Buck Owens & His Buckaroos Carnegie Hall Concert

Sundazed Records has done a remarkable job digging up and reissuing influential '60s recordings in the last few years, and full marks have to be given for their restoration of Buck Owens' complete Capitol catalogue. While he may forever be known as the guy on Hee Haw with the red-white-and-blue guitar, he was also (along with his Bakersfield rival Merle Haggard) the originator of the hard-twang style that was interpreted almost intact for a rock audience by the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Carnegie Hall Concert, recorded in 1966, is the most concise document of the Buckaroos' classic period, and Sundazed's glorious remastering only accentuates the obvious influence the album has had over the years. Virtually all of the their standards are here, from "Act Naturally" and "Together Again" to "Love's Gonna Live Here" and "I've Got A Tiger By The Tail." In fact, it's remarkable how much the version of "Streets Of Laredo" here sounds like the Sadies. The cornball between-song hijinx are a bit trying, but this can be avoided with CD technology. The real magic occurs between Owens and his right-hand man Don Rich. As both an incredible guitarist and harmony singer, Rich anchors the band and prevents Owens from straying too far into Hee Haw territory. Carnegie Hall Concert is a reminder of country's golden age and essential listening for any country rock aficionado. (Sundazed)