There is something palpably avant-garde in the frenetic energy of Owens' unmistakably American (read: Bakersfield) sound set against the cultural backdrop of Tokyo. However, Buck Owens & His Buckaroos prove the adage that the currency of music defies borders and is indeed the universal language. On Buck Owens & His Buckaroos in Japan!, the band rises to the occasion, performing perennial favorites and previewing tracks from its upcoming album, It Takes People Like You to Make People Like Me. The Buckaroos -- under the direction of Don Rich -- recreate a very Western concert experience. A prime example occurs during Owens' spoken-word prelude, signifying the importance of the Mississippi River in American geography as depicted in "Fishin' on the Mississippi." The band then launches into the song with the bold verve of true Yankee pride. Buck Owens & His Buckaroos frequently display their seemingly double-jointed sense of rhythm. From right out of the gate, their opening number "Adios, Farewell, Goodbye, Good Luck, So Long" features a blazing guitar solo from Rich supported by the taut flexibility of an intuitive musical organization. The audience's affection for tracks such as the ultimately catchy "Open Up Your Heart" propels the quintet's performance level to exceed, at times, the familiar studio version. The instrumentals are also top-shelf and performed with the added edge a live audience often provides. Such is the case with Owens' Eastern-flavored "Tokyo Polka," the Rich masterwork "Fiddle Polka," and Willie Cantu's brief "Drums So Low" percussion solo. History has only reinforced the status of Buck Owens & His Buckaroos in Japan! as a key component not only in the canon of Buck Owens & His Buckaroos, but additionally as part of any comprehensive overview of the state of popular C&W music in the mid-'60s.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer