Buck Owens, whose “raw edge” defined the Bakersfield Sound, died at 76. Born in Sherman, Texas, Owens’ father was a sharecropper. The family set out as did so many others in the late thirties, first settling in Phoenix, Arizona and later doing farm work in the San Joaquin valley of California. From 1969 to 1986, he and Roy Clark, with Hee Haw, gave a platform to many country musicians as well as good-natured cornpone humor. Not unlike Andy Griffith’s Mayberry, this series showed how rich the simple life could be: funny, genial, and full of real talent.
His music demonstrates as powerfully as Steinbeck’s works how that dust bowl culture rolled into California, bringing its own distinctive voice & energy – a voice & energy revered & imitated by Dwight Yoakum.
On PJM, Risling quotes Owens:
“I’d like to be remembered as a guy that came along and did his music, did his best and showed up on time, clean and ready to do the job, wrote a few songs and had a hell of a time,” he said in 1992.