Buck Owens- GOLD vinyl reissues reviews

Buck Owens- On the Bandstand
Buck Owens & His Buckaroos- Together Again/My Heart Skips A Beat

Sundazed Music

These were among the albums to establish Buck Owens and His Buckaroos as genuine country stars, capable and consistent hit-makers who could draw crowds, demand airplay, and move vinyl; as the liner notes of the second album confidently states, “one of the all-time top entertainers in the Country and Western music field.”

Sundazed Music has re-released beautiful sounding, nicely accented editions of these two classic, significant albums, both on bold gold vinyl.

There had been hit singles before these albums—“Under Your Spell Again,” “Above and Beyond,” and “Foolin’ Around” being three—but it was with 1964’s Together Again/My Heart Skips A Beat that Buck Owens & His Buckaroos arrived.

It was their first  #1 album, following the #2 charting Best of Buck Owens months before, and buoyed by hit singles it paved the way for eleven of their next twelve releases to top the album charts. A fairly self-contained unit and at the top of their creativity, Buck Owens and His Buckaroos demonstrated that a group could maintain a consistent sound no matter who was playing.

On the Bandstand appeared the year prior, and produced a single hit, the #8 Wanda Jackson’s “Kickin’ Our Hearts Around.” What makes these two albums most significant is the quality of the material beyond chart action.

On The Bandstand, a calculated release (“Buck and the boys sing and play the country’s favorites,” declares the back cover) has significant songs including “King of Fools,” “Cotton Fields,” and “Touch Me” (Willie Nelson’s first solo hit), ably sung by bass player Kenny Pierce. Fiddler and provided guitarist Don Rich is prominently featured, of course, although only general credits are mentioned; his rendition of “Orange Blossom Special” is fairly epic.

Together Again/My Heart Skips A Beat—named (awkwardly) for the double-sided hit, each side of which reached #1 on the country singles chart—also features engaging performances of “Close Up the Honky Tonks,” “Save the Last Dance For Me,” a #11 hit, and Owens’ first recording of a song that would become a standard, “A-11.” The album is deep, with ‘late side’ tracks “Over and Over Again,” “Truck Drivin’ Man,” “Getting Used to Losing You” and “Storm of Love” as riveting as the more prominently featured songs. By this time, Jay McDonald (steel guitar) had moved on, replaced by Tom Brumley, featured so prominently on “Together Again.”

Hard-core honky tonk, these albums are. They represent the early, classic Bakersfield Sound, an approach that would evolve with time and influence generations of country performers, from Bobby Austin (credited with some bass on the first album), Tony Booth, Susan Raye, and Dwight Yoakam.

I can certainly understand Owens collectors and novices both wanting these updated, impeccable-sounding vinyl versions within their collections. They sound terrific, and the gold vinyl is certainly eye-catching!

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