To be titled Happy Birthday Buck, the CD will be released the first week of August by label Texas Music Roundup to coincide with the 11th annual Buck Owens birthday celebration at the Continental Club in Austin, Texas. The project is being co-produced by local guitarist Casper Rawls of the LeRoi Brothers and the Toni Price band and by David Sanger, drummer for Asleep at the Wheel .
“We want to honor our friend Buck Owens and keep this music alive,” Rawls explains.
The producers encouraged contributors to pick their own favorites. They went deep into Owens’ considerable catalog to come up with some obscure gems.
Crowell does “Second Fiddle,” a modest hit from 1959. Ball, with the Tosca String Quartet and current Buckaroos Jim Shaw and Terry Christofferson, revisits “Made in Japan” from 1972.
Original Buckaroos Doyle Holly, Tom Brumley and Willie Cantu have chosen “Before You Go,” a No. 1 song from 1965, and Owens’ son, Buddy Owens, will do a duet with Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson on “Think of Me,” a chart-topper from 1966.
“People picked the songs they love,” Rawls says. “Some of these have sort of gotten passed over or forgotten because of all the great hits Buck had. There are some great songs that are less well known on the CD.”
The set also will honor Owens’ guitarist and creative partner, the late Don Rich. “He was a great influence on country music,” Rawls says, “and remains so to this day.”
Owens will be 73 on Aug. 12. He was born in Sherman, Texas, grew up in Mesa, Ariz., and has lived in Bakersfield, Calif., since 1951. He was a guest at the annual celebration in 1995.
A portion of the proceeds from the album will go to the Travis County Children’s Advocacy Center in Austin.
Contributors to Happy Birthday Buck, in alphabetical order, include:
David Ball with the Tosca String Quartet, Terry Christofferson and Jim Shaw, “Made in Japan”
Libbi Bosworth, “Palm of Your Hand”
Rodney Crowell, “Second Fiddle”
Rosie Flores, “Down to the River”
Geezinslaw Brothers, “We Split the Blanket”
Doyle Holly with Tom Brumley and Willie Cantu, “Before You Go”
Jeff Hughes, “Storm of Love”
The Cornell Hurd Band, “Big Game Hunter”
Jim Lauderdale, “Sweet Rosie Jones”
LeRoi Brothers, “Flash, Crash and Thunder”
Buddy Owens/Ray Benson with Flaco Jimenez, “Think of Me”
Toni Price, “Hot Dog”
Ted Roddy featuring the Jordanaires and Millie Kirkham, “Tall Dark Stranger”
Rick Trevino, “How Long Will My Baby Be Gone”
Susanna Van Tassel, “You’re for Me”
Monte Warden, “Hello Trouble”