Dollar Bin Darlings is a regular column wherein we profile a record you can likely pick up in your local store's bargain bin, or maybe even at a nearby thrift shop. In our first installment, we feature a dandy from Buck Owens.
If you're of a certain age, you probably think immediately of TV's Hee Haw when you hear the name Buck Owens. Beginning in 1969, Owens was one of Hee Haw's co-hosts for more than fifteen years, but long before that he and his backing band, The Buckaroos were a powerhouse of country music and one of the primary architects of the Bakersfield Sound, perhaps most famously by writing and performing "Act Naturally" before the Beatles covered it and turned it into a rock and roll hit.
In a six year period, spanning from 1964 to 1969, Owens & The Buckaroos released a torrent of something like 18 albums and amassed a catalog that only legends can even dream of. One of the true highlights of that golden era is the 1965 release Tiger By The Tail. Buoyed by a cracker jack rhythm section and the lead guitar lines and tight harmony vocals courtesy of Don Rich, the 12 tracks breeze by in less than a half an hour and pack tale after tale of heartbreak, woe and sorrow, but not without a bit of a ruckus.
The title track was written by Buck Owens and Don Rich in the back seat of a car after they had spotted an Esso gas station sign that featured a tiger and the phrase, "Put A Tiger In Your Tank". Owens jotted down the phrase "Tiger by the tail", he and Rich then began trading chords and lyrical suggestions and within minutes they had crafted a pop country gem.
Much of the Buck Owens discography can be found in bargain bins high and low because of the sheer volume of albums he sold during his heyday, and while almost any of those is worth a buck or two, if you're just getting started with Buck Owens & The Buckaroos, there seems no better place to start than with 1965's Tiger By The Tail.