I went to Bucks viewing and funeral last weekend and thought I would say a few things about what Buck meant to my life. I've tried to write this a few times in the past week, but haven't made it through without tearin' up.
First off, I'm a son of two dust bowl Okies that moved to CA back around the same time as Buck. My family is from just across the river from where Buck was born.
Although my parents ended up in Ventura county, I had relatives in Bakersfield and through out the San Joaquin valley.
So growing up for me was all about Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins, Skeets McDonald, Red Simpson, Freddie Hart and all the others that made "The Bakersfield sound" or "West Coast Sound".
The first record I remember hearing was CHRISTMAS WITH BUCK OWENS
when I was 4 years old. My mom bought it played it over and over for me Christmas of '65.
It became a Christmas ritual at our house that every Friday morning right after Thanksgiving day, our mom would put that record(along with BUCK OWENS
after it came out) on and blast it through the house while she put up the Christmas decorations. That went on every year from '65 till I moved out in '83.
For my family those were our "Christmas Carols". The songs off those two albums were about the only Christmas songs we would sing or play.
In 1969 for my 8th birthday I got my first guitar, and someone gave me a card with money in it. I never had money before, so what did I do with it? I went and bought my first record, The Best of Buck Owens vol.3
Then about two years later the fifth and sixth grade classes at my school were raising money to go on a field trip to Magic Mountain. I could care less about going to some amusement park, until I found out that the concert at Magic Mountain the weekend of the field trip was going to be "The Buck Owens Show".
Guess who collected more old news papers empty bottles and raised the most money. So that was my first concert ever. I can still see every bit of it in my mind today and hear Don's Tele. That night changed my life!
I never once stopped being a Buck Owens fan. I was in the officail Buck Owens fan club and was in the Hee Haw fan club.
I had the Hee Haw overalls, the Hee Haw hat, the lunch box and thermos, the autographed pictures and posters all of it. Just about anything that Buck sold I bought.
I even have one of the original cellophane cartoon drawings of the mule that was used on the into to Hee Haw. I never did get the red,white,and blue guitar, but someday I will get one.
So last weekend when they had Bucks open viewing and funeral, I had to go. It's only four hours away.
The open casket viewing was at the Crystal Palace
and they had Buck on the dance floor just in front of the stage.
On each side of the casket were red, white, and blue floral arrangement in the shape of guitars. One said "From The Don Rich Family".
They had the stage set up just as if Buck and The Buckeroos were playing. They had most of the stage darkened except for right in the center stage. They had Bucks Martin on a stand then just to stage right of it they had his old blonde Tele, and just to stage left of the Martin there was his American flag Tele. All three guitars were very subtly lit up and the tele's were plugged into two twins that were turned on.
There was a loop of Bucks songs playing over the PA.
When you signed the gust book they handed you a 5X8 card stock with Bucks Picture on it.
There were Tele's next to the casket at the funeral also, along with the red, white, and blue guitar floral arrangements.
They did a live broadcast of the funeral, and someone has posted on YouTube,what one of the local stations ran. If anyone want to watch it here is the link.
Bucks Funeral on YouTube
Here are a couple of old Buck Clips from his Ranch Show DVD's. I know these have been posted before, but they are worth looking at again.
So now I just want to say goodbye Buck, and thanks for making me choose to play music on a Telecaster for a living. It was all because of you, and I've loved every minute of it!!!!!!!!