studios on
There were also his interests in radio and television and when it was time to
renew his Capitol contract on June 1, 1971, he held the bargaining clout with
all his acts being contracted to Buck
Owens Enterprises
, rather than the label, and Capitol
specifying that it release a given number of albums and singles – with the
ownership of the recordings then reverting back to Owens. Such a deal was ahead
of its time but this would become more and more commonplace for big stars in the
years that followed.
his life was turned around. On
18, 1974
Buck Owens received the news that Don
had died in a motorcycle accident. He was the alter ego upon whom Owens
depended over the previous 15 years, on stage and in the studio, “as much a part of the music as I was. He
seemed able to read my mind”.
He descended into a downward spire of
depression that took years to overcome.
Accompanying the eight cd’s in this collection is a 108
page, hardcover book in which writer Rich Kienzle covers this period of Buck Owens career, detailing the songs
and recording sessions, alongside information on the musicians and
artists with whom he worked. With further sections devoted to the
Bettye Swann recording, the last Capitol
contract and Don Rich, the book concludes with a brief
insight into his life after he left Capitol Records in 1975 up to his death
on March 25, 2006. Primarily featuring interviews with the artist and keyboard
player Jim Shaw, the book is crammed
with photographs (colour and black & white), album cover reproductions and a
had wanted Bear Family Records to chronicle his career as only
this record label could. Now his wish is being

(Recordings 1953–1964) (5 cd set & 84 page hardcover book) – Bear Family BCD
16850 EK.
BUCK OWENS: Open Up Your
1965-1968) (7 cd set & 120 page hardcover book) – Bear Family BCD 16855

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