Buck Owens Part Four
It’s good to do Buck Owens bio, in my blogs, and this is no exception. In Buck Owens Part Four, I will dig deep in his later life and let you know what I found, plus a new album as well, so let’s get started with Buck Owens Part Four, and I’ll be uploading another Buck Owens for the future.
Dwight Yoakam was largely influenced by Owens’ style of music and eventually teamed up with him for a duet of “Streets of Bakersfield” in 1988. Their duet was Owens’ first No. 1 single in 16 years. In an interview, Yoakam described the first time he met with Owens:
We sat there that day in 1987 and talked about my music to that point, my short career, and what I’d been doing and how he’d been watching me. I was really flattered and thrilled to know that this legend had been keeping an eye on me.
Owens also collaborated with Cledus T. Judd in the song “The First Redneck On The Internet” in 1998, in which Owens also appears in the music video.
The 1990s saw a flood of reissues of his Capitol recordings on compact disc. In 1974, Owens had bought back publishing rights to all of his Capitol recordings, as part of his final contract with the label. His albums had been out of print for nearly 15 years, when he released a retrospective box set in 1990. Encouraged by brisk sales, Owens struck a distribution deal with Sundazed Records of New York, which specializes in reissuing obscure recordings. The bulk of his Capitol catalog was reissued on CD in 1995, 1997 and in 2005. Sometime in the 1970s, Owens had also purchased the remaining copies of his original LP albums from Capitol’s distribution warehouses across the country. Many of those records (still in the shrinkwrap) were stored by Owens for decades. He often gave them away as gifts and sold them at his nightclub for a premium price some 35 years later.
In August 1999, Owens brought back together the remaining members of his original Buckaroo Band to help him celebrate his 70th birthday at Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield. All the original surviving Buckaroos were there: Owens, Doyle Holly, Tom Brumley, and Wille Cantu performed old hits from their heyday including “Tiger by the Tail” and “Act Naturally.”
Owens was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. He was ranked No. 12 in CMT’s 40 Greatest Men of Country Music in 2003. In addition, CMT also ranked the Buckaroos No. 2 in the network’s 20 Greatest Bands in 2005.
Long before Owens became the famous co-host of Hee Haw, his band became known for their signature Bakersfield sound, later emulated by artists such as Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam and Brad Paisley. Buck inspired indie country songwriter and friend Terry Fraley whose band “The Nudie Cowboys” with a similar sound. This sound was originally made possible with two trademark silver-sparkle Fender Telecaster guitars, often played simultaneously by Owens and longtime wing-man Don Rich; Fender had made a “Buck Owens signature Telecaster,” and after his death paid tribute to him. In 2003, Paisley blended creative styles with this guitar and his own famous Paisley Telecaster, creating what became known as the Buck-O-Caster. Initially, only two were made; one for Paisley himself and the other presented to Owens during a New Year’s celebration that Paisley attended in 2004.
Following the death of Rich, Owens’ latter trademark was a red, white and blue acoustic guitar, along with a 1974 Pontiac convertible “Nudiemobile”, adorned with pistols and silver dollars. A similar car, created by Nudie Cohn for Elvis Presley and later won by Owens in a bet, is now enshrined behind the bar at Owens’ Crystal Palace Nightclub in Bakersfield.
Owens would hand out replicas of his trademark acoustic guitar to friends, acquaintances and fans. Each would contain a gold plaque with the name of the recipient. Some of these guitars cost $1000 and up.