Tuesday, January 8, 2013

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Finds Hidden Gems From Buck Owens And Don Rich

Country music star Buck Owens began his career in 1945 as a co-host to the radio show “Buck and Britt.” His recording career took off in 1959 with the country hit song “Second Fiddle.” He has had over 40 “Top 10” country singles (almost half have hit #1) and 18 “Top 10” country albums and now through Omnivore Recordings, we gets the latest release from Buck Owens, “Honky Tonk Man.” This new compilation culls together songs he recorded at his Bakersfield studio for the hit show “Hee Haw.”

Many of the songs on this release will be familiar to music fans as they laid the groundwork for the country/rockabilly sound. Beginning with the title song, Owens is in fine voice as this album as it was recorded and left untouched for almost forty years. He pays tribute to many of his earliest influences like Bob Willis & the Texas Playboys’ “Stay A Little Longer” and Hank Williams’ “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It” and “Hey Good Lookin’.” None of these songs have been released before and show a fun side to Buck Owens’ singing. To have 18 unreleased songs by Buck Owens is a rare feat that we may never see again, so do yourself a favor and take a listen to these wonderful country music gems.

The same day, we get a newly released album from Buck Owens’ guitarist Don Rich. The new album, “Don Rich Sings George Jones” is the only completely solo album Don Rich ever recorded and it sat in the vaults, until now. Don Rich performed on almost every recording for Buck Owens until his untimely death in 1974. Now we get to hear Don Rich’s vocals as he pays tribute to one of his favorite artist.

The album contains 14 covers of George Jones classics including “The Race Is On” and “White Lightning.” Buck Owens approached Don Rich about doing this album and nobody knows why it has never seen the light of day until now. Rich seems to have fun, leading the band through the up-tempo “Love Bug” and the ballad “She Thinks I Still Care.” The album also carries four bonus tracks of Buck Owens performing the George Jones’ classics “The Race Is On,” “Four-O-Thirty Three,” “Root Beer” and “Too Much Water.”

Both of these albums will be released on January 23 through Omnivore Recordings. For more information, please visit omnivorerecordings.com.

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