Announcement From the Ambassador
I am pleased to inform you this website has become very popular and is read by thousands of fans all over the world. Initially in 1998 when, with Bob Timmers help, we conceived this idea to create a website devoted to the Bakersfield Sound I wanted eventually to expand and to, expose to the world, all the talent in Bakersfield and California and taking a giant leap forward ... talent from all over the world.
Well I grew up in and around Bakersfield and many talented musicians of all genres of music including country, blues, rock, gothic rock(KORN) still reside there (The New Generation) and perform in and all over California. I receive e-mails all over the world who love our California Sound.
So we shall be showcasing what we feel as exceptional talent all forms of music on this website from all over the world. Mix it up a bit so to say.Hope you enjoy the variety.
Glenn J. Pogatchnik
Fill Their Shoes?
NEWS & features
Buck Owens & The Buckaroos to be celebrated at Country Music Hall of Fame
Hank Williams, Jr. & Merle Haggard team up for a country classic
'Merle Haggard: The Running Kind' is a portrait of a mercurial genius
Merle Haggard maintains U.S. tour well into 2014
Auto-Buck-ography: Life story told, and what a life it was
"Bakersfield haters can love it or leave it"
Buck Owens' autobiography, "Buck 'Em!"
Suzy Bogguss To Release Merle Haggard Tribute Album
Museum accepts Haggard's boyhood home - with conditions
Review: Gill brings 'Bakersfield' to Bakersfield
Haggard's sister tells story of family's arrival in Oildale
Country Music Hall of Fame's "Bakersfield" Exhibit Extended Through 2014
Master Musicians Pay Tribute to Buck Owens and Merle Haggard
Buck, Buckeroos, Merle
Billy Mize Movie: The holy grail of Haggard lore?
Merle Haggard Remembers George Jones
Lawmaker Honors Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard doesn't call himself an 'Old Fart'
Merle Haggard and Buck Owens to Be Honored by CSU Bakersfield
Never-before heard music from Bakersfield's Buck Owens coming soon
Music Review: Merle Haggard - The Complete '60s Capitol Singles
Book Review: My House of Memories: For the Record
Wanda Jackson, Merle Haggard and George Jones Compilations Coming
Stroke impairs hand of Merle's former pianist
Merle Haggard's 'Troubadour' Days Find Home in New Box Set
Women of the Bakersfield Sound Take Center Stage at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Buck Owens' 1963 recording of "Act Naturally", is among the latest inductees in the Grammy Hall of Fame. In an announcement Wednesday (Nov. 21), the Recording Academy announced 27 new Hall of Fame additions in a variety of musical genres.
Buck Owens, Don Rich Albums Due in January
"Peasant in a Paper Suit"
Bakersfield is filled with characters working to spin gold from oil, agriculture, music, and each other, but only one was the Pied Piper, a boxing and wrestling promoter ...READ MORE
Buck Owens, Don Rich albums illustrate development of Bakersfield Sound
The Original Bakersfield Sign On Union Ave. Before It Was Dismantled and Moved to Buck Owens Crystal Palace. Glenn took this picture on a very hot summer day in 1985.
Picture sent from William Malouf, son of Herb Malouf, that owned Chet's Club next to the iconic Lucky Spot on Edison Hwy in East Bakersfield. Picture circa 1985. What a rare gem of a picture. Photo courtesy Beverly Malouf-Byrd. Enjoy folks....GJP
Eddie Stubbs Interviews Merle Haggard
Letter to the Country Music Hall of Fame
Bill Gruggett, Bakersfield's master guitar maker dies at 75
Hundreds pack Buck Owens' Crystal Palace to remember Homer Joy
Homer Joy R.I.P.
Merle at Rainbow Gardens (page)
We are delighted to announce that award winning author and journalist Miss Eileen Sisk has agreed to join our staff as a board member. Eileen has worked at such prestigious organizations as the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Tennessean and much, much more. She is the author of "Buck Owens" biography a detailed account on how Buck rose to fame and success warts and all. She's one of the good guys(gals) - Glenn J. Pogatchnik
Tom Brumley Equipment For Sale
Buck Owens: The Biography
by Eileen Sisk Info about the author
Hotdog this young lass Eileen Sisk has thru thirteen years of research and due diligence written the definitive depiction of how Buck Owens conducted his life. This book is so riveting it screams to be made into a major movie. Here's the best part. I contacted the author and she made a most gracious offer to sell the hardback version of this book for $25.00 plus $3.00 for shipping and handling in the U.S. Naturally our international readers will be charged applicable shipping costs. Included in this offer Ms. Sisk will personally autograph each book directly to those of you who purchase this historical account of "The Baron of Bakersfield" Payment is by PayPal at http://eileensisk.blogspot.com. - Glenn.
Here is Eileen Sisk's Facebook Buck Owen's Fan Page on her book she wrote on the Life and Times of Buck Owens.For our Bakersfield readers the book is available at Russo's Bookstores located in the fine city of Bakersfield. To our readers in the rest of the world why don't you give Eileen a holler and say hi and leave your comments and thoughts on the Baron of Bakersfield. GJP
Photos of Merle
Loretta Lynn talks possible collaborations with Merle, others
New Site for the Study of the Bakersfield Sound
PHOTOS of Trout's
"Blackboard Stages" room
George Jones gears up for final road tour
Merle Haggard is one of us - that's his beauty
We Did It! Billy Mize & The Bakersfield Sound
Jamey Johnson's Tribute to Hank Cochran Due Oct. 16
Dwight Yoakam to release '3 Pears on Sept. 18
"Honky Tonk Man" Dwight Yoakam is Austin's newest honorary citizen
Buck Owens Box Set Uncovers 'Buried' Treasures
EyeStep installed at Country Music Hall of Fame
New Buck Owens Book
Merle Tells It Like It Is
Merle Haggard extends legacy with new record
Kern River Rock N Blues Fest September 28-30
Billy Mize on FaceBook
Nashville bound! You've heard the Bakersfield Sound - now you can see it
Merle Haggard On Still Touring At 75
Merle feared health battle was return of cancer
Catching up with Red Simpson, the Bard of Bakersfield
See Our Archived
News Page Here
Note: Not all videos are Bakersfield related
Iris DeMent - Our town - northern exposure soundtrack
Leonard by Haggard. Tribute to Tommy Collins
This is one of my favorite songs by Merle because it makes me think about how hard my mother Mary Lou's younger childhood in Vera, Oklahoma was... where her drunkard father"Blackie" an oilfield worker used to beat her when he got home. Most of the time Blackie abandoned the family and sometimes my grandmother Vivian, during the Great Depression, could not provide enough. GJP
I Wish I Could See Bakersfield A tribute to Tommy Collins featuring Craig Morgan with Merle Haggard
Video:Paul Thorn,"It's a Great Day to Whup Somebody's Ass"
Video: Knife Fight at Pumpkin Center
Video: Jake Shimabukuro - While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Video: Mark Thornton - Jerry's Breakdown
Redd Volkaert's buddy Mark Thornton. Man these cats are smokin'. GJP
Video: Redd Volkaert, Stumbling
Redd Volkaert. Jaw dropping guitarist. One of my favorites. Played lead in Merle's band for years. GJP
Video: Red Kilby, The Bakersfield Sound
Our "That Bakersfield Sound" theme song by Red Kilby, Ralph Mooney and Redd Volkaert
Video: Mike Headrick & Ralph Mooney (Pedal Steel) - Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink
Glenn played this for Merle at his home and he was a shuckin' and a smilin' to his ol' compadre Mr. Ralph Mooney and Mr. Mike Headrick.
Video: Ralph Mooney " Crazy Arms"
Video: Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas
Mr. Mark Yeary. Producer/piano for Merle Haggard's band for over 22-yrs. Along with Brian Lonbeck one of Bakersfield's present day premier guitarists.
Video: Sweet Georgia Brown, Jimmy Thomason
Jimmy Thomason a fine country sanger and excellent fiddle player. Had his own daily TV Show on KERO TV in Bakersfield in the 70's
Video: Jimmy's Blues, Jimmy Thomason
Video: Third Rate Romance
One of Bakersfield's best. Randy Emmett and The Sideshow Band
Video: Someday when things are good Leona
Video: Brent Mason - Super Live Nashville, TN - Mosrite Guitar 60th Anniversary
Video: Gene Moles, Fingerlickin'
Video: Gene Moles, Snuff Dippin Baby
Video: Joe Maphis / Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud Loud Music)
This song Joe and Rose wrote about our beloved Blackboard Club in Bakersfield
Video: Bonnie Owens & "Fuzzy" Owen - A Dear John Letter (Original, Early 1953)
Video: Bonnie Owens - I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart
Video: Bonnie Owens - Medals For Mother
Video: Merle Haggard, Garbage
This is for all the hardworkin' garbage men in America by one of the hardest workin' men in show business, Mr. Merle Haggard. By the way that is Merle's lovely wife Theresa at the end of the song. Ain't she sweet. GJP
Video: Bonnie Owens, Philadelphia Lawyer
Video: Rose Maddox, Philadelphia Lawyer
Video: West Coast Playboys (Throw a Little Wood On the Fire)
Video: Bud Hobbs - Mean, Mean, Mean
Video: Bud Hobbs: Western Singer, Guitarist, MGM Recording Artist: Tears From A Silver Haired Lady
Video: Del and Sue Smart, singing country favorites, Side One, 15 min.
Video: Susan Raye, LA International Airport
Video: Bonnie Owens, Waggin' Tongues
Video: Tommy Collins "You Better Not Do That" Buck Owens Ranch Show 1966
Video: Jean Shepard & Ferlin Husky, Dear John Letter
Video: Make It Rain, Billy Mize
Lyle Lovett: Natural Forces on Spectacle - YouTube. This is one of my favorite songs. Lyle Lovett a great American Songwriter ... GJP
Glenn J. Pogatchnik says: "Here's a picture that Alan sent my mother Mary Lou and I. As you can see Alan signed the autograph as well as his band, The Strayhorns. I would like to thank Mr. Tom Rutledge, on the far right, for being instrumental in making this happen. Alan Jackson is a True Country Gentleman."
Will Merle Ever Play Trouts Nightclub Everytime I visit Oildale the people there ask me "Glenn how come Merle won't perform at Trouts Nightclub here in his hometown of Oildale?" My answer is always "You'd have to ask him yourself." Somewhat perplexed they say "Well I thought you were friends with Merle"I thought I was too but I was under a false assumption we were. To be perfectly candid the only reason I got close to Merle was my friendship with Sonny Langley, one of Merle's dearest friends. I just tagged along with Sonny and now looking back after a series of events I believe Merle just tolerated my presence. On February 13, 2008 Merle and I parted ways after an event between the two of us I considered unsavory. Merle knows what happened and I know what happened but that is best kept between him and I.
Oildale as many cities is suffering thru this financial crisis. Times are hard. I lived and worked in Oildale for eight years so in my opinion that qualifies me to know the hearts and minds of the citizens of Oildale .Like me most of them are hard working Oakies from humble roots. We love our Country Music and are proud of Buck and Merle making Oildale and Bakersfield a household name. All I can tell Merle is Trouts has a new Blackboard Stage that will adequately support himself and the band. It has a fine sound system and qualified security guards. Two of Merle's band members Norm Hamlet and Don Markham even hang out there when not on tour with Merle. Will Merle Ever Play Trouts Nightclub in his hometown of Oildale and give the Oildale citizens a boost of pride when they most desperately need a boost? Oh how proud they would be if their native son would come and entertain them at the last great true honkytonk in Bakersfield. Will Merle Ever Play Trouts Nightclub In Oildale. You'd have to ask him yourself ... Glenn J. Pogatchnik
Heather Myle's Autographed Guitar $335.00 (includes shipping and handling). If interested contact:Glenn at GlennJPogatchnik@aol.com
Mexican Tele w/Hardshell Case. Signed twice by Merle Haggard and once by Buck Owens and Alan Jackson
You can purchase
Wendell Crowley's CD
for $15.00 (includes s&h)
by PayPal or check to:
1675 Los Osos Vly Rd. Unit 130
Los Osos,CA 93402
-- Song Samples --
I'm Going with My Heart This Time
Love of a Lifetime
Bob Wills house for sale on eBay
Oscar Whittington R.I.P ╩ One of Bakersfield's leading architects of the Bakersfield Sound Oscar Whittington passed away 06/03/2013. Oscar's instrument was the fiddle and over many years since meeting Bill Woods in 1952╩Oscar entertained many people who loved that Bakersfield Sound. You can read more about his many accomplishments at www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com╩R.I.P ol' compadre....GJP
Mayf Nutter in New Movie
Praise Report! 5/4/2013 "I got the call this morning that your friend, Mayf Nutter, has been cast in the role of Terrence Thatcher in the upcoming feature film by veteran Director, producer, writer John Carl Buechler. John created a character in a movie, which he wrote and directed in the 1980s, that he named Harry Potter. His new script is a very intriguing adventure titled, WIZARDREAM. It is moment-to-moment captivating emotion, action, and adventure that I believe will keep movie-goers talking for years to come. Having set aside my career to keep the promise that my lovely wife, Lindsay , and I made together ... NOT to raise HOLLYWOOD KIDS, .... this is my first movie now that our 3 wonderful children are now grown and out on their own, being happy and successful Christian young adults.
Thank you, Lord." Mayf - firstname.lastname@example.org
"Recently I was made aware of a jaw dropping multi genre guitarist in Nashville by the name of Johnny Hiland. Johnny performs live but enjoys the creative process of providing clients with his skills in the studio. Please take the time to view this video on how you as an artist can procure his services to give your recordings the edge that Johnny's unique guitar playing can provide for you. And while your at it watch some of Johnny's performances on Youtube and be prepared to be mesmerized by his talent as I was" ...Glenn J Pogatchnik
"The Night Buck Owens Almost Got Me Killed"
On March 3-10 Houston, TX recording artist Cowboy Allen Folse and his manager Jeanine Mahoney Burleigh traveled to California to visit "The Beloved Ambassador of the Bakersfield Sound" Glenn J. Pogatchnik. Cowboy Allen has signed with the booking agency www.titantalentand management.com based in California.The Ambassador showed Allen the sights of Bakersfield and the highlights of Cowboy's visit was performing on the stage at the world famous Trouts Nightclub in Oildale, CA. the hometown of Merle Haggard, a visit to Merle Haggard's boyhood home located at 1303 Yosemite, Oildale, CA and a personal meeting with Bakersfield's iconic Bard of Bakersfield Mr. Red Simpson who has written many hits for Merle and Buck. Cowboy Allen currently has three hit songs being played at www.ircountry.com. He recently performed for such luminaries as Mickey Gilley and Alan Jackson back in Houston, TX and his career looks very promising ... GJP
Titan Talent and Management
Born In The U.S.A.
For all you guitar players that dream of owning a vintage guitar but could not afford the price let me introduce you to a fella that can make your dreams come true. Mr. Kelton Swade based in Franklin, TN.Thru a series of events I was made aware of this man's gift to craft an exceptional instrument. If you simply log onto www.keltonswade.com and watch the videos demonstrating the exquisite, stellar sounding, what Kelton denotes as AVR or Authentic Vintage Replicas, you will be astounded and like me to start saving my money to have Mr.Kelton Swade or as I like to call him "The Picasso of Guitars" build me one of those bad boys. For any of you that decide to purchase a guitar from Kelton please mention to him that you heard about his guitars on our website - www.thatbakersfieldsound.com - Glenn J. Pogatchnik
A young artist here in California by the name of Ryan Casey painted this two iconic night club the Lucky Spot which was located on Edison Highway in East Bakersfield. This club is very famous as Merle Haggard got his first start hired on as a lead guitarist by bandleader Johnny Barnett. Johnny asked Merle if he could take over one night and sing lead as Johnny was exhausted due to lack of sleep from the burden of three jobs. The rest is history.The Lucky Spot later caught fire and was torn down.
Ryan Casey's rendering of the outside sign of Trouts Nightclub in Oildale. Still standing Trouts is presently the last great Honky Tonk that emulates Honky Tonks of a bygone area.It is open seven days a week and is one of Bakersfield's iconic landmarks. It features live music on the Trouts stage with Red Simpson on Monday nights and on the Blackboard Stages Fri-Sat featuring the Trouts house band plus karaoke on the Trouts stage and an acoustic guitar songwriters performance room. Many other activities during the week. If you are intertested in either of these paintings Mr. Casey can paint either picture at a nominal cost. If interested e-mail GlennJPogatchnik@aol.com
Glenn with his personal boxed set of Bob Wills 1947-1973. Produced by Bear Family Records in Germany includes an exquisite book chock full of history and pictures of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Total of thirteen cd's and a bonus DVD of Bob and his band performing on the silver screen. Available at www.amazon.com for $370.00
Photo courtesy Barry Keen - "This pic of Merle was taken from the middle of the huge auditorium (Calgary 1975)...I had a press flash made in Germany (BRAUN) with a 200mm Nikor lens...amazing when I think back just how powerful that sucker was."
Patty Loveless - You Don't Seem To Miss Me
"When The Oakie From Muskogee Came To Town". Singer, Jack Clayton - Write, Don Stafford - email@example.com
Glenn's autographed Fender Guitars
Billy Mize on Fender Electric Guitar - Larry Petree On Pedal Steel. Picture taken in Bakersfield, CA at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace ... GJP
HELLO FOLKS, I just received this hardcover autographed copy of Eileen Sisk's book, "BUCK OWENS: The Biography." This book is a must-have if you are a fan of The Bakersfield Sound. It is chock-full of Bakersfield Sound history. Eileen has a couple hundred of these books left and sells them for $28.00 (which includes sales tax, shipping and handling) and will personally autograph each book.These books on the Internet without autographs are selling for $40-$100.If you're interested in purchasing this fabulous book. e-mail GlennJPogatchnik@aol.com.
Bible of the Bakersfield Sound
Audio: This is a rare recording that Bill Woods let me record that Bill Woods and his mother made at at Kuzz radio when Kuzz radio was on Chester Avenue .. .GJP
Audio: Rockabilly song that Bill Woods sang and Buck played the lead guitar on. Bill told me they recorded Bill's garage using a two track Tandenburg tape recorder. ... GJP
Tommy Collins Photos
The Four Horsemen At Trouts 05/03/1998 Sunday ...Bill Woods-Billy Mize-Glenn J.Pogatchnik-Roy Nichols
Picture of Virgil Essex of Bedford, Indiana and Merle Haggard
REMEMBER OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN> whose diligence and commitment keep us safe and sound here in the good ol' U.S.A.Give to this cause if you can. They deserve your appreciation ... Glenn J. Pogatchnik
Buck's old house at 309 Panorama Drive on the bluffs in East Bakersfield overlooking the oilfields of Oildale.Tommy Collins told me he got the inspiration to write the song "High On a Hilltop" from the view on the bluffs overlooking the fine city of Oildale.
Entrance to Buck's Ranch on Zerker Road. Directions to Buck's Ranch. Leave Bakersfield going north on Hwy 99. Turn right on the overpass at Shafter Highway going East, turn left on Zerker Rd and Buck's ranch is approximately 3 miles on the right on Zerker Rd.
Current Featured Artist:
Allen Folse & David Church
On-Line Bakersfield Area News Headlines
The Farmer Boys, Bakersfield Hillbilly Bop - CD
Long Black Veil. I requested and recorded Merle Haggard and Sonny Langley singing "Long Black Veil"recorded at Merle's living room 09/16/2005 - GJP
Jerusalem Ridge 2012
Noel Haggard: I'm Tired Of Being Something
Ben Haggard "Leavings Not The Only Way To Go"
Scott Wikle singing Lance Miller's hit song
The Morris Brothers - The First Family In Gospel Bluegrass Music
It's no secret that one of my favorite styles of music is Gospel Bluegrass. Herb and Homer Morris known as the Morris Brothers based in Marietta,Georgia are some of the best in that eloquent American style of music. Log onto www.morrisbrothersbluegrass.com and listen to numerous samples of their singing/harmony and expertise on many Bluegrass instruments and you'll be convinced as I that this is some good stuff. GJP
The Podunk Poets
Being bornt and raised in California it always brings a smile to my face when I'm made aware of a young band based in California carrying on the California Country Sound. Give these kids a listen. GJP
Bluegrass is one of my favorite genres of music and nobody does it better than Ronnie Reno on his show on RFD TV Network. GJP
Glenn and friends at Trouts
Michael Henson, (Cousin Herb Henson's son)
Merle talks Bakersfield
Our tribute to a true American Cowboy, Chris LeDoux
Bill Woods Discography (courtesy Dick Grant of London, England)
Bill Woods Tribute
Video: Merle Haggard & Marty Stuart - Farmer's Blues
Some of Glenn's Famous Friends
The Quebe Sisters Band
Trouts/Rockwell FaceBook page
Heather Myles Web Site
"No One Is Gonna Love You Better" Duet with Merle Haggard
Up-To-Date Bakersfield city news
Lance Miller YouTube Video, "Bacon Frying"
Merle collection, courtesy Larry Purdy:
Page #1 Page #2 Page #3
A Buck Owens bio
Larry Purdy's illustrious music career
Bakersfield Music: feature article
"It's Such a Pretty World Today"
"Just Telephone Upstairs"
Listen to the full version of Red Kilby's "That Bakerfield Sound". You'll find the Full CD here.
George Highfill sings "The Music Born in Bakersfield". The CD is available here
Give a listen to Jerry D. Hobbs' new song: "Toe The Mark". Contact Jerry about this song and his "A 'Workin'" Man's Country" CD.
Video: Tru Country Music
TBS News Archives
TBS CDs, Records Music Archive
TBS E-Mail Archive
Buck Owens in Europe
Bob Wills and Ernest Tubb headline, 1953
Smiley Maxedon, Bill Woods and many others, May, 1955
Roy Nichols, Fuzzy Owens Jam Session, 1966
Kuzzin Herb Show on KBAK TV, 1963
Merle at Bob's Lucky Spot, 1963
Buck and Bakersfield, 1972 (large article)
Ferlin Husky (large article)
Bonnie Owens at Jamboree, 1970
Haggard, Williams Opry Show, '68
Tommy Collins' New Starday LP. '73
Valley Jamboree, 1955
Red Simpson: (large article)
Don Rich R.I.P.
Kuzzin Herb Anniversary Jamboree
Merle Show, July, 1963
The Ol' Ambassador relaxing at home with Esther and Clementine Marshall. The Boys are Les Paul Standard - American Fender Stratocaster - Ibanez Super Artist.
Trout's Cocktails, Bakersfield, California
Trout's Cocktails in Bakersfield, California. TROUT'S COCKTAILS is a country legend. It is known for its North Bakersfield sound of old time country music. It has a large wooden dance floor and after a few shots of fire water, your feet take over for the night. You can always find the local story tellers, such as the owner, Tom Rockwell who will fill your ear with tales of the past. And when Tom is not around, many of the old locals will fill you in as to why Trout's is the best bar in the world. On many nights, the older country legends will sit in for a set and the music surrounds the room with time long forgotten. One draw back is that there is no food at Trout's, so good drinks, great music and dancing are their main draw. It is the best of the Honky Tonks that remain in the United States. 'Trouts' is something to be experienced so include it as your first stop in Bakersfield, California.
The Lucky Spot
located On Edison Highway in East Bakersfield. I took the picture before they tore the ol' girl down after a fire gutted the interior. This is the club where Merle Haggard got his first job playing lead guitar in band leader Johnny Burnett's band. Johnny told me one night he asked Merle to take over because Johnny needed a rest. Merle said he didn't want to sing but just play guitar but that night he sang and the patrons at the Lucky Spot liked his singing ... and the rest is history ... Glenn J. Pogatchnik
Contributing Artists of The Bakersfield Sound
Including Musicians / Historians
Del and Sue Smart
Rose Lee and Joe Maphis
Larry Daniels & The Buckshots
Al Brumley, Jr.
Maddox Bros. & Rose
Inez & Don Savage
Helen "Peaches" Price
All information, articles and photos shown below are part of our archives
as of September 1, 2011
Sonny Langley R.I.P.
Bakersfield, May 20, 2010 - It has been reported that Sonny has passed away. He will be missed by many ... a great talent!
The Candle Ranch
That Bakersfield Sound web site editor, Glenn J. Pogatchnik, visits with Merle Haggard at "The Hag's" home, September 16, 2005.
Kern County Museum's Website
For those of you wishing to know more about Bakersfield's history the Kern County Museum which is located in Bakersfield has a very in depth website at www.kcmuseum.org. If you click onto Exhibits it will take you to the Bakersfield Sound section which includes articles on many of the artists known as the early pioneers of the Bakersfield Sound.
For those of you visiting Bakersfield, here is a current list of nightclubs showcasing Live Country music:
Buck Owens Crystal Palace
2800 Buck Owens Blvd.
Ethel's Old Corral Cafe
4310 Alfred Harrell Highway
Kern River Belle
100 North Chester Ave.
3745 Rosedale Hwy
117 El Tejon Ave.
805 North Chester (661)399-6700
2700 S. Union Ave.
Backin' Up Buck?
By DR. BRUCE L. THIESSEN aka Dr. B.L.T.
Link to one-song soundtrack to this article:
Backin' Up Buck (words and music by Dr. B.L.T. й2005
"The people of Bakersfield are wonderful. They sang very well!" Ritch Sublett, Producer, CMT (Country Music Television).
Where were you on the night of June 29, 2005? I can proudly proclaim that I was on the streets of Bakersfield backing up Buck Owens on a CMT-video-taped version of the country classic, The Streets of Bakersfield. Notice that I used the term "proudly" with a small, not a capital P. Much to my chagrin, I was one of nearly 200 Buckaroo-wannabes who stood on that same street near the intersection of Sillect Avenue and Buck Owens Boulevard, right next to the Crystal Palace, singing the same song. We were the dewy-eyed desperadoes who answered the call proclaimed in the June 29th edition of the Bakersfield Californian to participate in the creation of a production involving the top twenty country songs based on American cities. The Streets of Bakersfield is right near the top of the list, so I'm told.
The song was originally released on May 14, 1973. But it didn't really catch fire until Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakom (Merle Haggard's replacement) re-recorded the song with a Tex-Mex flavor with on June 17, 1988. It immediately stormed up to number one on the country charts, and ultimately won the duo a Grammy. Needless to say, the song has become a classic's classic. Therein lays the pressure and my concomitant dose of performance anxiety. Would we, the group dubbed, "A new generation of Buckaroos," by the Bakersfield Californian, be able to do justice to such an inviolable standard?
On August 27, 2005 at 7 pm, 8 pm (central), CMT (Country Music Television) airs the show nation-wide, and, if I'm not mistaken, around the world.
In the meantime, I suggest you take the word of CMT producer, Ritch Sublett. He was exceedingly complimentary in his comments to me about the people of Bakersfield, and about our collective performance at the event. More specifically, he said, (and I quote), "The people of Bakersfield are wonderful." When I asked him to appraise our collective performance, he didn't hesitate for a second. "(We) sang very well," he noted confidently. I'm really enjoying this event. I like almost all country music Л especially the stuff with the twang." Mike Bell, Director, Clear Channel Communications Inc.
"I'm really looking forward to this. I want to be on TV." The refreshingly candid comments of Gracie Murdoch, Age 6. I decided it was time to expand my sphere of interaction, so I mingled with the crowd that had slowly gathering in the street. I tried to tap into the existential experience of folks representing a diverse range of ages, occupations, and personality types. Don Jaegar, Bakersfield Convention and Visitor's Bureau president, had just spent nearly two days hanging out with the folks form CMT. He told me how grateful he was to share in this experience. "I'm excited to see the enthusiasm people have, and the respect they all share for Buck Owens, "said Jaegar. This is clearly an historic moment," he added.
Bakersfield resident, Mike Murdoch, said "This is great for the community ... a great way of getting involved." He brought his daughters, Ellie, aged 4, and Gracie, age 6. Little Ellie, was dressed in Western gear and sported a charming, down-home country smile to boot (pun intended). This was not her first moment of glory. She has already made her debut on Direct TV. Her older sister, Gracie, was no stranger to fame and fortune either. Gracie has the distinct honor of having graced the screen on a Hallmark commercial in which she was joined by a bunny rabbit. When asked what she liked most about attending this event, she stated unabashedly: "I really want to be on TV." Now she is somebody I can respect: A candid camera-lover. No hidden motives here. No shame in her self-promotion.
My moments of mingling came to an abrupt end when CMT Producer Ritch Sublett gathered us all together for the big event. Before he arrived we were all roaming aimlessly around the streets of Bakersfield, like bucolic, "Buckaholic" sheep without a shepherd. He skillfully gathered the flock together and turned chaos into continuity, just in time for the grand entrance of Buck Owens, his beautiful wife, and his beautiful signature red-white-and-blue guitar. The rest was historyЛliterally.
We rehearsed a few times with the "aid" of a car stereo. We could have used a louder stereo system, but hey, we're just plain old country folk. We weren't born with silver spoons in our mouths, and we have no sense of entitlement. We took what we could get and fervently attempted to memorize the song, especially the part we were responsible for - the chorus. After a few runs, the CMT cameraman exclaimed from the rooftop of his car, that the session was overЛno more takes were required. Our photo op was over, just like thatЛthe in the fleeting blink of an eye. Well, almost. We had one more chance to make our marks on country music history.
We were given the opportunity to perform again Л this time as individuals or, as duos or small groups. This time it was me who had the unfair advantageЛme and my friend, and fellow band member, Jerry Rothberg. We were told we were not allowed to use a lyrical cheat-sheet. That was our excuse for forgetting the second last line of the first verse. After it became obvious that few of us knew the lyrics to one of our favorite songs, the bar was drastically lowered, and lyrical cheat sheets abounded. Performances varied in terms of confidence and skill levels. For one or two country crooners, this was perhaps the beginning of something very big. I was clearly not among them.
Our hero departed to the tune of a thunderous applause and uproarious chants of Buck, Buck, Buck!!!! The burning sun beat down upon mercilessly as we left the now-conspicuously-starless street. I headed towards the parking lot to dump off my notes. Let it never be said that I don't know how to park. As luck would have it, I had parked right next to, Melanie Fields, CMT Associate Producer, who arrived at her vehicle just in time for me to hit her up for a succinct summary statement. She couldn't have summed up the event any better: "The turn out was great. We were very excited to celebrate the song, the legendary Buck Owens, and the city of Bakersfield."
I grabbed my free CMT T-shirt and made my way into the Crystal Palace. Buck Owens had made history once again. As for the rest of us, we marveled in the fact that we had been extraordinarily blessed that day. We had actually shared the street-stage with one of the greatest pioneers to ever grace the evolving pages of country music history. I never expect to be invited to become a member of The Buckaroos, even in the loosest sense of the term. But here I was, a bona fide, if unofficial and amateurish, member of the back-up band I admired most. I walked out of the Crystal Palace with my head held high and took one more proud walk down The Streets of Bakersfield.
Bruce Thiessen's Interview with Jim Shaw of The Buckaroos
Buck's Legends in Bronze - Click
Left to right: Ferlin Husky - Elvis Presley - Faron Young - Hawkshaw Hawkinsand the gentleman on the right we cannot identify. Ferlin (aka Terry Preston/Simon Crum) has a connection to the Bakersfield Sound because he recorded several hit songs in Hollywood while residing in Bakersfield. He is a native of Missouri. This picture was sent to us courtesy of John Jones from Bakersfield.
Event photos here.
This picture was taken sometime in the mid sixties at a KUZZ radio picnic in Bakersfield. Left to right: Jerry Ward (bass guitar), Bonnie Owens and a dashing young Merle Haggard. In the background to the right is Don Rich. We would like to thank Sonny Langley for sending in this rare photo.
Bill Woods CD
For those of you who are fans of the Bakersfield Sound, here's your chance to own a piece of history by the man who started it all, Bill Woods "The Godfather of The Bakersfield Sound." This is a very rare live recording of Bill performing on the stage of the infamous Blackboard Nightclub in Bakersfield with his friends Don Rich (guitar player for Buck Owens) Don Markham (current sax/trumpet player for Merle Haggard) Fuzzy Owen (who has been Merle's personal manager) and Red "Hello I'm a Truck" Simpson. These two 30 minute shows recorded in 1961-62 are from jam sessions that were held on Sunday afternoons and answer the question I get all the time "Glenn what did the old clubs that spawned the Bakersfield Sound like?"
Here's the best part. We will donate $5.00 of every CD sold to our friend Bob Timmers of the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame who is this "That Bakersfield Sound" website designer. So you not only have the opportunity to own a great CD but help support the web site in the process. Amount: $15.00 cashier's check or Money Order (includes shipping and handling). Payable to: Glenn J. Pogatchnik, 1675 Los Osos Valley Rd., Unit 130, Los Osos, CA 93402
Rare Rockin' Tracks from Bill Woods
Three songs recorded in 1957 are now available on a CD ... and, Buck Owens is pickin' lead guitar! $10.00 cashier's check or Money Order (includes shipping and handling). Payable to: Glenn J. Pogatchnik, 1675 Los Osos Valley Rd., Unit 130, Los Osos, CA 93402
Listen to a song sample.
Note: Bill Woods Rockin' In '57 was mastered by David Eriksen at www.FATnSASSYmastering.com
Kern River Belle Jam, Oct. 10th
Here's a great shot of Sonny Langley with his best buddy Merle Haggard performing on stage at the World Famous Buck Owens Crystal Palace.
Merle and Glenn J. Pogatchnik, August 17, 2004
Photos courtesy of Glenn
More Merle Photos Here
Alan Jackson and Strayhorn Band.
The photo was sent in by Tom Rutledge who plays guitar in the Strayhorn Band. It was taken in a little southern town at an abandoned gas station while shooting the video for the song "Little Man". Tom is that smiling fellow on the very right of the picture. Tom and Bakersfield page editor Glenn Pogatchnik became friends thru their mutual admiration of the late legendary Roy Nichols who played lead guitar in Merle Haggard's band. Tom has a very informative website located at www.tomrutledge.com.
Bakersfield Country Music is alive and well
... despite all predictions by these new fangled city slickers moving into town hell bent on erasing our "hillbilly" image. I've been reading about what those polecats in Nashville are trying to erase the traditional country image too. It's like I told some of these outsiders coming into Bakersfield. "Us Oakies are like cockroaches, It's pretty hard to kill us off." Currently in Oildale which is included in Bakersfield across the Kern River right by where Merle Haggard grew up at 1303 Yosemite there are four true honky tonks thriving and doing quite well thank you. These include the Kern River Belle, The Longbranch, El Tejon Bar and Trout's. Across the river down on Buck Owens Blvd. Buck Owens is packing them in every Friday and Saturday night at his Crystal Palace. Despite all dire predictions that country was dead in Bakersfield Country Music prevails. I am also happy to say there is a massive amount of talent in Bakersfield and many young artists eager to follow in the footsteps of Buck, Merle, Tommy Collins, Bonnie Owens, Ferlin Husky, Jean Shepard, Joe and Rose Lee Maphis, Maddox Bros. & Rose and so on. So all we have to do is wait out these creeps that run the music business and hopefully it will return to true country that the masses crave such as Buddy Jewell of Nashville Star fame. As long as Fender guitar company keeps making Telecasters there will always be Country Music. The kind we like in Bakersfield.
Glenn J. "The Ambassador Of The Bakersfield Sound" Pogatchnik
The Cousin Herb Henson Trading Post TV Show was broadcast live in Bakersfield on KERO Channel 10 from 5:PM TO 5:45 from 1953-1963, when Herb Henson passed away from a fatal heart attack. Bill Woods, Billy Mize and Cousin Herb started this show. The broadcast signal was so powerful that the show could be viewed all the way up in Fresno, 105 miles to the North. It was extremely popular with many famous artists of the day who performed on the show first and then later that evening performed at The Blackboard Nightclub. Bill Woods was the promoter.
Here is an artists rendering of the glory days of the world famous Bakersfield Inn with the Bakersfield Sign connecting the two sections of the Inn crossing over Union Ave. which was the road that travelers entering Bakersfield from the south saw as they traveled thru Bakersfield going north up thru the great San Joaquin Valley. Later Hwy 99 was constructed bypassing all the stoplights and started the demise of the Bakersfield Inn as a travelers favorite reststop as well as many other nightclubs and motels on Union Ave. The Bakersfield Inn has been demolished, and, Buck Owens at a cost of over $175,000, had the Bakersfield Sign dismantled and reconstructed only using the blue letters on his property at the Crystal Palace, a nightclub/museum that he currently owns and operates.
Courtesy: Fatt Katt
The Bakersfield Sound ...
By Jeff Nickell (As appeared in the Spring 2002 issue of the Historic Kern published by the Kern County Historical Society) When people around the country think of Bakersfield they will probably think of its association with country music. More precisely Buck Owens and Merle Haggard may come to mind (as just occurred while I was talking to a client in New Mexico this week). However, the Bakersfield Sound is much more than Owens and Haggard.
Of course, there are many theories on how the Bakersfield Sound developed. Former Oildale resident and retired Sonoma State University professor Gerald Haslam's book Workin' Man Blues indicates one such theory. Haslam states that the Bakersfield Sound grew out of several different styles of music and that performers picked and chose the styles they liked to create their own brand of music. Kurt Wolff of the All Music Guide states that the Bakersfield Sound was marked by the sharp, loud, high-end sound of the electric and steel guitars, fiddles, and lead and harmony vocals influenced by rock and roll and rockabilly as well as traditional country.а This was a direct contrast with the production style of the Nashville Sound, at the time filling the country airwaves with crooning voices, lush string arrangements, and background choruses. The Bakersfield Sound was a reaction to the early ('50s and) '60s sweetening of country music epitomized by the Nashville Sound. Country Roots on a Budget Collection indicates that Bakersfield music was, by comparison, rawer, twangier and rocked more than just a little.
аа One of the established facts, no matter whom you talk to, is that the Bakersfield Sound was created in the honk tonks.а Performers such as Cousin Herb Henson, Bill Woods, Billy Mize, Oscar Whittington, Eugene Moles, Jelly Sanders, Johnny Cuevelo, and a host of others crafted their trades within the smoke-filled honky tonks in and around Bakersfield.а The Blackboard Cafщ, Bob's Lucky Spot, the Rainbow Gardens, the Pumpkin Center Barn Dance, the Beardsley Ballroom, the Clover Club, Tex's Barrel House, Trout's, and a number of other establishments offered music seven nights a week.а This provided enjoyment for the patrons, but more importantly allowed the musicians to hone their skills.
аThe influence of the performers on one another should not be discarded. Owens and Haggard are household names, but what made their careers was a drive to succeed, talent, and the ability to work with and learn from others.а Haggard would not have enjoyed the success he has earned without the likes of Fuzzy Owen, Bonnie Owens, and Lewis Talley.а Likewise, Buck Owens rise to fame includes associations with Don Rich, Bonnie Owens, Bill Woods, Red Si, and Rose Maddox.
аThe migration of the Okies to California in the 1930s and 1940s is really where the Bakersfield Sound started. "The (Bakersfield) music was simple but powerful, played by simple-living people who had to leave their farms to come west," said Tommy Collins, an Oklahoma native who wrote his first hit songs after moving to Bakersfield in 1951. "There's quite a history to the camaraderie that developed between those Dust Bowl people. They weren't apt to go for fancy music."а Not all of the musicians who fueled and fostered the Bakersfield Sound were actually the children of those itinerant dirt farmers, but many of them were - and every last one of them, poor or not, understood that sort of life and that sort of desperation. Legendary guitar player Eugene Moles indicated that the Bakersfield Sound was formed from many phases of singular parts and that no one person can really take sole credit for coming up with the sound.а Moles adds that the sound, to the best of his recollections, started in 1949/1950.а He remembers piano player George French (whom he said was the ultimate professional), Billy Mize, Fuzzy Owen, Lewis Talley, Tex Butler, and Bill Woods as leaders of the movement.а It should be noted that the Bakersfield Sound was driven by the piano, steel guitar, and of course the Telecaster guitar.
аWhen asked about the Bakersfield Sound, Jimmy Phillips said, "it had a simple sound ... to me it was simple ... they did a-lot of playing behind the vocalist ... it had a busier sound ... instruments filled behind the vocalist ... complimenting the vocalist."а Phillips, who played drums on several records and performed on KERO-TV's The Jimmy Thomason Show, agreed with Eugene Moles that the Bakersfield Sound got its' start in 1949 or 1950.а He added that Bill Woods was at the forefront of the movement and that Woods is known as the "Father of the Bakersfield Sound."
аBill Woods, originally from Denison, Texas, came to the San Joaquin Valley at the age of 16.а By the age of 26, Woods was the bandleader at the Blackboard Cafщ.а During that ten-year interval he lived in Arvin, Woodlake, and Richmond (during the war) playing guitar and singing at church and performing in local bands.а His big break came in the late 1940s when he was hired by former Bob Wills vocalist Tommy Duncan to play piano and fiddle.а Tommy Hays, a guitarist and bandleader who still plays in Bakersfield, once said that Bill Woods could darn near play anything including keyboards, guitar, and fiddle.а Woods was a key factor in many performers careers including Buck Owens, Ferlin Husky, and Cousin Herb Henson among others.
аThe Bakersfield Sound, although resoundingly popular in Bakersfield and Kern County, became notable throughout the Central Valley and Los Angeles as performers began to spend time playing in those areas.а It is important to note that these areas already had country music and much of the same type of music was being played as it was in Bakersfield.а Again, the influence of performers on each other is significant.а Further widening the popularity was the session work being done in Los Angeles recording studios.а Some of the notable instrumentalists were Eugene Moles, Buck Owens, Jimmy Phillips, Bill Woods, Oscar Whittington, and Roy Nichols.а In fact, Moles was such a talent that Nashville guitar pickers starting copying his style.а Moles, however, never achieved the success of Nichols because he was unwilling to tour and leave his family behind.а In fact, Moles turned down a multi-year contract with Capitol Records.а Nichols, on the other hand, performed with such legendary stars as Lefty Frizzell, Wynn Stewart, and finally for twenty-two years with Merle Haggard.
аAnother reason for the popularity of the Bakersfield Sound was radio and television.а KUZZ radio broadcast could be heard up and down the San Joaquin Valley.а Meanwhile, Cousin Herb and his Trading Post Gang could be seen every week on KERO-TV.а Folks tuned in even from the Central Coast and Fresno to watch the show.а The guest talent on the Trading Post Gang was every bit as good as what Nashville was producing at the time.а Entertainers such as Joe and Rose Lee Maphis, Dallas Frazier, and Barbara Mandrell performed on the show and for some it was their springboard to stardom.а Cousin Herb Henson hosted the show for ten years until his untimely death at the age of 39 on November 26, 1963.а I have long argued that the Bakersfield Sound would have been much more popular if Cousin Herb had lived longer.а This, of course, may or may not be true.
аBut, Henson's replacement was a success in his own right.а Billy Mize began playing on KBAK's The Chuck Wagon Gang in the 1950s with Cliff Crofford.а He had already begun performing on the Trading Post Gang when Cousin Herb had his fatal heart attack.а Mize then took over as host of the show.а In fact, Mize also hosted Gene Autry's Melody Ranch for a number of years.а For two years, he even hosted both shows racking up over 3,000 miles per week driving between Bakersfield and Los Angeles.а Billy Mize won the Academy of Country Music's TV Personality of Year from 1965-1967.а Mize recorded for Columbia, Decca, United Artists, Zodiac and other record labels.а However, he like many of the Bakersfield Sound crowd was an excellent songwriter.а Vern Gosdin reached #1 on the country music charts with Just Enough to Keep Me Hangin' On, a song credited to Mize.а Dean Martin also recorded three of his songs including Terrible Tangled Web.
Songwriting is an important part of the Bakersfield Sound equation.а The poetic writings matched with the instrumentation are what made it a success.а One songwriter that cannot go unmentioned is Dallas Frazier.а Frazier is thought of as one of the all-time great songwriters having composed songs that have been hits in several genres.а He got his start at a children's talent show in 1952 that was hosted by Ferlin Husky.а From that point, he became a member of Husky's band, and began appearing on Cousin Herb's Trading Post Gang.а It was from that association that he learned to play guitar being taught his first chords by another band member, Tommy Collins.а Frazier, who spent most of his career working in Nashville, wrote hits such as Alley Oop, There Goes My Everything, and Elvira.а Artists such as Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, Eddy Arnold, Willie Nelson, The Beach Boys, Charley Pride, and George Jones recorded his songs.а In 1976, Frazier was named Country Music Songwriter of the Year.а He has also been inducted into the National Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
With all that being said, the impact of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard on country music is historic.а Both are prolific songwriters in addition to their musical talents.а The success of the two is evident in the fact that the American Country Countdown included both in the top ten artists of the century.а Haggard came in third and Owens was tenth (based on number of weeks the artists had songs on the charts compiled by Billboard Magazine).а Think about that for a moment ... only two country music performers in the history of country music have had more weeks on the charts than Merle Haggard.а Together they have more than sixty number one records, and that is only counting the songs they performed.
аTo be quite honest, there is so much to the Bakersfield Sound that it can only be summarized in an article such as this.а Maybe sometime in the future another article can expand upon the rich history of Bakersfield's version of country music.
WORTH A CLICK:
36 HOURS In Bakersfield, Calif by Marc Weingarten.
Worth a Click ...
THE MERLE YEARS. By STEVEN MAYER, Californian staff writer e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Complete selection of Merle Haggard souvenirs.
Click here: MPL Communications MPL Communications Links
[The Rockabilly Hall of Fame is proud to be linked to this Paul McCartney web site]
Pure Country Music Greats
Click here: National Reso-Phonic Guitars, Builders of Fine Brass, Steel and Wood Body Resophonic Guitars, and Ukuleles.
Click here: Country Legends Association
Click here: Mark Chesnutt
John Paul Jones
Buck Owens' Crystal Palace
West Coast Playboys
The Western Connection
"The Blackboard" Free Paper
The Dusk Devils - Band Photos
Fatt Katt and the VonZippers
Welcome to Howells House
Traditional Country Hall of Fame
Rockabilly Hall of Fameо
Tribute Page to Bill Woods
THE "BAKERSFIELD SIGN"
TOP: the famous Bakersfield sign on Union Ave that greeted millions as they traveled from LA through the great San Joaquin Valley in the '80s photo. Much thanks to Buck Owens for having the sign saved and brought to his Crystal Palace where it was reconstructed and refurbished for all to enjoy.
BOTTOM: The Bakersfield Sign as it stands today in front of Buck Owens Crystal Palace ... once named Pierce Rd., now renamed Buck Owens Blvd.
(above photos: Glenn Pogatchnik)
You know a question I get asked quite often from readers all over the world is "Glenn if I visit Bakersfield is there anywhere I can experience first hand a nightclub reminiscent of the old days of the Bakersfield Sound? "Well folks here are four taverns (Longbranch Saloon, Trout's Nightclub, Tejon Tavern and The Kern River Belle) in Oildale right across the Kern River from Bakersfield in Oildale that mimick that experience. The best part is that you don't have to worry about getting the &*((&$ kicked out of you like yesteryear. Incidentally Oildale is where Merle Haggard grew up. You can visit his old house at 1303 Yosemite. Like my old friend Bill Woods said, "I think they should change the name from Oildale to Merledale." - Glenn Pogatchnik
"That Bakersfield Sound" audio clip courtesy of RED KILBY
Ron & Glenn Pogatchnik Rockin' Out.
E-mail: Glenn Pogatchnik - Phone 805-528-6144