Adventure 02: Bakersfield Shines in a Nudie Suit

Buck Owens and his Buckaroos on the "Jimmy Dean Show"

Buck Owens was the poster boy for the "Bakersfield Sound". At this time, many country artists like Eddie Arnold, Ray Price and Jim Reeves were softening their sound and adding lush strings. But the Bakersfield Sound went the exact opposite direction, by merging the raw honky tonk style with rock and roll licks (and even Mexican polka music!) Owens' partner, Don Rich steals the show here with his beaming smile, goofy guitar pyrotechnics and perfect backing harmony, but pay attention to Owens' rhythm guitar work here. It's rock solid.

My pal Jim Smith was the one that turned me on to Buck Owens. Jim wrote the Ren & Stimpy theme song and was one of the creators of the show. He's a Texan, drawl and all, and his guitar playing owes a lot to the cartoony fun of Don Rich. Glittering nudie suit, pedal steel guitar, and great singing… what more can you ask for?

Sadly, the "Best of the Jimmy Dean Show" DVDs appear to be out of print. It's a very important show for more than just country music fans… I'll explain that a little later in our adventure. But there's lots of great Buck Owens on CD. (Vol 1 and Vol 2). Merle Haggard is the dark contrast to Buck's bounce in the Bakersfield sound. Also check out Hank Williams (of course) and Hank Thompson. If you ever get to Bakersfield, CA, visit Buck Owens' Crystal Palace. It has great sound and food and a lot of Buck's wild Nudie suits are on display.