Saturday, March 25, 2006

Where Oh Where Are You Tonight?:
Buck Owens Dead at 76

I once read an interview Buck Owens gave, somewhere back in the 1990s.

I was an angry, teenaged punk kid back then. I had nine piercings, a shaved head, and a taste for MD 20/20 and Thunderbird screwtop wine.

I hated country music with a passion, mainly because I was expected to like country music as a farmboy. I cranked the Ramones and the Offspring while bailing hay, dammit.

In the article, Owen discussed his refusal to label the music he made as country music - he played American music. No other label was needed. The Beatles covered his work. So did Ray Charles. And Dwight Yokam, too.

It was around that time when I started to appreciate the fact that having the guts to kick in the Man's teeth wasn't the sole domain of the punk scene.

Guys like Miles Davis and Charlie Parker did it for jazz, Robert Johnson for the blues, Elvis did it for rock and roll, and guys like Buck Owens did it for country.

Owens represented the antithesis of the Nashville Establishment, honky-tonk's answer to David Bowie and Iggy Pop. He helped establish what would become known as the Bakersfield Sound, paving the way for country music to get a little dirtier, a little more bluesy, and a lot more entertaining.

I will never, ever forget the red, white, and blue guitar.

Where oh where are you tonight, Buck?

If you seen Waylon or Hank or Johnny Horton, say hi for me, will ya?

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Anonymous said...

I also coveted that red, white, and blue guitar. We watched "Hee Haw" growing up, and I loved him then, but it wasn't until I started listening to Dwight Yoakam and his ilk in the mid-80's that I embraced him again. It helped that the indie music scene in Columbus was country-friendly. And not that "candy-ass" country either, as Ricky Barnes used to say.

I left my Buck Owens cd at home in Ohio, and I don't have any on iTunes, so I am bereft!

Goodbye, Buck. :-(

LibraryTavern Liz said...

a taste for MD 20/20 and Thunderbird screwtop wine

Dude, that's not being an angry punk--that's just bad taste.


Cowgirl said...

Buck Owens was a great loss. He was quite the pioneer.

You weren't the only country kid who loathed country music. So did I until I was in 8th grade or so and got hooked on Garth Brooks.

Now I like all music.

All of us would rock out when we were bailing hay. The hotter it would get, the more beer we would consume. Fun times.

rochelle said...

I knew there was more than one reason I liked you, ZenFoPro! I grew up on Hee Haw, rejected it outright as a surly punk teen, then learned that country was as bad-ass as the Sex Pistols. I owe X a major debt of gratitude for getting me back to my roots.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Yeah, never been a fan of the candy-ass country, either... ;)

Well, I never claimed I to have good tastes...I can't stomach the stuff anymore, but it was a lot more enjoyable than Old milwaukee :)

I listen to a lot of different music, myself. Depends on the mood. I miss driving a tractor sometimes... :)

I watched way too much Hee Haw as a kid, mainly because Roy Clark's kin lived in Meherrin...about a mile from my fam's farm. I get a craving for some Grandpa Jones tunes to this day. I guess it all comes from the same root - it's how well an artist can piss off the Man that gives music it's badass-ess.

Anonymous said...

Where the humpty dumpty frickin place do I download the song Where o Where. I am musically inclinated to listen to this song tonight. Now its not every night that I would wanna listen to a song such as this. But hey, what the hell do I know. I used google an found this place. Now the dude i saw on this sight, reminds me of someone. Lets see, lets profile for a minute, Southern, intelligent, likes to joke around, drinks beer, has a lotta ideas, hmmm. Oops I got bored with my own letter, I no longer feel like making a point and will search elsewheres for my song. Sorry I came here, oops. I will leave now, wheres the mouse on my new Dell Laptop, awesome. Happy New year.