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Oldies Music Glossary: "Bakersfield Sound"

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Oldies Music Glossary:
source: ebay.com
Definition: A direct reaction to the "Nashville Sound" and "Countrypolitan" movements of the early Sixties, which saw country music turn to string-laden ballads to boost sales, the "Bakersfield Sound" originated in the town of the same name, a lower California outpost that had been populated by Dust Bowl refugees during the Great Depression. The initial proponent of the sound was Buck Owens and his backing band, the Buckaroos, who mixed honky-tonk barroom country with pedal steel from Western Swing music, mixed in a little "Louisiana Swing" and some of the Tex-Mex polkas coming in from just over the border, and then topped it off with a relatively new phenomenon -- a Fender Telecaster guitar, not heard in country, which (except for the pedal steel) had stuck mainly to acoustic instrumentation.

The new phenomenon didn't catch fire nationally until the mid-Sixties, though it gained many aficionados, especially from the rockabilly crowd. Another local roadhouse vet, Merle Haggard, and his band the Strangers, were thought to be the first disciples of the Bakersfield sound developed by Owens, yet Haggard didn't enjoy significant success until the turn of the decade. By then, the sound had been absorbed into the mainstream -- the Beatles, for one, covered Buck's 1963 hit "Act Naturally" and had a standing order for each of his new albums the minute they were released. Yet the Sound was a profound influence on roots-rock, even more so than country: it was, for example, a crucial component of the sound that Creedence Clearwater Revival leader John Fogerty (a resident of Berkeley, CA) developed for his band. The Bakersfield Sound was later repopularized for country by Dwight Yoakam in the Eighties, and the city remains a hotbed of musical activity even today.

Also Known As: Truckdriving Country
Examples:
  1. "I've Got A Tiger By The Tail," Buck Owens
  2. "Mama Tried," Merle Haggard
  3. "Big, Big Love," Wynn Stewart
  4. "She's Gone, Gone, Gone," Lefty Frizzell
  5. "L.A. International Airport," Susan Raye
  6. "Truck Drivin' Man," Red Simpson
  7. "A Tombstone Every Mile," Dick Curless
  8. "Six Days On The Road," Dave Dudley
  9. "Act Naturally," The Beatles
  10. "Honky Tonk Man," Dwight Yoakam
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