Friday, June 11, 2010

Urban Buckaroo

I'd always heard that Buck Owens music - due to the way his records were recorded and mixed, and the often treble-heavy sound of the Buckaroos - was known for sounding good even, or maybe especially, in less-than-ideal, lo-fi situations, like through the crappy speaker of an old pickup truck's radio.  Whether this was a goal or a by-product of the recording process, the sounds were able to slice through any kind of tinniness or other sonic limitation to reach the listener.

Though I've listened to Buck on some cheap, factory car stereos, I don't think I'd ever listened to him on earbuds until about a week ago.  And as you might expect from what I've said above, he sounds great that way.  I've been trying to listen to some stuff featuring Charlie Haden on the iPod lately (might be a forthcoming post talking about some of that music), and it's very frustrating with my current setup.  The sounds of the city just wipe poor Charlie's bass right out of the musical picture.  I'm sure I'm missing some aspects of Buck's music, too, but the essentials come right through, even in the subway or on a busy street.  I enjoy the fact that the man who sang "I Wouldn't Live in New York City (If They Gave Me the Whole Dang Town)" made music so well suited to subway listening.

What got me started on my recent Buck Owens kick was this great post over at The Hound Blog.  His tale of being picked up by Buck's stretch limo in pre-gentrified Alphabet City is priceless.

One more thing: excluding classical music and jazz, is there a more perfect, joyful piece of instrumental (i.e. non-vocal) music than "Buckaroo"?  Next time you listen to it, dig the cymbal beat (is that Mel King or Willie Cantu?).

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