Act Naturally: The Buck Owens Recordings 1953-1964

Act Naturally: The Buck Owens Recordings 1953-1964

by Buck OwensBuck Owens


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By 1965, Buck Owens' star shone so brightly that even the Beatles -- the biggest band the world had ever known -- wanted to follow in his footsteps, covering his hit single "Act Naturally" on their Help! album, thereby kick-starting the golden era of country-rock in the late '60s. Thanks to the Beatles, many young rock & rollers now turned to Buck's Bakersfield sound as their template for what country music should be, reinvigorating rock & roll by adding what they learned from country, essentially reversing the equation Owens came up with at the start of the '60s, when he applied everything he learned from rock & roll to create the signature sound of that decade. Buck was grounded in '50s country but he had his head turned by rock & roll, eventually threading in the driving backbeat and electric guitars to his honky tonk background. This sound -- lean yet powerful as a locomotive, all fueled by the twin guitars and harmonies of Owens and his right-hand man, Don Rich -- became known as the Bakersfield sound, and it dominated country in the '60s, ruling the charts while creating scores of imitators and acolytes from Merle Haggard to Gram Parsons and Dwight Yoakam. The creation of that sound has never been as well documented as it is on Bear Family's 2008 set Act Naturally: The Buck Owens Recordings 1953-1964, which runs five discs and 159 tracks. Sometimes these big Bear Family sets are heavy on unreleased tracks, but that's not the case here; only 16 of the 159 cuts are previously unreleased (with 13 of them being alternates tacked onto the end of the set). This set may be skimpy on unreleased music, but most of Buck's recordings have been in circulation on CD, as Owens licensed his LPs to Sundazed for reissue (making him one of the few major country artists to have almost all his proper LPs appear on CD) and his pre-Capitol recordings were nearly all rounded up on Audium's 2001 set, Young Buck. So, the value of Act Naturally -- as it is with almost any Bear Family set -- is context, provided both by Rich Kienzle's excellent hardcover biography and the presentation of the music itself as the set systematically marches from his early recordings for Pep to his big hits for Capitol. What's startling about this is that those early singles do reveal Buck's roots so clearly, whether it's the debt "The House Down the Block" has to Hank Williams or how "Down on the Corner of Love" has the unmistakable midtempo gait of Buck's later "Above and Beyond," or how the rockabilly of "Hot Dog" and "Rhythm and Booze" -- a single released under the name Corky Jones -- hinted at the twanging Telecasters of his prime work. All these elements were in place from the start, but it took Buck a while to get there and Act Naturally follows every one of his footsteps, from his time backing Bud Hobbs on his MGM sessions to the first flowering of his signature sound on "Under Your Spell Again" in 1960 through Don Rich's switch from fiddle to electric guitar roughly a few months later. As the '60s rolled on, Owens didn't expand his Bakersfield sound so much as hone it, sanding off the edges and turning it into something cleanly efficient yet surprisingly versatile. Whether he was singing heartbreak ballads like "Crying Time" and skipping through neo-novelties like "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail" or singing tunes by Harlan Howard and Tommy Collins -- or turning in renditions of Red Simpson's "Close Up the Honky Tonks" and Terry Fell's "Truck Driving Man" that provided the blueprint for decades of country-rock to come -- he always sounded unmistakably like himself. He had a sound like no other and, with his expert ear, he built a songbook -- partially originals, partially expertly chosen covers -- that defined what modern country music was all about in the last 40 years of the 20th century. His impact is of course well known, but nowhere is it easier to appreciate than it is on this marvelous set.

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Product Details

Release Date: 08/05/2008
Label: Bear Family
UPC: 4000127168504
catalogNumber: 16850
Rank: 97153


Disc 1

  1. Down on the Corner of Love
  2. It Don't Show on Me
  3. The House Down the Block
  4. Right After the Dance
  5. Hot Dog
  6. Rhythm and Booze
  7. There Goes My Love
  8. Sweethearts in Heaven
  9. Honeysuckle
  10. Country Girl (Leavin' Dirty Tracks)
  11. You're Fer Me
  12. Blue Love
  13. Please Don't Take Her from Me
  14. Three Dimension Love
  15. Why Don't My Mommy Stay with My Daddy and Me?
  16. I'm Gonna Blow
  17. I Found You Out
  18. You're Just What the Doctor Ordered
  19. Rightfully Mine
  20. Goose Rock
  21. Louisiana Swing
  22. I'm Gonna Set You Free
  23. Mean, Mean, Mean
  24. Last Dance Tonight
  25. Down on the Corner of Love
  26. It Don't Show on Me
  27. The House Down the Block
  28. Right After the Dance
  29. Blue Love

Disc 2

  1. I Only Know That I Love You
  2. Sweet Thing
  3. I Know What It Means
  4. Come Back to Me
  5. Walk the Floors
  6. My Everlasting Love
  7. Second Fiddle
  8. I'll Take a Chance on Loving You
  9. Tired of Livin'
  10. Under Your Spell Again
  11. I'll Give My Heart to You
  12. I Gotta a Right to Know
  13. Above and Beyond
  14. Excuse Me (I Think I've Got a Heartache)
  15. Take Me Back Again
  16. 'Til These Dreams Come True
  17. Think It Over
  18. Foolin' Around
  19. Nobody's Fool But Yours
  20. High as the Mountains
  21. Loose Talk
  22. Mental Cruelty
  23. I Don't Believe I'll Fall in Love Today
  24. Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
  25. Let's Agree to Disagree
  26. The Keeper of the Key
  27. Lyin' Again
  28. Heartaches for a Dime
  29. Heartaches by the Number
  30. The One You Slip Around With
  31. The Key's in the Mailbox
  32. I'll Catch You When You Fall
  33. Save the Last Dance for Me

Disc 3

  1. Under the Influence of Love
  2. Nobody's Fool But Yours
  3. Goin' Down to the River
  4. Bad Bad Dream
  5. Down on the Corner of Love
  6. The House Down the Block
  7. Fool Me Again
  8. You're for Me
  9. Blues for Life
  10. The King of Fools
  11. Bring It to Jesus
  12. All the Way with Jesus
  13. Mexican Polka
  14. Country Polka
  15. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
  16. Storm of Love
  17. One Way Love
  18. Kickin' Our Hearts Around
  19. Save the Last Dance for Me
  20. The King of Fools
  21. I Can't Stop (My Lovin' You)
  22. Act Naturally
  23. Over and Over Again
  24. My Heart Skips a Beat
  25. There's Gonna Come a Day
  26. Diggy Liggy Lo
  27. Orange Blossom Special
  28. Cotton Fields
  29. Touch Me
  30. Saw Mill
  31. Sweethearts in Heaven
  32. Sally Was a Good Old Girl
  33. Release Me

Disc 4

  1. Sweethearts in Heaven
  2. We're the Talk of the Town
  3. Back Street Affair
  4. No Fool Like an Old Fool
  5. Love's Gonna Live Here
  6. Getting Used to Loosing You
  7. Smooth Sailin'
  8. But I Do
  9. If You Ain't Lovin' You Ain't Livin'
  10. My Last Chance with You
  11. Down, Down, Down
  12. You Gotta Have a License
  13. High on a Hilltop
  14. It Tickles
  15. Watcha Gonna Do Now
  16. I Always Get a Souvenir
  17. There'll Be No Other
  18. No Love Have I
  19. Louisiana Man
  20. Abilene
  21. A Maiden's Prayer
  22. Bud's Bounce
  23. Ain't It Amazing Gracie?
  24. My Heart Skips a Beat
  25. Together Again
  26. Close Up the Honky Tonks
  27. Truck Drivin' Man
  28. I Don't Hear You
  29. Hello Trouble
  30. A-11
  31. Act Naturally

Disc 5

  1. I Don't Care (Just as Long as You Love Me)
  2. Don't Let Her Know
  3. Dang Me
  4. This Ol' Heart
  5. Understand Your Man
  6. You're Welcome Anytime
  7. Buck's Polka
  8. Playboy
  9. We're Gonna Let the Good Times Roll
  10. Cryin' Time
  11. I've Got a Tiger by the Tail
  12. Trouble and Me
  13. If You Fall out of Love with Me
  14. Fallin' for You
  15. The Band Keeps Playin' On
  16. Memphis
  17. Streets of Laredo
  18. Gonna Have Love
  19. Let the Sad Times Roll On
  20. Wham Bam
  21. Above and Beyond
  22. I Don't Believe I'll Fall in Love Today
  23. Lyin' Again
  24. Heartaches for a Dime
  25. Heartaches by the Number
  26. The One You Slip Around With
  27. The Key's in the Mailbox
  28. I'll Catch You When You Fall
  29. Bring It to Jesus
  30. All the Way with Jesus
  31. Save the Last Dance for Me
  32. The King of Fools
  33. All the Way with Jesus

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Buck Owens   Primary Artist
Bill Woods   Piano,Steel Guitar
Glenn Ayers   Bass,Drums
Tom Brumley   Steel Guitar
Reed Butler   Percussion,Voices
Johnny Cuviello   Drums
Ferlin Husky   Bass
Cal Maddox   Guitar
Rose Maddox   Leader,Vocals
Ralph Mooney   Steel Guitar
Roy Nichols   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Jim Pierce   Piano
Lewis Talley   Rhythm Guitar
Mel Taylor   Drums
Allen Williams   Bass
Robert Morris   Bass
Wayne Stone   Drums
Billy Mize   Steel Guitar
Fuzzy Owen   Bass,Steel Guitar
Willie Cantu   Drums
Jay McDonald   Steel Guitar
Kenny Pierce   Bass,Vocals
Ken Presley   Drums
Jelly Sanders   Bass,Fiddle,Guitar
Cliff Crofford   Trumpet
Bud Hobbs   Guitar,Leader,Vocals
Gene Moles   Electric Guitar
Jackie Trent   Piano
Lawrence Williams   Piano
Donald "Dusty" Rhodes   Steel Guitar
Marion Z. "Pee Wee" Adams   Drums
Leonard Sipes   Guitar
Ray Heath   Drums
George French   Piano
Roy Lee   Bass
Alvis E. Owens   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Leader,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Robert Allen Austin   Bass
Doyle Floyd Hendricks   Bass,Guitar,Vocals
Melvin Lee "Mel" King   Drums
Donald Eugene Ulrich   Acoustic Guitar,Fiddle,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Roland Earl Weber   Guitar,Vocals
Oscar Whittington   Fiddle

Technical Credits

Lead Belly   Composer
Doug Kershaw   Composer
Willie Nelson   Composer
Buck Owens   Composer
Mel Tillis   Composer
Dwight Yoakam   Introduction
Chuck Berry   Composer
Wanda Jackson   Composer
Mort Shuman   Composer
Freddie Hart   Composer
Tommy Collins   Composer
Bill Woods   Composer
Hank Cochran   Composer
Terry Fell   Composer,Producer
Harlan Howard   Composer
Dave Kirby   Composer
John D. Loudermilk   Composer
Ann Lucas   Composer
Ken Nelson   Producer
Bonnie Owens   Composer
Doc Pomus   Composer
Dusty Rhodes   Composer
Don Rollins   Composer
Ervin T. Rouse   Composer
Ray Sanders   Composer
Horace Whatley   Composer
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   Composer
Rich Kienzle   Biographical Notes
Jesse Kaye   Producer
Fuzzy Owen   Composer
Orville Couch   Composer
Glen Garrison   Composer
Bud Isaacs   Composer
R.A. Andreas   Illustrations
Richard Weize   Reissue Producer,Tape Research
Dave Sax   Illustrations
Holger Von Bargen   Art Direction
W.S. Stevenson   Composer
Eddie McDuff   Composer
Beverly Stewart   Composer
Wanda Collins   Composer
Dixie Davis   Composer
Rollie Weber   Composer
Dub Williams   Composer
Robert Yount   Composer
Kenny B. Devine   Composer
Wolfgang Taubenauer   Artwork,Photo Restoration
Voni Morrison   Composer
Erich Hülsenbeck   Photo Scanning
Andreas Merck   Photo Scanning
Buddy Mize   Composer
Alvis E. Owens   Producer,Author
LeeAnn Ennis   Photo Scanning
Christian Schweder   Tape Comparison
Lance Guynes   Composer

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