Under The Influence Of Buck

The Derailers

Palo Duro, 2007


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


There comes a time in every young man’s life when he gets over his desire to be cool and realizes that honky-tonk music is just a whole hell of a lot of fun. Mine occurred about six years ago, and I’ve never looked back.

So it was with much anticipation that I looked forward to the new album from Austin’s The Derailers, Under The Influence Of Buck. This CD is a tribute to the band’s greatest influence, the Bakersfieldmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 sound of Buck Owens. The Derailers were the house band at Owens’ 70th birthday party, and I have to admit they have an uncanny ability to nail the sound and feel of Owens’ work perfectly; Owens’ work in stripping down country and honky-tonk to its essentials has been a major influence in American music.

Before Owens, country music was lost in a morass of sweet strings and easy listening influences, afterwards, it returned to its roots. (Just a side note: apparently someone has to come in and remind country music about every twenty years that it’s not supposed to sound like soft rock. As soon as I find out who’s responsible, I say we go smack ‘em around.)

However, this isn’t just a vanity project or a cover band festival. Instead, it’s a joyous and wide-ranging musical celebration of all things Owens. The CD has a tight, intimate sound reminiscent of playing in small, smoky roadhouses; the vocals and guitar take center stage, and Under The Influence is straightforward and a delight. The Derailers cover all of Buck’s better known songs -- “Together Again,” “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail,” “Cryin’ Time” -- but they also wander through some less-mapped territory with songs like “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” from Owens’ late-sixties experimental work. Add in the raucous, foot-stomping fun of songs like “Foolin’ Around” and “Love’s Gonna Live Here” and you’ve got a musical good time.

One of the last tracks on Under The Influence Of Buck is “Johnny B. Goode,” a reminder of Owens’ belief that country and rockabilly were close relatives. This humble reviewer agrees, and wishes more musicians would remember just that. The Derailers certainly do, and that’s why Under The Influence of Buck is a damned fine CD and a damned good time.

Rating: A

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© 2007 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Palo Duro, and is used for informational purposes only.