Sunday, February 06, 2011

Gee, Thanks

Buck Owens is a pretty familiar performer to many non-Country music fans, thanks to his years of exposure through the syndicated faux-hayseed television show Hee-Haw. As a youngster I watched that show a lot. Really a lot. Not because I really cared to and was a fan of the music but because in Michigan farm country that was often the only show our television could receive with any clarity other than the early morning Farm Report. This early exposure to urban life lead to my life-long aversion to corn fields and rednecks.

Not as well known though perhaps equally familiar to anyone watching repeats or videos of Buck Owens and his band was musical colleague Don Rich, who collaborated for years with Owens as leader of the back up band The Buckaroos.

This clip from Buck Owens' Ranch TV show displays what a great team Buck and Don were.



Buck Owens was a savvy promoter of his brand of music and if the stories are to be believed had a complicated love life and made hard decisions when it came to the music side of the business. Yet whatever minuses and pluses he had as a person Buck didn't let it get in the way of showcasing the other talent. Don Rich was often in the spotlight through their careers and his contribution was not downplayed.

Don Rich and the gang also had a sense of humor it appears. The following song of the relationship-shy is about as R-Rated as it got back then. While it is clear from Don's expression and delivery he was aware of how inappropriate the tune was for the evening television of the era it isn't as obvious that the phrase "Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma'am" had much meaning beyond the literal for most of the viewers. Like the infamous Brewer and Shipley song that the Lawrence Welk Singers obliviously covered (to the delight of later generations of online viewers) the tune, however salacious, would be perceived as perfectly innocent by much of the targeted audience. As a kid I myself equated the "Wham, Bam" title to the sound of a door slamming as some hapless guy ran apologetically from the chains of matrimony. The lyrics are probably not real safe for the work environment so be cool before clicking



Here is Don with a song from 1970:



And finally their first huge crossover hit in which legend has it Don Rich had to convince Buck to record:



A not-so-Lazy Sunday post, because I couldn't care less about the Superbowl.

3 comments:

  1. I have great memories of classic country music and 'Hee Haw'. My dad was into that stuff and would teach us how to harmonize with all the old songs. It was great to see those clips. Thanks for posting.

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  2. Great stuff.
    It also helps to be reminded that The Beatles covered "Act Naturally" as a showcase for Ringo, who would later on team up with Buck for a duet of....you guessed it.

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  3. More than a few people I have met thought Ringo recorded it first.

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