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Buck 'Em!: The Autobiography of Buck Owens Paperback – Illustrated, January 1, 2016

4.6 out of 5 stars 131 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


In the latter part of the 1990s, country music legend Buck Owens spent close to 100 hours speaking into a tape recorder in an effort to document his life. Though Owens died before he was able to complete that task, record producer and author Randy Poe (Skydog: The Duane Allman Story) transcribed those tapes, assembling the stories here in chronological order. His dutiful efforts pay off in this insightful and engrossing read. Poe personalizes the narrator and gives readers a true sense of the voice of the hardworking musician who helped define the Bakersfield sound and influenced countless musicians. Growing up in labor camps and sleeping in the car after his family fled the Dust Bowl instilled a work ethic that never left Owens. His professionalism and business savvy would serve he and his band well, as he navigated dubious record deals, created his own publishing company, bought radio stations, a TV station, and three newspapers, all of which helped him tremendously when his star began to dim. The real treat is Owens' near-photographic memory, as he recalls countless recording sessions, shows, and chart positions for his many singles that he takes great pride in. Owens's tales of playing everything from a rowdy honky tonk (''if a fight breaks out, don't stop playing just start playing louder'') as well as Carnegie Hall make for terrific reading as well as a reminder of how the music industry used to function. Even readers unfamiliar with Owens's massive body of work will find this to be an immersive and informative look at one of country's most influential and surprisingly humble musicians. --Publishers Weekly<br \><br \>Buck 'Em is a good, chewy read...Anyone who knew Buck, or was sufficiently familiar with his voice...will hear his playful, high-baritone drawl rising from these pages...Fans of the performer and Bakersfield icon will eat it up. --Bakersfield Californian<br \><br \>...Buck 'Em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens feels like sharing a pint of whiskey with a rascal charmer who had 21 #1 hits and his song Act Naturally covered by The Beatles.... The latter part of the book deals with Owens' response to [Don] Rich s death, and it seems that he never really got over it. But his voice, even at its gravest moments, remains spirited, and full of spit and vinegar. --L.A. Weekly<br \><br \>…Remarkable…This fascinating read unspools a tale worthy of its musical pioneer. --Austin Chronicle<br \><br \>This book is a fascinating tale about an amazing performer. --Portland Book Review

''Drawn from almost 100 hours of cassette tapes recorded by Buck in the late '90s, this is not your usual tale of the dissolute country artist left penniless by management, booze or little white pills. Owens was a shrewd and hard working operator who chose to invest in music real estate and publishing when the money rolled in, building his own studio and buying and managing successful radio operations around his adopted town of Bakersfield. A fascinating story of a truly under-rated man.'' - Shindig!

''The recently-published Buck Em'!: The Autobiography of Buck Owens feels like sharing a pint of whiskey with rascal charmer…'' --LA Weekly, December 3rd

''Grammy nominated producer and author Randy Poe was given the task of assembling hours of recorded speech into what has become the ultimate book on Buck Owens.'' - JP's Music Blog, November 27th

"Had Owens lived to see his autobiography published, an editor or co-writer might have prodded him to round out some stories and explore avenues that he glossed over in his tapes. Regardless, Poe does a remarkable job of blending Owens tape recordings with interviews and other archival material to paint a vivid portrait of the singer that feels as authentic as if Buck had penned every word himself. Besides, given the way he comes across in Buck Em!, Owens seems like the type to know exactly what to say and how he wanted it said, and would freely tell an editor to go Buck themselves." - Rebeat Magazine

"Owens' candor makes Buck 'Em a rewarding and frequently engrossing book. Like all autographers, and with Poe's help, he leaves out episodes he doesn't care to revisit and no doubt embroiders those he does, consciously or not. But he seems to have had an amazing memory he obsessively notes the chart positions of his many hits and exactly how long they stead there and he appears general careful with facts. Buck 'Em doesn't feel self-serving. For an autobiography, that s a rare accomplishment. As much as his remarkable story, Owens' unvarnished honesty makes this recast oral account of his life a mandatory addition for anyone with an interest in the history of country music." --Texas Music Magazine

About the Author

Buck Owens, born in Sherman, Texas, in 1929, moved to Bakersfield, California, in 1951. Between 1963 and 1972, Owens scored an incredible 20 number-one hits on the country charts. In 1969, he became co-host of Hee Haw, and 16 years after his last number-one hit, Buck returned to the top of the charts in 1988 with “Streets of Bakersfield ” a duet with Dwight Yoakam. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, Buck Owens passed away on March 25, 2006.

Randy Poe (Los Angeles) is the author of five books, including the bestseller Skydog: The Duane Allman Story. A Grammy-nominated record producer, he is president of Leiber & Stoller Music Publishing and former executive director of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Product details

  • Publisher : Backbeat; Illustrated edition (January 1, 2016)
  • Language: : English
  • Paperback : 360 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1617136417
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1617136412
  • Item Weight : 1.39 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.07 x 0.91 x 8.95 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 131 ratings

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any country music fan, especially if ...
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