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.’
I remember this one as well growing up and loved it. You had more of a personal connection since it was your first album. I remember Don Rich being on the news when he passed away.
Buck and Don were innovative…songs like Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass with that guitar. Great pick Hans.
Thanks. those two were a great musical pair.
This is great! I actually had a Buck Owens song on my shortlist; it was the instrumental ‘Buckaroo’. I loved his music and watching him and his band when I was little. He and Don Rich were like brothers on stage. It was Buck’s name but it seemed very much like they were a duo. Tiger By The Tail was definitely one of my favorites. I’m envious that you got to see them live as a kid. I bet those were fun shows.
I was under ten for all the shows- but I can remember them well. Buckaroo is a great instrumental!
I absolutely love this song!
Great pick Hans. The live clip is great – even if I hadn’t read about Rich in your write up you can tell from the clip how much he adds to the song. Love the story about your childhood and the song.
Good ole Buck! This one is a classic! One of the country stations I worked at did a weekend country legends show and this was always one that got a ton of requests. I had a couple Buck songs on my list, but there were duets. Great pick!
Thanks Keith… another Buck thought that I didn’t comment on- while he made a ton of money from co-hosting Hee-Haw- I think it hurt his reputation somewhat in the long run- some just think of him associated with that… and not the great career he had in the 1960s.
Great piece Hans. Love it and the song. I came to Bucks music (Together Again) through a Gram parsons album. Then Yoakam really sang his praises. Merle could have easily made it into my picks. Maybe he still will.
Thanks CB– while Buck was my first favorite- in the past few decades Merle has taken over as my all time favorite country artists.. and I agree he certainly could have made it as one of my 10 picks..
Never heard this before, but I like it.
Like you, I’ve loved Buck since I was a kid. Several years back, I made plans to go see him perform in Bakersfield, but something came up (I truly don’t remember what), and my husband asked that I stay home. He said “You’ll have plenty of time to catch Buck another day.”
Two weeks later, Buck was gone … and my husband has never again told me there was plenty of time to see an older performer.
If I had to pick one favorite Buck song, it would probably be a “Tall Dark Stranger.”
I’ve had that happen too- with Bill Monroe- I’ll catch him next time– there was no next time…
Hans, I love knowing that you saw Buck and the Buckaroos live. I adore Buck and adored Don as well. They were a team as much as Paul and John, Robert and Jimmy, Mick and Keith, Roger and Pete. I love me some Bakerfield sound also.