With Buck ‘Em!: The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967), Buck Owens peak years as an artist get the deluxe treatment via Omnivore Recordings. Featuring exclusive liner notes that were written by Buck Owens himself (thanks to his brand new posthumously-released Buck ‘Em autobiography) the 50 tracks covers original mono hits, album cuts and rarities.
The hits featured are original songs like “Down On The Corner of Love,” “Second Fiddle,” Under Your Spell Again,” “Fool Me Again,” “Close Up The Honky Tonks” and of course “Act Naturally,” “Foolin’ Around,” “Together Again.” There’s even the original mono version of “Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy.” It should go without saying how much of a delight it is to hear these classic songs in their original or rare alternate versions (or live versions). There’s so much here and what’s really cool is you get to hear the evolution of his sound to when he found Don Rich — which is also told in the liner notes — and how Rich really helped define that Bakersfield sound that Buck and The Buckaroos pioneered.
There may be many Buck Owens collections out there but like the Past Masters collections from The Beatles, Buck ‘Em! is the perfect album to add to any Buck Owens collection but it’s more than that. It’s an archival piece that belongs in the Library of Congress to be there for generations to come. It’s also where new fans of Buck Owens should start.