Buck Owens – Live From Austin, TX (2007/2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 29:38 minutes | 610 MB | Genre: Country
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © New West Records
Maybe it was an epiphany of sorts. As Buck tells it, “One day I was watching Austin City Limits and Dwight Yoakam was on, then he dedicates the program to ‘Buck Owens.’ So I said, I’m going to see what this kid is like.” It wasn’t long after that he was on stage with Dwight singing his old hits. Buck was bitten by the bug to return to music, after calling it quits almost ten years earlier. This man from Sherman, Texas – probably best-known as the wide-grinning rube on Hee Haw for so many years – started a country music revolution. Or more accurately, a counter-revolution. It was called “The Bakersfield Sound”. He and fellow revolutionary Merle Haggard were cranking out raw, hard-driving honky-tonk music that stood the country-pop coming out of Nashville on its head. When Buck Owens and the Buckaroos would launch into “I’ve got a tiger by the tail, it’s plain to see….!” the packed crowds would be on their feet and headed for the dance floor. Along the way Buck inspired none other than The Beatles to record their first country song, his classic “Act Naturally,” and the master of soul, Ray Charles, to immortalize one of the best-known country songs ever, “Crying Time”.
Buck Owens had been out of music for close to a dozen years when, prompted by the success of friend and fan Dwight Yoakam, he made a vocal cameo on Yoakam’s cover of “Streets of Bakersfield” and cut a new album, Hot Dog!, in 1988. But to listen to this set, which Owens recorded warming up for Yoakam at a taping of the PBS series Austin City Limits in the fall of 1988, you’d never guess the man had been away from the stage at all. Live from Austin TX captures Owens in great, energetic form, and if his voice is just a bit less strong than it was in his youth, there’s no doubting he was having terrific fun playing before an audience in his home state of Texas. There aren’t a lot of surprises in the set list, but Owens and his band tear into “Love’s Gonna Live Here Again,” “Tiger by the Tail,” and “Act Naturally” as if they were still storming up the charts, and Buck indulges his passion for rock & roll with high-spirited runs through “Johnny B. Goode,” “Memphis,” and “Hot Dog.” Owens had lost none of his gift with a weeper, either, as “Crying Time” and “A-11” prove beyond a doubt. If there’s a flaw to this set, it’s that Owens performed only a bit longer than 29 minutes this evening, with Yoakam waiting in the wings to play his own set. But what Live from Austin TX lacks in quantity, it certainly has in quality; this isn’t a revelation like the amazing 1966 Live at Carnegie Hall album, but it does show that Buck Owens never lost his love for great honky tonk music, and he always made sure to deliver the goods for his fans, which he unquestionably did this evening.
01 – Act Naturally
02 – Together Again
03 – Love’s Gonna Live Here
04 – Crying Time
05 – Tiger By the Tail
06 – A-11
07 – Hot Dog
08 – Put Another Quarter In the Jukebox
09 – Memphis
10 – Under Your Spell Again
11 – Johnny B. Goode
Recorded on October 23, 1988.