Buck Owens always had a tendency to do things in a big way. And, though it has been over six years since his passing, that is still the case to this day. The Country Music Hall of Fame member is the subject of a lavish, eight CD box set titled "Tall Dark Stranger: The Buck Owens & The Buckaroos Recordings: 1969-1975." The set contains every studio recording Owens made for Capitol during the last seven years of his first stint there. In an exclusive interview with Billboard, Owens' son (and veteran performer) Buddy Owens said that he hopes fans like the time and attention that the German-based Bear Family Records put into the set.
"I think these songs will bring back some memories for folks," said Owens. "It's very exciting to have these songs out to the public, because quite honestly, I think some of these songs have been a little bit buried and forgotten. I think that this set delves into some of the lesser-known stuff, which he loved equally."
By 1969, Owens was firmly entrenched into the country music scene as one of its' biggest stars, and his visibility would be lifted even further by the premiere of "Hee Haw" in June of that year on CBS. The success of the series prompted Capitol to issue more and more Owens material - nine albums alone in 1971. Two of those discs, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and "Ruby (And Other Bluegrass Specials)" still rank as favorites of many Owens fans.
Buddy Owens says it was a time where his father was flexing his creative muscles a bit. "During that time, he got into bluegrass for a while, and he became a big fan of Simon & Garfunkel and their music. You can even take a song like 'Tall Dark Stranger,' and if you had asked him in 1965 if that's the kind of song he would have recorded, he probably would have said 'No, that's not me at all. It's just amazing how he evolved. The one thing that Dad liked to do, and that he was so cognizant of was thinking of what was pleasing the people at the time. So, he was never afraid to change his music, whether that meant doing a Chuck Berry, Simon & Garfunkel or a Bill Monroe song. Whatever he thought would please the people was what he did."
The set also contains collaborations with R&B songstress Bettye Swann, Susan Raye, and Buddy himself -- including their take on the "Hee Haw" standard "Pfft! You Were Gone." Recording with his father was a great memory.
"We had done 'Let The World Keep On A'Turnin' in 1968, and it was a huge hit," he recalls. "I was in total shock, because I was listening to rock and roll more than country music at that time."
With Owens' 1957-1975 Capitol output now on CD, Bear Family is already working on the next Owens reissue -- a box set of his live recordings, which Buddy is looking forward to.
"It's about time. If there was one thing that Dad shined at, it was the live performance. Back in his day, Buck Owens & The Buckaroos were the show to be seen. It's going to be neat to hear all those live shows again."