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Buck Owens: The Biography Paperback – July 1, 2012
A Little Thing Called Life
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"While Sisk reveals amazing details like the time Owens convinced a sheriff to deputize two of his crew so they could carry guns, and lurid episodes like sharing women with his bandmates, many of these stories are brief and to the point. . . . This is great for hard-core fans. . . . Because Sisk provides a more honest portrait of a country legend, her book is essential for readers interested in cultural musicology." —Library Journal
"Hold on to your hats, country fans. This well-researched examination of the late 'Hee Haw' co-host and honky-tonk hit maker doesn’t tiptoe around the minefields. If you’re in the mood for an explosive, warts-and-all examination of Owens’ life, loves and career, this wild, eye-opening ride will really blow off your barn doors." —American Profile
"The impeccable detail and research make [this book] very readable." —Detroit Metro Times
"Meticulously researched and well-written." —Sing Out
“Eileen Sisk’s fascinating but unsympathetic bio shreds the veil of secrecy surrounding the brilliant though tormented Owens to reveal a master manipulator with a heart of stone.” —John Lomax III, author and former manager of Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle
“Buck was one of the kings of country music but also a complicated man. This biography tells why.” —Michael Streissguth, author, Johnny Cash: The Biography
“Sisk captures the real Buck. I knew him. I experienced the weird weaknesses. I witnessed the anger. [Sisk] is a tremendous writer. She has the guts, she has the ‘perfect subject,’ and she’s overstocked with talent. Her book is dynamite—a masterpiece, a sure-fire winner.” —Bill Mack, host of Country Crossroads
"This biography should be required reading for any serious country music fan. Meticulously researched, it is the revealing saga of one of the genre's most flamboyant stars." —Patsi Bale Cox, author, The Garth Factor: The Career Behind Country’s Big Boom
Top Customer Reviews
What this volume really lacks is a solid analysis of the music. Record release dates are mentioned throughout the narrative and a decent discography is included, but there is no insight into what made the music of Buck and the Buckaroos so special. What did they do that influenced so many others, especially the country-rockers like John Fogerty, Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, and Herb Pedersen? I got the sense that Sisk does not have a solid understanding of country music and its history. Anyone who refers to Charley Pride's singing of "Elijah" rather than "Kaw-Liga" just didn't pass Country Music 101. BTW - the "unknown fan" in one of the photographs is Rose Maddox.
This biography provides some insights, but overall it is a rather one-dimensional perspective. To get a more comprehensive and musical view, search out the bits and pieces that can be found in the Rich Kienzle writings for the Bear Family box sets, the articles in Guitar Player and Vintage Guitar magazines, the notes in the Sundazed releases, the CMF's Journal of Country Music, and books such as Nick Dawidoff's In the Country of Country.
A penny-pinching philanderer, who used women, musicians, family members, and business partners, Owens rose to became one of the most successful and influential country music stars of all time. He clung ferociously to his signature Bakersfield Sound for decades before he finally succumbed to the Nashville studio machine. He claimed the legacy of a child of sharecroppers, a dirt farmer who clawed his way out of poverty to become rich and famous. Sisk's history, however, tells a very different story: of a boy who supported himself with his enormous musical gifts from his early teens in Arizona, and later in California's San Joachin Valley.
Sisk portrays Owens' key players with sympathy. The great Don Rich, who lived an equally debauched and much abbreviated life, gets a great deal of ink, as do several other contributors to Buck's musical legacy. The many put-upon women Owens swept into his vortex give their conflicting accounts, each one believing somehow that she was the one great love of Buck's life. He played them like the strings on his telecaster, somehow giving each of them a share of his sweet, passionate music. And, with all his fame and fortune and his harem of beautiful lovers, he passed on, still adored by some and resented by many, but completely unfulfilled.Read more ›
I'm not naive enough to believe that Buck, or Don for that matter, were infallible...they're humans too. But...I've attended many of Buck's concerts and have, on 3 occasions been able to get personal pictures taken at the Circle Star Theatre in San Carlos, CA, meet Buck at the Dream Bowl in Napa, go backstage at the Fillmore West, talk and get pictures. In 1989, at the Victoria Theatre in San Francisco I met Buck Owens for the last time. I brought a few photos from the Fillmore West shows to show Buck and hopefully get another autograph... one particular photo hit close to Buck's heart, a picture of Don Rich with myself, and two best friends backstage at the Fillmore West. I had managed to migrate into the press section at the Victoria Theatre while they were clearing out the fans and managed to get a one on one with Buck for at least 10 minutes. He was touched by the photo with Don and asked if he could have it...of course he could. We chatted for a while and, as usual, Buck was very gracious and humble...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting book, a page turner. A lot of detail about the life of Buck Owens, warts and all. I had been a fan of his but knew very little of his personal life until I read... Read morePublished 1 month ago by L. Jonathan Marven
Good stories, thought not particularly well written, and perhaps a little over the top.as far as Buck bashing.Published 4 months ago by TwangGuru
A little tiresome to read after awhile,chapter after chapter of incidents proving he was not a nice guy.Published 5 months ago by dennis lease
Really well written and informative book on the life and times of Buck Owens. The author holds nothing back. The books easily keeps your interest.Published 6 months ago by Ron Cromer
I enjoyed this telling of Buck's Life very much. Thorough but not bogged down with minutia, it was an entertaining read that really painted a clear picture of a complex legend.Published 12 months ago by Jerald E. Mills