Buck Owens

Buck Owens in London

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In 1969, at the height of anti-war fever in America and elsewhere around the world, Buck Owens & His Buckaroos went to the London Palladium as if there was nothing a little Bakersfield country music couldn't cure. And the London audience loved it; they ate it up like chocolate. The audience frenzy -- actual, not added -- of the first medley of "Act Naturally" and "Together Again" is unnerving. The cornball humor is everywhere and this sophisticated London audience falls for this terrible sh*t -- but the music rocks in true Buck fashion. Check out the bad-ass Ventures-meets-Bakersfield boogie of "A Happening in London Town." Buck and crew whip through "Sweet Rosie Jones," Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home," and "Sam's Place" before the side ends. Side two has two medleys, one of Buck's hits, "Love's Gonna Live Here," "Cryin' Time," "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail," and "Open up Your Heart." It's raw and wild and louder than sh*t. There's a short medley of Louisiana Cajun tunes before Buck goes from the sacred ("Dust on Mother's Bible") to the wonderfully profane ("Johnny B. Goode") to close the show. Buck playing Chuck Berry -- now there's some deep paradox that proves that music is the universal language, and the significance of it was not lost on the London audience.

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