CD Warner Bros. Recordings (CD 1145157),
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Warner Bros. Recordings

  • 1. We're Gonna Build a Fire
    2. Child Support
    3. Lady Madonna
    4. Hollywood Waltz
    5. Rain on Your Parade
    6. It's Been a Long, Long Time
    7. John Law
    8. Ozark Mountain Lullaby
    9. Love Don't Make the Bars
    10. California Okie
    11. Let the Good Times Roll
    12. Cinderella
    13. Our Old Mansion
    14. He Don't Deserve You Anymore
    15. Texas Tornado
    16. Let Me Touch You
    17. Feel Good Again
    18. Different Kind of Sad, A
    19. How Come My Dog Don't Bark
    20. World Famous Paradise Inn
    21. You're Gonna Need a Doctor
    0. DISC 2:
    1. Nights Are Forever Without You
    2. When I Need You
    3. Do Yoy Wanna Make Love
    4. Season of My Heart
    5. Play Together Again Again
    6. Hangin' in and Hangin' On
    7. Sweet Molly Brown's
    8. Let Jesse Rob the Train
    9. Victim of Life's Circumstances
    10. Love Is a Warm Cowboy
    11. I Don't Want to Live in San Francisco
    12. Moonlight and Magnolia
    13. Nickles and Dimes
    14. Without You
    15. I Just Want to See You Again
    16. Massachusetts
    17. Keep Me from Blowing Away
    18. I've Been Loving You Too Long
    19. There Must Be Something About Me That She Loves
    20. Streets of Bakersfield
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 77242

  • Credits

    As the '70s drew to a close, Buck Owens was still a superstar, thanks largely to his starring role on Hee Haw, still going strong after several years on the air. He may have been big on TV, but his recording career was on shaky ground. Things had never quite been the same for Buck since the death of Don Rich, and as the years passed, he started to seem a bit adrift, floating through the end of his Capitol contract and then jumping ship to Warner Bros toward the end of the '70s. Once he was situated at the new label, he began to do many things he promised never to do, chief among them recording in Nashville, which of course led to all sorts of compromises, culminating in covering England Dan & John Ford Coley songs -- something that would have been inconceivable just ten years before. These are the reasons his four Warner albums are commonly dismissed as dull and boring. As tempting as it is to think of this attitude as mere griping from country purists, the kind of thing that's ripe for revisionism, Rhino Handmade's double-disc 2007 set The Warner Bros. Recordings proves all of the conventional wisdom sadly accurate. Despite the uproarious attitude of the title of his 1976 album Buck 'Em, these recordings are an aural definition of listless, lacking in heart and energy -- it sounds as if Buck doesn't really care to be in the studio at all, he's merely biding time, waiting until the clock runs out. It seems as if he turned to Nashville because he not only had nowhere to go, he had no idea what to do, so might as well try the industry's rules for once. The industry helped make Buck 'Em and its successor Our Old Mansion professional records that could ease onto the charts, but such slick surroundings only emphasized the lifeless performance from Buck. Even his latter-day Capitol records had more pep than this -- take a version of "Lady Madonna" on Buck 'Em, which is taken as a slow crawl instead of a brisk skip, which it would have been cut several years earlier. He sounds disinterested in covering "Nights Are Forever Without You," and the neo-Waylon glitzy outlaw of "Let Jesse Rob the Train" -- which reworks "Ladies Love Outlaws" to a disco spin of "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" -- is a poor fit. It's little wonder that Owens didn't finish the 1982 album he was recording, the results of which are aired here for the first time -- it sounds like he could barely be bothered to piece together the first two, that he gave up the ghost long before this 1982 session. As dispiriting as this set is, at least it ends on an up note: Buck's 1988 duet on his old hit "Streets of Bakersfield" with his disciple Dwight Yoakam, who helped bring Owens' Bakersfield sound back to the charts and, in doing so, clearly helped breathe life into the singer once again. After sitting through The Warner Bros. Recordings, it's easy to see why Owens embraced Yoakam, and why Yoakam's emergence sparked a comeback in old Buck. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

  • Critic Reviews
    Uncut (p.109) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Dustbowl memoir 'California Okie' and 'Play Together Again,' with Emmylou Harris, both throwbacks to his honky-tonk roots, stand out."
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