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Buck Owens: Tall Dark Stranger [Box]

Track List

>Tall Dark Stranger
>I've Got a Happy Heart
>Somewhere Between
>Just a Few More Days
>Lonesome Valley
>My Savior Leads the Way
>But You Know I Love You
>Today I Started Loving You Again
>I'm a Natural Loser
>Biggest Storm of All, The
>If I Had You (By My Side)
>Down at the Corner Bar
>Nobody But You
>Lay a Little Light On Me
>Catfish Capers
>Bossanova Buckaroo Style
>Roll Your Own
>When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder
>That Old Time Religion
>Big in Vegas
>Love Is Strange
>I'll Be All Right Tomorrow
>Hurry Come Running Back to Me
>Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, The
>Take Care of You for Me in Kansas City
>One More Time
>Goin' Home to The Bayou
>Country Pickin'
>Rompin ' And Stompin'
>We Were Made for Each Other
>Everybody Needs Somebody
>Kansas City Song, The
>I'd Love to Be Your Man
>Together Again
>Fallin' for You
>Cryin' Time
>Foolin' Around
>Down in New Orleans
>Wind Blows Every Day in Oklahoma, The
>Full Time Daddy
>Great White Horse, The
>Black Texas Dirt
>Bring Back My Peace of Mind
>Guitar Pickin' Man
>Dublin Waltz
>I'd Love to Be Your Man
>Cajun Steel Guitar
>Fishin' Reel
>Potter's Field
>When I'm with You
>Boot Hil
>Up On Cripple Creek
>(It's a Long Way To) London Town
>Scandinavian Polka
>Let the World Keep On a Turnin'
>High as the Mountains
>Today I Started Loving You Again
>I've Never Had a Dream Come True Before
>Tennessee Bird Walk
>Then Maybe I Can Get Some Sleep
>Your Tender Loving Care
>Think of Me
>I Thank Him for Sending Me You
>I Don't Care (Just as Long as You Love Me)
>I Wouldn't Live in New York City (If They Gave Me the Whole Dang Town)
>No Milk and Honey in Baltimore
>Reno Lament
>Santo Domingo
>Down in New Orleans
>Wind Blows Every Day in Chicago, The
>(It's a Long Way To) Londontown
>Kansas City Song, The
>Big in Vegas
>Reno Lament
>No Milk and Honey in Baltimore
>Bridge Over Troubled Water
>I Am a Rock
>Homeward Bound
>Devil Made Me Do That, The
>Everything Reminds Me You're Gone
>Catch the Wind
>San Francisco Town
>Within My Loving Arms
>(I'm Goin') Home
>Love Minus Zero-No Limit
>No Limit
>Ring of Fire
>Last Date
>Paso, El
>King of the Road
>Orange Blossom Special
>Tall Dark Stranger
>Detroit City
>Gentle On My Mind
>It's Such a Pretty World Today
>Okie from Muskogee
>Ruby (Are You Mad)
>Heartbreak Mountain
>Uncle Pen
>Corn Liquor
>Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms
>I Know You're Married But I Love You Still
>Ashes of Love
>Ole Slew Foot
>Rocky Top
>Salty Dog Blues
>One of Everything You Got
>Home On Christmas Day
>All I Want for Christmas Is My Daddy
>Very Merry Christmas, A
>It's Not What You Give
>Good Old Fashioned Country Christmas
>Christmas Ain't Christmas Dear Without You
>Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy
>Santa's Gonna Come in a Stagecoach
>Tomorrow Is Christmas Day
>Too Old to Cut the Mustard
>Wham Bam
>Pfft You Were (Was) Gone
>You're a Real Good Friend
>Tobacco White Lightning and Women Blues No. 2
>I Won't Go Huntin' with You Jake (But I'll Go Chasin' Wimin)
>Cigareets, Whuskey and Wild, Wild Women
>Beautiful Morning Glory
>I'll Still Be Waiting for You
>Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)
>Today I Started Loving You Again
>Fightin' Side of Me, The
>Silver Wings
>Okie from Muskogee
>Legend of Bonnie and Clyde, The
>Hungry Eyes
>Swinging Doors
>I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am
>Mama Tried
>Made in Japan
>Arms Full of Empty
>Ain't It Amazing, Gracie
>Looking Back to See
>You Ain't Gonna Have Ol' Buck to Kick Around No More
>I Love You So Much It Hurts
>There Goes My Love
>Sweethearts in Heaven
>Whole Lot of Somethin', A
>Get Out of Town Before Sundown
>Something's Wrong
>In the Palm of Your Hand
>Good Old Days, The (Are Here Again)
>I Know That You Know (That I Love You)
>When You Get Back from Nashville
>When You Get to Heaven (I'll Be There)
>Long Hot Summer
>Streets of Bakersfield
>She's Had All the Dreamin' She Can Stand
>Your Monkey Won't Be Home Tonight
>Good Old Days, The (Are Here Again)
>Old Faithful
>Take a Taste of My Wine
>I Think I'm Going to Like Loving You
>Sweethearts in Heaven
>I've Got a Happy Heart
>Arms Full of Empty
>All the Dreamin' They Can Stand
>Honey... Let's Fall in Love
>When You Get to Heaven (I'll Be There)
>Love Makes the World Go Round
>Love Makes the World Go Around
>Loving You
>I Won't Be Needing You
>Songwriter's Lament
>That Loving Feeling
>Someday I'm Gonna Go to Mexico
>Colors I'm Gonna Paint the Town
>It Never Will Be Over for Me
>Happy Hour
>Your Daddy Was a Preacher (And Your Mama Was a Dancing Girl)
>Hello Trouble
>Big Game Hunter
>(It's A) Monsters' Holiday
>I Wish I Was a Butterfly
>John Law
>Stony Mountain West Virginia
>Let the Fun Begin
>Holdin' On
>Great Expectations
>All Around Cowboy of 1964
>Meanwhile Back at the Ranch
>On the Cover of the Music City News
>Great Expectations
>Amazing Love
>I Love
>You're Gonna Love Yourself in the Morning
>Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'
>Pass Me By (If You're Only Passing Through)
>41st Street Lonely Hearts' Club
>Weekend Daddy
>I Finally Gave Her Enough Rope
>Run Him to the Roundhouse Nellie
>Drifting Away
>He Ain't Been Out Bowlin' with the Boys
>It's Been a Long, Long Time
>Different Kind of Sad, A
>You Don't Find Work in Pool Rooms (And Love Don't Make the Bars)
>How's Everything
>California Oakie
>Battle of New Orleans, The
>Country Singer's Prayer
>Mexican Jumping Bean

Album Notes

Audio Mixer: Bill Inglot.

Illustrators: R.A. Andreas; Rolene Bumley.

Photographers: R.A. Andreas; Rolene Bumley.

Bear Family's final Buck Owens box set Tall Dark Stranger covers his last stint at Capitol Records -- the years 1969 through 1975, an era where his star shone brighter than ever thanks to his role as the co-host of the cornpone country variety show Hee Haw. Buck signed to Hee Haw in 1969 and the ramifications of television stardom were soon apparent: shelves needed to be filled with product and Buck & His Buckaroos were expected to be predictable, to give the people what they wanted...and to give a lot of it, to boot. Owens never was good at playing to people's expectations but he always was keen to make a buck, so the music on this generous box -- covering all of his solo recordings, sessions he had with Susan Raye, a vaguely embarrassing vaudevillian country comedy set with his son Buddy, and all the albums the Buckaroos recorded on their own -- is wildly inconsistent, finding Owens ready to push the boundaries of Buck music while being eager to satisfy the demand of the marketplace. Listening to these eight discs, the arc of his career is immediately apparent. At the outset, Owens is ready to experiment, to add all manners of sonic colors -- strings, sweetened backing vocals, anything that would have distracted from his driving freight train sound of the '60s -- and ready to tackle new songwriters like Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, eager to steer the Buckaroos toward a roaring bluegrass album called Ruby. He still was taking risks -- some of which never saw the light of day, like a revelatory duet with soul singer Bettye Swann -- and it was paying off, commercially and artistically, with the Buckaroos taking over the pandering through their albums which were either admirable genre exercises (a good collection of Merle Haggard covers) or bordering on easy listening. Then, Hee Haw happened. Soon, Buck was dialing back the adventure and adhering to his Bakersfield blueprint, cutting covers and novelties, shucking and jiving with Buddy, singing with Susan Raye, staying toward the middle of the road for the first time in his career. And then, his guitarist and lieutenant Don Rich died in a motorcycle accident and everything hit the skids. Buck kept up with Hee Haw -- he stayed there until the '80s, way past the point his songs actually hit the charts -- but he effectively checked out in the studio, never seeking out new sounds or songs, just riding out his contract. And all of this is evident on Tall Dark Stranger, a box that starts out strong and then gets bumpy, alternating between inspiration and pure product. Years have made the latter enjoyable if not necessarily compelling, particularly where the Buckaroos are concerned; their LPs are nothing more than professional shelf-filler, delivered by what arguably was the best band in the business. And the business that his music leaves the greatest impression on is this, the final act of Buck Owens' glorious peak: he made his name as a maverick but even he was ground down by the demands of the machine, who did not care for creativity or tragedy. It is a testament to his talent that even in the face of considerable commercial demands and personal tragedy, Owens continued to give the people what they wanted: perhaps it wasn't as brilliant as his best, but it was certainly enjoyable, as each of these eight discs prove to some extent. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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