Spent a lotta time
our fair land
So how was this
with a band
While watching the Ken Burns documentary about Country Music a while back, I was very interested in the segment they did about Buck Owens because it brought back a lot of memories.
Back in the ’60s, I used to play in a band from Winnipeg called The Jury who because we had a few records released got to play all over Manitoba and the northern States.
Sometimes, getting back home from some of these gigs required driving all night and I guess because it was my car, I was the designated driver. Unfortunately, back then, the only music you could get on the radio was Country which was not my favorite but I did kinda like Buck Owens because he rocked a little.
Anyway, fast forward about twenty years and I’m living in California and have become a radio consultant. On this particular evening, as I drove home to Coronado from my office in La Jolla, for a change of pace, I dialed up KSON.
As I left the hills of La Jolla behind, I had no idea that I’d end up on the streets of Bakersfield.
Driving south on I 5, all of a sudden on came Dwight Yoakam’s “Guitars and Cadillacs” so I cranked it up and sang along.
I think maybe that I like Dwights like music because he reminds me of Buck Owens which in turn reminds me of my band days.
Then just as the tune begins to fade, the Dee-Jay jumps in and says, “Hey, I bet Dwight will be singing that one when he takes the stage at the Convention Center in a few minutes,” my headlights hit the exit sign for the Convention Center.
Even though I had an early morning flight to Nashville to visit WLAC the next day, I thought, “What the hell.”
Once inside, I, unfortunately, discovered that the opening act wasn’t very good so I decided to leave. Fortunately, as I was walking out though, I noticed that they had a bar, so I decided to have a couple of Canadian Clubs and Coke so that the whole night wouldn’t be a waste.
As I stood there sipping my CC, all of a sudden, on came Dwight. Talk about electric, when Dwight hit that stage, he was just rockin’, and the ladies were howlin’.
He had his cowboy hat pulled way down over his eyes as he strutted and pranced all over the stage in his ripped skin-tight jeans which had the ladies all heated up. I was having a ball and was so glad that I hadn’t left.
The next day as I was changing planes in Dallas and was standing at the gate Nashville gate, I thought that I recognized RC Bradly up at the ticket counter.
RC had been the Sales Manager of KZBS in Oklahoma City back when Bill Lacey owned it and I was their consultant. Taking a chance, I called out his name and sure enough, it was him.
When he came over to say hi and I asked him what he was up to now, he said that he managed a hillbilly singer named Dwight Yoakam. When I told him that I’d just seen Dwight in concert last night, he just laughed and said, “Let me see, do I have this right, are you saying that George Johns, who is one of America’s most respected Adult Contemporary consultants, spends his downtime going to cowboy concerts?”
After telling him that my connection to Dwight came from my old band days because he reminded me a lot of Buck Owens, RC asked if I would like to meet Dwight?
When I told him that I would love to, off he went and was back a few minutes later with two guys who were wearing these very cool long trail coats made out of Indian blankets. One of them was Dwight and after introducing him to me, RC then said, “And this George is the legendary Buck Owens.” You’re sh*ting me, how f#king cool is that?
Dwight and Buck were also going to Nashville where they were taping a TV Special honoring the legends of Country Music. I also got to meet a bunch of them too but that’s another story for another time.
Luckily when they called our flight for Nashville, I had used my reward miles to upgrade to first class, so I got to sit up front with them. Once we were in the air and I was enjoying a couple of cocktails, all of a sudden, Dwight and Buck got their guitars down from the overhead.
For the next hour, those of us up there were being entertained by hearing Buck teach Dwight the song they were going to do together on the TV special. None of us, including them, had any idea that we were also witnessing the birth of Dwight Yoakam’s first #1 record, “The Streets Of Bakersfield.”