Watching the Country Music documentary by Ken Burns on PBS recently, I was very interested in the segment they did on Buck Owens because it reminded me of my old band days.
Back in the ’60s, shortly before becoming involved in radio, I used to play in a band called The Jury. Back then we had a few records out so we got to play all over Manitoba and the northern States. Sometimes though, getting home from some of these gigs necessitated driving all night and me being the designated driver, I relied on the radio to keep me awake. Unfortunately, the only music you could get on back then was Country, and except for Buck Owens, I wasn’t into it. Hell, the only reason I kinda liked Buck was because his guitars rocked a little.
Anyway, fast forward some twenty years to California where I’ve become a radio consultant and on this particular evening as I headed home, from my office in La Jolla, for a change of pace I dialed up KSON. I had no idea as I left the beautiful hills of La Jolla behind, that I’d end up on the streets of Bakersfield.
It was a beautiful night and as I drove south on I 5 to my home in Coronado, all of a sudden, Dwight Yoakam’s “Guitars and Cadillacs came on the radio and I couldn’t help but sing along. I really like all of Dwight’s songs and I think it’s because his music reminds me a lot of Buck Owens.
As the tune faded away, the Dee-Jay says, “Hey, I bet Dwight will be singing that one when he takes the stage at the Convention Center in a few minutes. At that same moment, my headlights hit the Convention Center exit sign and even though I had an early morning flight to Nashville the next day, I thought, “What the hell.”
After buying a ticket and going inside, I discover that the opening act wasn’t very good and if they didn’t have a bar in the back, I would have left. so I decided to leave. As I stood there drinking a couple of CC’s and Diet Coke, all of a sudden, on came Dwight.
Talk about electric, when he hit that stage, he was just rockin’, and the ladies were howlin’. He had his cowboy hat pulled way down low as he strutted and pranced around the stage in his skin-tight jeans which had the ladies all heated up. What a great, great concert and I’m so glad that I didn’t leave.
The next day while standing at the gate in Dallas where I was waiting to board my connecting my flight to Nashville, I thought I recognized RC Bradly up at the ticket counter. RC used to be the Sales Manager of KZBS in Oklahoma City when I was their consultant, so I took a chance and called out his name. Sure enough, it was him, and when he came over to say hi, and I asked him what he was doing now, he said, “I’m managing a hillbilly by the name of Dwight Yoakam.”
When I told him that I’d seen Dwight’s concert last night in San Diego, he said, “Let’s see if I have this right, are you saying that George Johns, one of America’s most respected consultants in the Adult Contemporary world, spends his downtime going to cowboy concerts?”
After catching up for a while, he asked if I wanted to meet Dwight and when I told him that I would love to, he went to get him. A few minutes later he was back with two guys who were both wearing ten-gallon hats and very cool looking trail coats made out of Indian blankets.
After RC introduced me to Dwight, he then said, “And this George, is the legendary Buck Owens,” all I could think was, “You’re sh*ting me, how f#%king cool is this?”
They were all headed to Nashville to tape an awards show, and luckily I had used my reward miles for an upgrade so when they called our flighr, I got to sit up front with them. Once we were in the air and settled in, Dwight and Buck got their guitars down from the overhead so we got to see and hear Buck teach Dwight the song that they were going to do on the TV special together. None of us had any idea though, that we were also witnessing the birth of Dwight’s first #1 record “The Streets Of Bakersfield.”
(To see them do it live, click on the link at the bottom of the page.)
You know you’re getting old when you no longer can handle doing the indoor sunglasses thing.
True happiness is when you find yourself laughing with a small child about nothing.
The Feds are thinking about adding on a 25 cent a gallon tax to gasoline nationwide. How’s that going to work in California where the State government is already running that scam? I want the gun concession; they may be ready. Isn’t that what the second amendment is all about?
Speaking of guns, if the slaves had guns, would there have been any slaves in America?
No Blacks are moving to Africa, no Jews are moving to Israel, and I’m sure as hell not moving to Britain, so why don’t we work it all out?
The only difference between the NFL owners and other owners is … The NFL pays a hell of a lot more.
Doing what you were born to do is easy; the tough part is figuring out exactly what that is.
The only good thing about time flying by so fast is you’re the pilot.
I don’t think people who live in mansions should be the ones telling the rest of us how we should live.
Speaking of rich people, why don’t politicians use some of that lobbyist payola to do some good?
Speaking of payola, how can we expect the politicians who accept money from the companies who are hurting the planet, to work on climate change?
If you think it’s tough trying to get, people to give up their guns, wait until you attempt talking kids into giving up their video games with guns.
Howcome the list of what my homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover is at least twice as long as what it does cover?
Isn’t it weird how the best are also usually the worst?
Life not being fair doesn’t give you the right to do wrong.
Tim Byrd: George, Good stuff, we understand that it is the middle class that makes the country work, but when the plan on their (currents in office) part is to “fundamentally change America” to a socialist gulag, there becomes a derailed train running at high speeds that no one has the fortitude to stop. It is after all, as you said a Republic, Politicians are not known to have balls in their sack or a bone up their back. And so it goes…..Thanks for all the George(isms) (It’s The Middle-Class Stupid)
Geo: Robin, my favorite quote from Sir Paul is, “I am more amazed by the Beatles now than I ever was when I was one.
Ron Paley: Geo: I am truly honoured to be mentioned in your blog and finally after many many years we find out how close we were to each other in the CKY Winnipeg days yet, so far apart. It wasn’t until we got together in West Palm for brunch in 2010 that we met again for the first time since the early ’60s. Your achievements in radio are to be admired and thanks again for the posts on Facebook and mentions in your blog.
Somewhere around here, I have the CFTR Last Contest promos Jack McCoy cut for us as well 4 reels of music beds he sent along. I can never hear Rod Serling without thinking Last Contest.
Considering there was only one Mono production studio (no multi-track) to handle the station’s regular traffic and all those prize packs (each prize pack aired only once)…it was really something. Plus if you recall that studio had hot water heating and often sometimes in the middle of a take the pipes would Clank & we’d have to start all over again. (The Last Contest)
Congrats on today’s read… I love it when your politically incorrect side comes out… as the song goes “Don’t go changin'” (Designated Survivor)
Eric Edwards: Said it then and I’ll say it now, “the wrath of the buzzard” was the best station id ever produced… I had the good fortune to work with Chuck many times in Los Angeles, he was an amazing talent (Chuck Riley)