Buck Owens and the Buckaroos: The Complete Capitol Singles 1967-1970

The second installment in Omnivore's career retrospective of the defining voice of the Bakersfield Sound is, while not as essential as the first, nonetheless a fine collection of hits and misses.

The Complete Capitol Singles: 1967-1970
Buck Owens and the Buckaroos


11 May 2018

For all intents and purposes, Buck Owens and the Buckaroos are the Bakersfield Sound. They are so intimately intertwined with the aesthetics of the West Coast-style of country music that it's impossible even to begin to discuss their differences from the slicker Nashville productions of the same era without pointing to Owens and company as the genre's greatest practitioners. Having met Don Rich in the late 1950s, Owens managed to cement a musical partnership that would become one of the more productive – not to mention lucrative – in that era. Together, their voices formed a single voice built around the close harmonies of more familial acts like the Everly and Louvin Brothers, Owens' voice owning the melody and Rich's shadowing him just above. So iconic and integral was their vocal pairing to the Bakersfield that, more than two decades later, Dwight Yoakam and Pete Anderson would adopt similar roles when they embarked on a recording career of their own.

By the late 1960s, the group was running at peak performance, releasing a string of successful singles that, while perhaps not as well-known as their earlier hits, remained firmly within the mold they'd established earlier in the decade. Collected here in Omnivore's second installment of the group's complete Capitol singles, these recordings from 1967 to 1970 capture the declining years of commercial success. Opening with their number one hit from 1967, "Sam's Place", The Complete Capitol Singles 1967-1970 shows a group well-established in its sonic identity attempting to adjust to the rapidly changing times.

There's nothing here that nods to the greater social and cultural changes then tearing the country apart – that was never really the point of country music – but thematically songs like "It Takes People Like You (To Make People Like Me)" still manages to tap ever-so-slightly into the zeitgeist. That said, it was also their first single since 1962's "You're For Me" not to reach number one on the U.S. country charts.

At 36 tracks, The Complete Capitol Singles 1967-1970 offers an ideal introduction to the Bakersfield sound at the end of the 1960s, just prior to the mantle officially being handed off to the likes of Merle Haggard and, years later, Yoakam. It's not a matter of quantity over quality by any means as the group remains solid throughout; rather more that the sound was so well-established and, unfortunately, someone stylistically restrictive that there can't help but be something of a feeling of uniformity and assembly-line production to the songwriting process.

"How Long Will My Baby Be Gone" manages to largely eschew the Bakersfield template, becoming something more akin to the burgeoning folk-rock scene, albeit dominated by Owens' vowel-chewing twang. It's no surprise then that "How Long Will My Baby Be Gone" managed to return Owens and company to the number one spot on the country singles charts. It would also prove to be one of the last singles featured here to reach that spot. After a five-year run of number one hits, the Owens' magic seemed to be wearing off. "Sweet Rosie Jones," also released in 1968, stalled at number two, while "Things I Saw Happening at the Fountain" failed to chart entirely.

Regardless, The Complete Capitol Singles 1967-1970 is full of great representations of the Bakersfield Sound. Even the somewhat goofy "Happy Times Are Here Again" manages to get by on its charm, chugging rhythm and Owens and Rich's seamless vocal harmonies. And it's not just Owens with the Buckaroos represented here, as a handful of the singles are Owens collaborations with the likes of Buddy Alan – Owens' son and a solo artist in his own right – and Susan Raye, Owens' protégée and duet partner on a string of successful singles ("We're Gonna Get Together", "Togetherness", and "Your Tender Loving Care", to name but a few). Not as essential as Omnivore's first installment collecting the golden years up to 1966, The Complete Capitol Singles 1967-1970 is nonetheless an integral part of the Buck Owens and the Buckaroos story, one well worth delving into for any fan of country music in its various incarnations.






'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?


Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.


IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.


Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.


NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.


PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.


David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.


David Lord Salutes Collaborators With "Cloud Ear" (premiere)

David Lord teams with Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground) for a new collection of sweeping, frequently meditative compositions. The results are jazz for a still-distant future that's still rooted in tradition.


Laraaji Takes a "Quiet Journey" (premiere +interview)

Afro Transcendentalist Laraaji prepares his second album of 2020, the meditative Moon Piano, recorded inside a Brooklyn church. The record is an example of what the artist refers to as "pulling music from the sky".


Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.


The Band of Heathens Find That Life Keeps Getting 'Stranger'

The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.