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Published on December 29th, 2011 | by Sam

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Buck Owens-Bound for Bakersfield

The newest Buck Owens release, Bound for Bakersfield, is a collection of recordings made before he was signed to Capitol.

Buck’s place in country music was keeping the honky tonk flame burning and bringing the California sound to the rest of the country. You can hear the development of his style on this recording. It is not as slick as the sound he forged in the 1960s but it has an honesty and integrity that would become the center of Buck Owens’ sound for the rest of his career.

Don Rich, Owens’ guitarist for decades, was not in the band at this point and his absence is noticeable. There are no scratchy chicken pickin country guitar solos on this collection, but it is still a great listen.

The record could be divided into a few core sounds. It starts out with the honky tonk sound in its infancy. “It Just Don’t Show On Me” has a haunting melody, and a bit of a Hank Williams vibe to it. The first version appearing, which is actually the alternate take, has some beautiful steel guitar playing.

The second section shows a clear influence from the classic Sun Records sound of the 1950s. Owens seems to pick them out one by one, channeling Carl Perkins on “There Goes My Love,” Elvis on “Hot Dog,” and Roy Orbison for “Rhythm and Booze.”

He then goes back to the honky tonk/Hank Williams sound for the remainder of the album.

One particular highlight is the second take of “There Goes My Love.” The song has a steel solo that could easily be mistaken for a Clarence White B-Bender solo in the early 70s Byrds.

The collection does violate one my personal requirements for albums in that the alternate takes are placed right before or after the final take. Listening to albums with the same song several times in a row gets very tedious. Now that most music is being bough online, record companies should maybe put the different takes on different ‘discs’ so the programming can be smoother.

Overall this album is a very enjoyable listen. The historical merits make it very interesting as well. For guitar stuff it wouldn’t be a very highly rated album, but for Buck Owens and country music fans it’s pretty outstanding.

4/5

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