May 04, 2010
Bear Family Records
Country, Traditional Country, Honky Tonk, Bakersfield Sound

Album Review

Look closely at the cover credit on Bear Family’s second Buck Owens box, Open Up Your Heart: the subtitle makes clear this is “The Buck Owens & the Buckaroos Recordings 1965-1968,” which means this seven-disc set is not limited to recordings where Buck sings lead. Everything the Buckaroos made without Buck is here along with all of his studio sessions from those four years, and that’s a ton of music: a total of 12 albums released under Buck’s name, along with several cuts that would appear on 1969’s Tall Dark Stranger, plus the six LPs the Buckaroos cut during that time and a handful of alternate takes capped off by session tapes that eat up the bulk of the set’s seventh disc. That’s 249 tracks cut over a scant four years, the massive output proof of the huge popularity of Buck Owens & the Buckaroos in the late ‘60s. During this period most of Buck’s LPs reached the top of the country charts -- if not, they came close, never dipping below number five -- and so did most of his singles, with “Before You Go,” “Buckaroo,” “Only You (Can Break My Heart),” “Open Up Your Heart,” “Think of Me,” “Waitin’ in Your Welfare Line,” “Sam’s Place,” “Where Does the Good Times Go,” “Your Tender Loving Care,” and “How Long Will My Baby Be Gone” all reaching number one. When a formula is working so well there’s no incentive to change, so Owens & the Buckaroos didn’t, choosing to build their brand in other areas, notably those Buckaroos solo albums but also putting a Bakersfield stamp on two Christmas albums and two gospel albums (one not seeing release until 1970), while also cutting two instrumental albums of his own and two live albums, neither of which are here because they’re outside of the studio-specific scope of this set. Such strict adherence to formula means there is a lot of virtuosity but not much variety on Open Up Your Heart, particularly when compared to the restless exploration Merle Haggard displayed on his Capitol recordings during the same era. Basically, Buck & the Buckaroos locked into a high gear and never shifted, churning out music of a consistently high quality that only veers off track toward the end, when fuzz guitars are introduced into “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass.” Apart from that, this is clean, crisp Bakersfield country performed by the band that did it best, the only flaw being that it’s a little bit much to take in an extended sitting. So, don’t listen to all seven discs of Open Up Your Heart at once -- sample liberally, a disc at a time, and Buck & the Buckaroos still sound singular instead of sounding a little samey.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Before You Go
  2. Getting Used to Loving You
  3. (I Want) No One But You
  4. Number One Heel
  5. Raz-Ma-Taz Polka
  6. I Betcha Didn't Know
  7. No Fool Like an Old Fool
  8. If You Want a Love
  9. Charlie Brown
  10. Steel Guitar Rag
  11. Gonna Roll Out the Red Carpet
  12. Only You (Can Break My Heart)
  13. Country Rag
  14. Bile 'Em Cabbage Down
  15. Hangin' on to What I Got
  16. Someone with No One to Love
  17. Buckaroo
  18. Faded Love
  19. Blue Christmas Tree
  20. Because It's Christmas Time
  21. All I Want for Christmas is You
  22. Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy (Daddy Looked a Lot Like Him)
  23. Christmas Ain't Christmas
  24. Christmas Time's A-Comin'
  25. It's Christmas Time for Everyone But Me
  26. Here Comes Santa Claus Again
  27. Blue Christmas Lights
  28. Santa's Gonna Come in a Stagecoach
  29. Christmas Morning
  30. Jingle Bells
  31. We Split the Blanket
  32. He Don't Deserve You Anymore
  33. Sam's Place
  34. Heart Of Glass
  35. (I'll Love You) Forever and Ever
  36. I'm Layin' It on the Line
  37. Waitin' in Your Welfare Line
  38. That's What I'm Like Without You
  39. There Never Was a Fool
  40. In the Palm of Your Hand
  41. After You Leave Me [Remake] [Version]
  42. A Devil Like Me (Needs an Angel Like You)
  43. Cinderella
  44. I'll Go to Church Again with Momma
  45. Pray Every Day
  46. Love's Gonna Live Here
  47. Together Again
  48. Act Naturally
  49. I've Got a Tiger by the Tail
  50. My Heart Skips a Beat
  51. I Don't Care (Just as Long As You Love Me)
  52. Foolin' Around
  53. Before You Go
  54. Second Fiddle
  55. Under Your Spell Again
  56. Don't Let Her Know
  57. Together Again
  58. Only You (Can Break My Heart)
  59. When Jesus Calls All His Children In
  60. It Was with Love
  61. Would You Be Ready
  62. Eternal Vacation
  63. Jesus Saved Me
  64. Where Would I Be Without Jesus
  65. Dust on Mother's Bible
  66. Satan's Gotta Get Along Without Me
  67. Tom Cattin' [Remake] [Version]
  68. Cajun Fiddle [Remake] [Version]
  69. You Made a Monkey Out of Me
  70. Congratulations, You're Absolutely Right
  71. You, You, Only You
  72. Where Does the Good Times Go
  73. Goodbye, Good Luck, God Bless You
  74. Cadillac Lane
  75. House of Memories
  76. Think of Me
  77. No More Me and You
  78. Where Does the Good Times Go
  79. Open Up Your Heart
  80. The Way That I Love You
  81. Rocks in My Head
  82. Only You and You Alone
  83. Don't Ever Tell Me Goodbye
  84. What a Liar I Am
  85. Your Tender Loving Care
  86. Song and Dance
  87. If I Had You Back Again
  88. The Way That I Love You [Instrumental]
  89. I'll Be Swingin' Too
  90. It Takes a Lot of Tenderness (It Takes a Lot of You for Me)
  91. Round Hole Guitar
  92. You'll Never Miss the Water (Till the Well Runs Dry)
  93. Something to Remember You By
  94. The Happy-Go-Lucky Guitar
  95. Tumwater Breakdown
  96. The Neosho Waltz
  97. Steel Guitar Polka
  98. Happy Son of a Gun
  99. Seven Come Eleven
  100. Out of My Mind
  101. I'm Gonna Live It Up
  102. If I Knew
  103. Everybody Needs Somebody
  104. I've Got It Bad for You
  105. You Left Her Lonely Too Long
  106. That's How I Measure My Love for You
  107. Heartbreak Mountain
  108. It Takes People Like You (To Make People Like Me)
  109. Kern County Breakdown
  110. My Baby's Comin' Home
  111. Chicken Pickin'
  112. Free and Easy
  113. Tom's Waltz
  114. Buckersfield Breakdown
  115. Love's Gonna Come A-Knockin'
  116. I'm A-Comin' Back Home to You
  117. Apple Jack
  118. Foolish Notion
  119. Night Time Is Cry Time
  120. How Long Will My Baby Be Gone
  121. Swingin' Doors
  122. Long, Long Ago
  123. Sing a Happy Song
  124. Let the World Keep on a Turnin'
  125. The Girl on Sugar Pie Lane
  126. We Were Made for Each Other
  127. Happy Times Are Here Again
  128. Sweet Rosie Jones
  129. The Heartaches Have Just Started
  130. You Mother's Prayer
  131. That Sunday Feeling
  132. Hurtin' Like I've Never Hurt Before
  133. You'll Never Miss the Water (Till the Well Runs Dry)
  134. There's Gotta Be Some Changes Made
  135. If I Had Three Wishes
  136. Hello California
  137. Highway Man
  138. I Can't Stop My Loving You
  139. Chapparal
  140. You Bring Out the Best In Me
  141. I'm Coming Back Home to Stay
  142. The Waltz of the Roses
  143. Pedal Patter
  144. Down on the Bayou
  145. Pretty Girl
  146. Sad Is the Lonely
  147. Rattle Traps
  148. Leave Me Something to Remeber You By
  149. That's All Right with Me (If It's All Right with You)
  150. Wait a Little Longer, Please Jesus
  151. Hello Happiness, Goodbye Loneliness
  152. Don't Let True Love Slip Away
  153. The Great Judgement Day
  154. Sally, Mary and Jerry
  155. In God I Trust
  156. Buckaroo Polka
  157. All I Want for Christmas Is My Daddy
  158. Christmas Shopping
  159. One of Everything You Got
  160. Good Old Fashioned Country Christmas
  161. The Jolly Christmas Polka
  162. Let the World Keep on a Turnin'
  163. I'll Love You Forever and Ever
  164. A Very Merry Christmas
  165. Christmas Time Is Near
  166. Tomorrow Is Christmas Day
  167. Christmas Schottische
  168. Home on Christmas Day
  169. Merry Christmas from Our House to Yours
  170. It's Not What You Give
  171. You Let Me Down
  172. Woman Truck Drivin' Fool
  173. I Got a Letterfrom Home
  174. Pitty Pitty Patter
  175. I'm Goin' Back Home Where I Belong
  176. Meanwhile Back at the Ranch
  177. Tracy's Waltz
  178. Runnin' Short
  179. Louisiana Waltz
  180. Saturday Night
  181. Spanish Moonlight
  182. Too Many Chiefs (Not Enough Indians)
  183. Guitar Fandango
  184. Things I Saw at the Fountain on the Plaza When I Was Visiting Rome or A
  185. The Gaucho Came Riding
  186. Mexican Jumping Bean
  187. Turkish Holiday
  188. I've Got You on My Mind Again
  189. I Wanna Be Wild and Free
  190. Where Has Our Love Gone?
  191. I Ain't a Gonna Be Treated This a Way
  192. Darlin' You Can Depend on Me
  193. Jesus, Jesus, Hold Me
  194. Sing That Kind of Song
  195. Love Is Me
  196. Hurry, Come Running Back to Me
  197. Alabama, Louisiana, or Maybe Tennessee
  198. Greensleeves
  199. Gathering Dust
  200. The Price I'll Have to Pay
  201. Aw Heck
  202. Keep on Your Keepin' On
  203. Bad Luck and Bad Weather
  204. Anywhere U.S.A.
  205. Tim-Buck-Too
  206. Georgia Peach
  207. Highland Fling
  208. Moonlight on the Desert
  209. March of the McGregor
  210. Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass
  211. We're Gonna Get Together
  212. White Satin Bed
  213. In The Middle of a Teardrop
  214. You Can't Make Nothin' Out of That But Love
  215. I Would Do Anything for You
  216. Maybe If I Close My Eyes (It Will Go Away)
  217. Across This Town and Gone
  218. Where Does The Good Times Go [Take 9] [Alternate Take]
  219. Where Does The Good Times Go [Take 8B] [Alternate Take]
  220. How Long Will My Baby Be Gone [Take 5A] [Alternate Take]
  221. How Long Will My Baby Be Gone [Take 9A] [Alternate Take]
  222. That's All Right with Me (If It's All Right with You) [Take 6] [Alterna
  223. Darlin' You Can Depend on Me [Take 2] [Alternate Take]
  224. Cadillac Lane [Take 1] [Alternate Take]
  225. Cadillac Lane [Take 2] [Alternate Take]
  226. Cadillac Lane [Take 3] [Alternate Take]
  227. Cadillac Lane [Take 4] [Alternate Take]
  228. Cadillac Lane [Take 5] [Alternate Take]
  229. Cadillac Lane [Take 6] [Alternate Take]
  230. Cadillac Lane [Take 7] [Alternate Take]
  231. Cadillac Lane [Take 8] [Alternate Take]
  232. Cadillac Lane [Take 9] [Alternate Take]
  233. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 1] [Alternate Take]
  234. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 2] [Alternate Take]
  235. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 3] [Alternate Take]
  236. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 4] [Alternate Take]
  237. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 5] [Alternate Take]
  238. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 6] [Alternate Take]
  239. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 7] [Alternate Take]
  240. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 8] [Alternate Take]
  241. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 9] [Alternate Take]
  242. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 10] [Alternate Take]
  243. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 11] [Alternate Take]
  244. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 12] [Alternate Take]
  245. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 13] [Alternate Take]
  246. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 14] [Alternate Take]
  247. Happy Son of a Gun [Take 15] [Alternate Take]
  248. Toys for Tots [Take 3] [Alternate Take][*]
  249. Toys for Tots [Take 6] [Alternate Take][*]