Buck Owens had his share of country hits prior to the release of I've Got a Tiger by the Tail and the hit single that spawned it. But "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail" was Owens' national breakthrough, featuring everything right about his Bakersfield honky tonk sound sweated down to a 2:12 single that proved to be an irresistible piece of crossover magic to non-country fans without diluting his basic sound one iota. This 14-track LP brings together the original Capitol tracks from that album (which also included the hit "Cryin' Time," later to be a crossover hit of its own when recorded by Ray Charles), along with two extra tracks. These are live versions recorded in Bakersfield at the Civic Auditorium in October 1963 of "This Ol' Heart" and "Act Naturally," taken from the Capitol anthology album Country Music Hootenanny. The sound of Don Rich is all over this album, with his signature biting Telecaster guitar style, plus his vocalizing on "Wham Bam" (which features Owens on lead guitar) and a feature with Buck on a duet of Chuck Berry's "Memphis." Bass player Doyle Holly handles the vocal chores on "Streets of Laredo," while Don Rich's fiddle work is highlighted on the instrumental "A Maiden's Prayer." But ultimately it's Owens' show, with tracks like "Trouble and Me," "We're Gonna Let the Good Times Roll," "If You Fall Out of Love with Me," "The Band Keeps Playin' On," and the ballad "Let the Sad Times Roll On" being classic examples of Owens' Bakersfield honky tonk sound at the height of its freight-train rumbling powers.
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AllMusic Review by Cub Koda