2021 Song Draft- Round 10- Pick 3- Hanspostcard selects-‘ I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail’- Buck Owens and the Buckaroos.
So many great songs out there to pick from- for my last selection in this years draft [next summer we will have part II- starting with a Round 11]- I thought back to the first song- and the first artist that I discovered–I was four or five years old when I heard ‘Ive Got A Tiger By The Tail’ by Buck Owens on the radio. I thought of course the song was about – a tiger. I would listen to the famous local country radio station in the area- WWVA- in Wheeling, WV–waiting for the song to play again. My parents ended up just getting me the album- Buck Owens and the Buckaroos- I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail- and I would play it all the time. While I have that album- and all of Buck’s classic albums from the 60’s and early 70’s- I can’t say I have that original copy- I wish I did but I was a little kid and you know how that goes.
Buck Owens had a total of 21 #1 hits on the Billboard Country Singles Chart- including a string of 14 singles in a row going to #1 from 1963-67. Buck ruled the 60’s -20 of the 21 came during that period. While he had so many classic singles- ‘I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail’- is his signature song- and a great example of the Bakersfield Sound- which Buck pioneered. ‘I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail’- was Buck’s only entry into the Billboard Pop Top 40- peaking at #25.
A key component to Buck’s sound- which he referred to as the ‘freight train’ sound- was his guitarist, fiddle player and background singer- Don Rich. Rich and his Fender Telecaster and his vocals – Buck knew what Rich meant to him. When Don Rich tragically was killed in 1974- in a motorcycle accident at the age of 32- Buck’s music was never the same after Rich- is best friend was killed he would later comment- “He was like a brother, a son and a best friend. Something I never said before, maybe I couldn’t, but I think my music life ended when he died. Oh yeah, I carried on and I existed, but the real joy and love, the real lightning and thunder is gone forever.”
The first few concerts I ever went to- were to the then famous Wheeling Jamboree- to see Buck Owens and the Buckaroos- back in the 1960s- and of course they played ‘Tiger By The Tail’- every time I saw them. How big of a fan was I of Buck? My grandfather’s nickname for me was ‘ Buck.’ I can’t recall him ever calling me Hans- it was always’ Buck.’