Publisher: Backbeat Books
Born in Texas and raised in Arizona, Buck Owens eventually found his way to Bakersfield, California. Unlike the vast majority of country singers, songwriters, and musicians who made their fortunes working and living in Nashville, the often rebellious and always independent Owens chose to create his own brand of country music some 2,000 miles away from Music City – racking up a remarkable 21 number-one hits along the way. In the process he helped give birth to a new country sound and did more than any other individual to establish Bakersfield as a country music center.
In the latter half of the 1990s, Buck began working on his autobiography. Over the next few years, he talked into the microphone of a cassette tape machine for nearly one hundred hours, recording the story of his life. With his near-photographic memory, Buck recalled everything from his early days wearing hand-me-down clothes in Texas to his glory years as the biggest country star of the 1960s; from his legendary Carnegie Hall concert to his multiple failed marriages; from his hilarious exploits on the road to the tragic loss of his musical partner and best friend, Don Rich; from his days as the host of a local TV show in Tacoma, Washington, to his co-hosting the network television show Hee Haw; and from his comeback hit, “Streets of Bakersfield,” to his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In these pages, Buck also shows his astute business acumen, having been among the first country artists to create his own music publishing company. He also tells of negotiating the return of all of his Capitol master recordings, his acquisition of numerous radio stations, and of his conceiving and building the Crystal Palace, one of the most venerated musical venues in the country.
Inventory #HL 00151800
- “The stream of stories throughout this book captures, with an uncanny accuracy, the way I heard Buck speak whenever he told a story to someone.” – Dwight Yoakam
- “An immersive and informative look at one of country's most influential and surprisingly humble musicians. Poe personalizes the narrator and gives readers a true sense of the voice of the hardworking musician who helped define the Bakersfield Sound.” – Publishers Weekly
- “After the lengthy chronology that takes you through the greater part of the 20th century, Buck 'Em leaves you with the feeling you knew Buck Owens – and were touched by the humility of a country legend.” – forthecountryrecord.com
- “Drawn from almost 100 hours of cassette tapes recorded by Buck in the late '90s, this is not your usual tale of the dissolute country artist left penniless by management, booze or little white pills. Owens was a shrewd and hard working operator who chose to invest in music real estate and publishing when the money rolled in, building his own studio and buying and managing successful radio operations around his adopted town of Bakersfield. A fascinating story of a truly under-rated man.” – Shindig!
- “Had Owens lived to see his autobiography published, an editor or co-writer might have prodded him to round out some stories and explore avenues that he glossed over in his tapes. Regardless, Poe does a remarkable job of blending Owens' tape recordings with interviews and other archival material to paint a vivid portrait of the singer that feels as authentic as if Buck had penned every word himself. Besides, given the way he comes across in Buck 'Em!, Owens seems like the type to know exactly what to say and how he wanted it said, and would freely tell an editor to go Buck themselves.” – Rebeat Magazine
- “Owens' candor makes Buck 'Em a rewarding and frequently engrossing book. Like all autographers, and with Poe's help, he leaves out episodes he doesn't care to revisit and no doubt embroiders those he does, consciously or not. But he seems to have had an amazing memory – he obsessively notes the chart positions of his many hits and exactly how long they stead there – and he appears generally careful with facts. Buck 'Em doesn't feel self-serving. For an autobiography, that's a rare accomplishment. As much as his remarkable story, Owens' unvarnished honesty makes this recast oral account of his life a mandatory addition for anyone with an interest in the history of country music.” – Texas Music
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