His years as comedic host of Hee Haw have obscured the fact that Buck Owens was a top-notch honky tonker who, along with Merle Haggard and Owens' guitar player Don Rich, helped establish the bright, rock-inflected Bakersfield sound in the mid-'60s. Having the Beatles cover one of your songs ("Act Naturally") didn't hurt things any when Owens & His Buckaroos played the London Palladium on March 9, 1969, and thanks to Rich's phenomenal guitar playing, which could match any British Invasion player jangle for jangle, the group had no trouble connecting with a hip U.K. audience. Tackling medleys of his hits, then tossing in gospel hymns, some hot instrumentals, and even a bit of Cajun fiddle, Owens races through a 17-song set that still comes in at well under an hour. It's great fun (although the cornball patter between songs is straight out of Hee Haw) and even revelatory, particularly on the two chiming, hyper- kinetic and surf-tinged instrumentals, "A Happening in London Town" and "Buckaroo." Other highlights include a cover of Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home," the infectiously clever "It Takes People Like You (To Make People Like Me)," the goofy and sarcastic "Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass?" and an inspired Doug Kershaw medley where Rich gets to play some Cajun fiddle on "Diggy Liggy Lo" and "Louisiana Man." The concert was originally released in truncated form by Capitol Records as a double LP under the title Buck Owens in London later that same year, and this reissue by Sundazed restores the full set list. Owens has always been fond of live albums, having released more than a dozen in his career, but the Palladium show, thanks to great sound, an enthusiastic audience, and Rich's amazing guitar tone, may well be the best of the bunch.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett