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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ol’ Buck, part 4

posted by on July 26 at 13:38 PM

Today in Buck Owens it’s 1966’s Carnegie Hall Concert (Capitol).


I bought this accidentally; it was inside the Together Again LP sleeve I bought at Bop Street, and while I looked at the condition of the record before buying it, I didn’t look at the labels on the disc, so I was rather surprised when I got home and put the record on. When I brought it back, Bop Street was kind enough to let me grab an actual copy of Together Again and keep this sleeveless Carnegie Hall Concert, too.

I like Carnegie Hall Concert, but it’s a little disappointing, mainly because Owens and the Buckaroos group 13 great songs into three short medleys. Fuck medleys! While they do play seven songs in their complete forms (although Doyle Holly’s version of “Streets of Laredo” is abbreviated, and “Waitin’ in Your Welfare Line” is one of my least favorite Owens songs), the fact that so many more could’ve been played all the way through hurts. And I know the concert is edited on my LP version; there’s no way they played that short of a show at Carnegie Hall.

So, I wondered if it had been rereleased in its entirety, and sure enough, in 2000 Sundazed Music put out a complete, unedited version. Mostly what’s been added back, however, is banter—an introduction by DJ Lee Arnold of WJRZ in Newark and segments called “Fun ’n’ Games with Don & Doyle” and “Buck Talks to the Audience”—and the song “Twist and Shout.” The banter on this album is supremely goofy, but I love the between-song talking on live albums, so more of it is sort of a blessing and a curse (though I like the sound of “Fun ’n’ Games with Don & Doyle”). I guess what I really want out of this album is for most of the songs in those medleys to be in their full-length form, and that’s just not going to happen for me.

That said, it’s a fun album, and I do enjoy it. Buck and the Buckaroos play well, they play all their hits, and they’re having a really great time. The banter is silly and awkward, but in a mostly endearing way, although some of Owens’s corniest jokes make me wince. I can see why Hee Haw wanted him as host.

At one point, while talking about how he and the Buckaroos had been to New York, but hadn’t actually played there, he slips up and says, “We never got to pick and sing for you; we’re gonna change that. We’re gonna do it to you tonight—er—for you tonight.” And the audience laughed. Was that on purpose, or a slip of the tongue? Who knows, but I like it either way.

Here’s “Act Naturally,” the concert opener:

Previously discussed: Together Again/My Heart Skips a Beat, I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail, The Instrumental Hits of Buck Owens and His Buckaroos . Up next, the final installment: Young Buck: The Complete Pre-Capitol Recordings.

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