(Buck Owens, right, with Merle Haggard in 2004)
Anybody who is from the South, or anybody over 15 years old, knows what Hee Haw is. They know the "Pickin' and A-Grinnin'," the corny jokes, and what Grandpa Jones announced for supper. They also know the hosts, Roy Clark and Buck Owens.
Today, Buck Owens died. He was 76. The news release said the cause of death was not yet known.
I loved Hee Haw. And, if you'll check my Blogger profile, you'll see Buck Owens is one of my favorite singers. "Act Naturally," "Tiger By The Tail," Under Your Spell Again," all classic songs with the unforgettable Bakerfield Sound that he created. His last big hit was "Streets of Bakersfield," recorded in 1988 with Dwight Yoakam.
He had had a stroke a couple years ago, and I understand it left him in a different shape. He had returned to weekly performances at his Crystal Palace Theatre in Bakersfield, and, a couple years ago, was planning a new album, "Buck Owens and his One Man Band," in which he would play all the instruments on all the recordings.
Rather than saying some little "he'll be missed" statement, I'll just leave it to Buck to close it out:
"I'd like to be remembered as a guy that came along and did his music, did his best and showed up on time, clean and ready to do the job, wrote a few songs and had a hell of a time." -- Buck Owens, 1992.