Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Classic Recording Sessions - On This Date (3/19)

Buck Owens & Rose Maddox - 50 years ago
Tuesday, March 19, 1963 (1:00 pm - 4:00 pm)
Capitol Recording Studios, 1750 N. Vine St., Hollywood, CA
Buck Owens: vocal/guitar • Rose Maddox: vocal • John Calvin "Cal" Maddox: guitar • Don Rich: guitar/fiddle • 
Jay McDonald: pedal steel guitar • "Gentleman" Jim Pierce: piano • Kenny Pierce: bass • Ken Presley: drums
Producer: Ken Nelson

As mentioned in yesterday's post, this is the second and last session by the duet team of Buck Owens & Rose Maddox. They were a great, but short-lived duo that only recorded eight masters - four released over two singles, two originally unissued, and two thought to be lost (or as I prefer to think of them - yet to be found). Rose recalled, "Buck called me and asked me if I would like to do a duet session with him, and of course, I was in the top ten, and it wasn't gonna hurt me one bit, it was gonna do me good. He said he had asked Wanda Jackson and she said absolutely no, and asked a couple of other girl singers and they told him no. So he asked me and I said 'Sure, I'll do it.'" It's not really clear why they made so few recordings together. Their first release (see below) "Mental Cruelty" c/w "Loose Talk" was a reasonably big hit with both sides charting at #8 & #4 respectively. So after that kind of success, it's a little bewildering as to why they waited over two years for another session together. One possible reason they didn't continue after this last session is that Buck had a pretty significant change in approach during this time. Exactly one week before this session on March 11, "Act Naturally," Buck's first record featuring his new "freight train" sound, was released and would be his first #1 hit by the time the songs from today's session were released. Also, this second duet record didn't fare as well as the first, though both sides charted again ("We're The Talk Of The Town" at #15 and "Sweethearts In Heaven" at #19). Whatever the reason they decided not to continue, I'm very glad we have the six tracks that we have (though it's tempting to consider what "Mental Cruelty" would have sounded like with Wanda Jackson!).
Rose's brother Cal and session piano player "Gentleman" Jim Pierce from yesterday's session join Buck's current edition of the Buckaroos for today's recordings. Three of the four songs from this session were also written or co-written by Buck. "Sweethearts In Heaven" had already been recorded twice by Buck - once as his fourth and last single for Pep Records in 1956, and again with The Buckaroos at their previous session on Valentine's Day 1963. Buck also returned to this song later in his career, recording a new version in 1972 for his In The Palm Of Your Hand album, another duet version with Susan Raye in 1973, and again for his 1988 comeback album Hot Dog! There's no other song in Buck's canon that he made six records on, so clearly, this is a song that meant a lot to him. Buck & Rose's version was the only charting one, so I guess this is the "hit" version. We're also quite fortunate to have the two outtakes from today's session. Let's hope that someday the two outtakes from the first session surface. For now, we have six tracks by them that I enjoy immensely! I hope you do as well...

And as an added bonus (quickly becoming a new trend around here), since there are only two other songs available by Buck and Rose, I'm going to post them here as well. So, here is the entire recorded output of Buck Owens & Rose Maddox!

Monday, January 16, 1961 (1:30 pm - 4:30 pm)
Capitol Recording Studios, 1750 N. Vine St., Hollywood, CA
Buck Owens: vocal/guitar • Rose Maddox: vocal • Don Rich: fiddle • Ralph Mooney: pedal steel guitar • George French, Jr.: piano • Al Williams: bass • Pee Wee Adams: drums
Producer: Ken Nelson

Monday, March 18, 2013

Classic Recording Sessions - On This Date (3/18)

Rose Maddox - 50 years ago
Monday, March 18, 1963 (1:30 pm - 5:30 pm)
Capitol Recording Studios, 1750 N. Vine St., Hollywood, CA
Rose Maddox: vocal • John Calvin "Cal" Maddox: guitar/vocal • Joe Maphis: guitar/fiddle • Roy Nichols: guitar • Ralph Mooney: pedal steel guitar • "Gentleman" Jim Pierce: piano •  Lawrence B. Wooten: bass • Gwynn M. Nichols: drums • Henry K. Vernon: unknown
Producer: Ken Nelson

50 years ago today, Rose Maddox entered the Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California to record these four songs. Rose didn't exactly set the world on fire during her time at Capitol, but she had a run of 14 Billboard charting hits from 1959 to 1964 and made some great sides. Two of those 14 hits were recorded at this session: "Down To The River" and "Somebody Told Somebody" - both #18 hits in 1963. "Down To The River" and "I Don't Hear You" are both Buck Owens compositions. Buck didn't play on these sessions, but they were, of course, duet partners at the time. In fact, Rose's very next session the following day was her second and last duet session with Buck. But we do have Joe Maphis (doubling on fiddle) and Roy Nichols on guitar - two of the west coast's finest players. Roy Nichols had a long history with Rose, playing as a teenager with The Maddox Brothers & Rose as his first professional gig. After subsequent stints with Lefty Frizzell, Cousin Herb Henson, and Wynn Stewart, Roy, as we all know, went on to be longtime lead guitarist with Merle Haggard & The Strangers. It all adds up to some great, spunky recordings by Rose Maddox & company that I find thoroughly enjoyable. I hope you enjoy them too...

As an added bonus, we also have a wonderful live version of "Down To The River" that was recorded at the Bakersfield Civic Auditorium as part of the Cousin Herb Henson Trading Post show. The song was released on an album of the show called Country Music Hootenanny. Rose's latest duet recording with Buck was in the charts at the time this was recorded on September 12, 1963, but this was her most recent solo hit. A couple months after this show, "Somebody Told Somebody" hit the charts. Hope you enjoy this bonus track...