Half Notes: Buck Owens – Bound for Bakersfield, 1953-1956 (2011)

In a few short years after these sides were put to tape, Buck Owens would be hailed as the architect of the Bakersfield sound, notching memorable hits for Capitol including “Tiger by the Tail” and “Act Naturally.” He was, really, still gathering his tools, and picking out building materials. Yet, already, you can spot the foundational element of his looming legend — the honky-tonk howl, the twangy Telecaster wail, the rambling railyard rhythms. This new 24-song collection, to be issued on Sept. 27 by RockBeat Records, is comprised of Owens’ first-known session for Pep Records — put to tape when Owens was still in his early 20s — along with a series of singles for Chesterfield Records and an album issued by La Brea Records from three years later. Highlights include the fun rockabilly novelty “Hot Dog,” the George Jones-ish called “Country Girl (Leavin’ Tracks),” the clickety-clackety “Yer Fer Me,” and the Webb Pierce-inspired “Why Didn’t My Mommy Stay With My Daddy and Me?” — a nifty quartet of songs that showcase the breadth of Owens’ emerging talents.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has also explored music for publications like USA Today, Gannett News Service, All About Jazz and Popdose for nearly 30 years. Honored as newspaper columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section that was named Top 10 in the nation by the AP in 2006. Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.