Classic Nuggets: Buck Owens, “Tiger by the Tail”

It is the League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR) weekend in Phoenix, and that means time with my bestest industry friends.

Later today I will see fellow Remnant Steve Moyer, but for the most part this week I have been traipsing from ballpark-to-ballpark with my running buddy Steve Gardner.

Steve and I always have so much to talk about: baseball, food, and especially music.

As we ate breakfast the other morning, we were talking about country and alt-country, and I remembered this anecdote from my youth.

When I was eight or so–so this is 1960-61–and was a cub scout, our little pack got tickets to the local NBC affiliate’s Saturday afternoon variety show. Remember that at that time there were just three TV networks, and nothing like cable. In fact I am not sure if PBS had a presence as of yet.

I remember the show was hosted by the news anchor, who also hosted the kids Saturday morning/weekday afternoon kids cartoon show, along with that variety thing (which was that period’s time of local cable access filler).

Well, when I was in the audience, the musical guest was Buck Owens, and he sang his new hit, Tiger by the Tail.

It was just Buck, though he surely had a shiny suit and flashy guitar (at least to an eight-year old), so no Buckaroos. And, I am pretty sure Buck had an electric (not as cool as the metalflake vintage Tele being played below) but was not plugged into anything.

Furthermore, this was my first exposure to lip syncing, in its most rudimentary form.

On the floor, in one corner of the little studio, was a little plug-in Admiral, much like the phonograph we had at home, and someone dropped the .45 single on the turntable at the right time, dropped the tone arm, turned up the volume, and the race was on (ok, George Jones reference) so to speak.

Funny how we remember. Before Buck was big stuff, for sure.


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