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"Live" In Scandinavia (with the Buckaroos, Buddy Alan & The Hagers)

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Album Review

At the peak of his popularity in the late '60s and early '70s, Capitol released way too many albums from Buck Owens: in the liner notes to Sundazed's 2007 reissue of Live in Scandinavia, Rich Kienzle points out that the label released a staggering nine albums in the 15-month span from December 1969 to February 1971. That's an avalanche of albums that included 1969's Buck Owens in London — add to that two live LPs issued between 1966 (Carnegie Hall Concert) and 1967 (In Japan!) and it's little wonder why Capitol did not release Live in Scandinavia in America during 1970, holding it only for Norway, but even there it got a limited release, somewhere in the province of a couple thousand copies. As such, Live in Scandinavia is the rarest of all official Buck Owens albums, with Sundazed's 2007 release being the first wide circulation of the music ever, and it's a welcome reissue even if it isn't a monumental one. Unlike those three aforementioned records, this doesn't strictly feature Buck on his own; instead, it showcases his entire touring revue, dubbed the Capitol Caravan and featuring an opening set from Don Rich and the Buckaroos, followed by a pair of songs each by Buddy Alan Owens and the Hagers before Buck came in for his set, with the entire Caravan singing the closing pair "Tall Dark Stranger" and "Johnny B. Goode." This, more than any of his other live albums, gives a sense of what it must have been like to see a full Buck Owens concert back then, as the set runs rapidly through the revolving musicians. That's not the only way that Live in Scandinavia reflects its time: there are no less than two songs from the Band here, as Don Rich tears through "Up on Cripple Creek" and does a good "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," along with a cover of Merle Haggard's recent hit "Okie from Muskogee." All this pegs Live in Scandinavia to its year, but its time capsule nature is why the album is valuable among the plethora of live Buck LPs: it plays like an average night on the road, which is almost as interesting as a barnburner like Carnegie Hall.

Biography

Born: 12 August 1929 in Sherman, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Buck Owens, along with Merle Haggard, was the leader of the Bakersfield sound, a twangy, electricified, rock-influenced interpretation of hardcore honky tonk that emerged in the '60s. Owens was the first bona fide country star to emerge from Bakersfield, scoring a total of 15 consecutive number one hits in the mid-'60s. In the process, he provided an edgy alternative to the string-laden country-pop that was being produced during the '60s. Later in his career, his musical impact was forgotten by some...
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