The best country band…ever-Buck Owens, Don Rich, Willie Cantu, Tom Brumley and Doyle Holley…aka The Buckaroos

Three cool dudes: Buck Owens, Tex Ritter and Dad
circa 1965 (photo by Polaroid…the 1960’s version of the digital camera)

I’m trying to follow the blog rule of my pal, Steve, in not going back and adding stuff to the blog after I post it, but, I thought of something I wanted to add on thoughts of Buck.

In 1989, I was working at CMT. This was before it was bought by the mega conglomerate and was a struggling little cable channel run by Stan Hitchcock. I was the 20 year old on the front desk, answering the phone…the lowest chick on the totem pole.

There was a television that played CMT (what else) all day long. It was quite redundant hearing the same 10 songs over and over all day long and to this day, songs/videos that were popular at the time ran along the lines of the then “new” acts like Alan, Clint and that guy named Garth. In the mix, there was some Buck Owens thrown in. I was nuts about Buck and did something I’ve only done one other time and that was write a fan letter. (The other one was to Donny and Marie when I was about 7). I had the advantage of having Buck’s office address so I guess that helped it get right into his hands.

To my utter amazement, about two weeks later, I received a package in the mail. In it were two autographed cassettes, an 8 x 10 and a personal, handwritten letter from the Buckster himself. Do keep in mind, this guy was a multi-bazillionaire and largely retired from actively performing so he certainly had nothing to prove by responding to me. But, he did.

Some might say “What is the big deal…he was the guy on Hee Haw?” HA! Hee Haw was just a minute little stop Buck made in his professional journey. Before he hit the Kornfield, Buck Owens was a succesful studio musician in Los Angeles. He underplayed his guitar abilities after the great Don Rich joined his outfit and he largely let him do the guitar work and I don’t know that he ever showed off his chops on Hee Haw.

Buck Owens recorded some of the best country music ever and he did it all on the West Coast. He was covered by the Beatles, even and they didn’t cover a lot of artists. He refused to be part of the Nashville machine (thank goodness) and he pretty much did it his way and on his terms. He was also a sharp businessman, owning Lord knows how many radio stations.

If all you know of Buck is the guy on Hee Haw with the backwards overalls (Hee Haw was the bomb though), I would strongly encourage you to take a hop over to your favorite music outlet and get a copy of The Very Best Of Buck Owens Vol I.