Buck Owens

One of the most successful country artists to ever live – commercially, creatively, financially, you name it. Buck Owens did things his way and made it to the top in spite of many who very much did not want to see him succeed. There are still those who would like to see Buck’s accomplishments taken away from him but, hey, Buck ’em.

Learn more about Buck Owens in the following episodes of Cocaine & Rhinestones, particularly the two-part series on his partnership with Don Rich, CR010 and CR011.

CR014 Ralph Mooney: The Sound of Country Music

CR014 Ralph Mooney: The Sound of Country Music

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Ralph Mooney is one of the most important individuals in the history of country music. A legendary pedal steel guitarist, he deserves the reputation he earned on his instrument. However, he deserves a lot more than that. Moon played a major role in upgrading the sound of the entire genre on no less than three separate occasions.

This episode of the podcast backtracks to Bakersfield for a deeper examination of its “sound,” a closer look at some people responsible for it and the story of a man whose story isn’t told nearly often enough. It would be unacceptable to end the first season of a podcast on the history of country music without dedicating an episode to Ralph Mooney. After today, you’ll know why that is.

This episode is recommended for fans of: honky tonk music, the Bakersfield Sound, steel guitar, Wynn Stewart, Waylon Jennings, Ray Price, The Maddox Brothers and Rose, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins, Skeets McDonald and road stories.

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CR013 Rusty & Doug Kershaw: Swamp Things

CR013 Rusty & Doug Kershaw: The Cajun Way

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Doug Kershaw is the most famous Cajun musician in history. His brother, Rusty, is not, though you may be more familiar with his work than you realize. 

These brothers come from a long tradition of surviving against the odds, against a world that would just as soon see you dead as see you succeed. Starting from nothing but a houseboat in Louisiana, they fought their way through an unscrupulous industry, through honky tonk stages screened off with chicken wire, onto the biggest stages in the business, in order to create some of the greatest music ever made. Then, they battled themselves, their past and their addictions.

Side note: what the hell is “Cajun”? Swamp stuff, right? Well, let’s talk about all of that.

This episode is recommend for fans of: Hardcore History, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and discovering unbelievably good music that you’ve never heard.

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CR011 Don Rich & Buck Owens, Part 2: Together Again

CR011 Don Rich & Buck Owens, Part 2: Together Again

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Words often fail to express the connection that can exist between two people. In the friendship of Don Rich and Buck Owens, our notions of reality itself may prove inadequate.

In another life, Don Rich may have been a star in his own right. In this life, he shared Buck Owens’ spotlight. Last week, we heard how they got there. This week, with spacetime as our stage, we trip backwards for more tour shenanigans, supernatural mysteries and, as always, great music. Our narrative pays special attention to The Carnegie Hall Concert album, what Hee Haw did for country music on television and innovations that Don Rich and Buck Owens brought to country music.

But don’t forget what else we learned last week. There is never such a thing as a happy ending. It’s going to hurt watching this one fall apart and we have to go there, too.

This episode is especially recommended for fans of metaphysics, banjo, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Tales from the Tour Bus, Easy Rider and Forensic Files.

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CR010 Buck Owens & Don Rich, Part 1: Open Up Your Heart

CR010 Buck Owens & Don Rich, Part 1: Open Up Your Heart

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Buck Owens is an inkblot test. Ask 20 different people, get 20 different Bucks. Whatever else is true (and some of it certainly is), today we’re talking about the one who brought real country music to the world in a time when we desperately needed someone to do that. Sticking to that real deal honky tonk sound from Bakersfield made him a very famous man. Shrewd business practices made him a very rich man. Both of these things made him more than a few enemies.

However, all you need to take on the whole world is one true friend and Buck Owens had that friend in Don Rich, his guitarist and right-hand man. Here in the first part of this story, we’ll hear how everything came together, all those years ago…

This episode is recommended for fans of The Bakersfield Sound, Merle Haggard, Wynn Stewart, western swing, guitar, David & Goliath stories and the Revisionist History podcast.

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