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Bound for Bakersfield

Buck Owens

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Album Review

Buck Owens' signature Bakersfield sound wasn’t fully formed when he recorded for the independent Pep, Chesterfield, and La Brea labels between 1953 and 1956 before signing with Capitol Records early in 1957. For one, his early recordings didn’t have the gifted Don Rich on guitar yet, and Owens' songwriting skills, although far from amateur, hadn’t quite reached the wonderful country-pop blend he championed later in the 1950s and through the 1960s. But his early recordings are hardly throwaways, as this 24-track compilation of them makes clear. His voice is strong and versatile here, and songs like “Right After the Dance” and “It Don’t Show on Me” are really only different than Owens' later material by lacking Rich's guitar playing, an undeniably key factor in Owens' famous and mature Bakersfield sound.


Born: August 12, 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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