Saturday, August 23, 2008

Important Links:

Important Links:
Oildale Love Song, Hank Ray with Fiddle player:
Hank’s Haunted House:
Bakersfield Sound Blog-spot:
Bakersfield sound, not Hanks..:

Lloyd article:

Hank Ray’s Journal:
BLT Ant Song, With Hank on lead guitar:

Hank Ray’s “Myspace” with six songs:

Bakersfield Soundweb site, Not Hank’s site:

Song about Hank Ray by BLT. Lead guitar by Hank:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

BUCK OWENS joins Texas Country Hall of Fame

"Buck Owens, Mickey Newbury, The Whites join Texas Country Hall of Fame
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 – Buck Owens, Mickey Newbury and The Whites will join the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in an induction ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 16 in Carthage, Texas.

Ralph Emery will serve as special guest emcee. Other inductees that evening will be legendary country star Buck Owens and influential singer-songwriter Mickey Newbury. In addition to tributes to each honoree, The Whites will perform some of their own country and bluegrass music."(CST)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008




Hank Ray in front of KUZZ truck

John Owens signing autographs

Auto owned by KUZZ radio

Hank Ray with sheriff Donny Youngblood

Hank Ray with Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Dr. BLT with Buddy Allen Owens.

Buddy Owens with Hank Ray

John Owens with Mike



Buck Owens Post Office unwrapped on Buck's birthday
By JOE BOESEN, Californian staff writer | Tuesday, Aug 12 2008 3:01 PM

Last Updated: Tuesday, Aug 12 2008 2:53 PM
The Minner Station Post Office in Oildale was officially renamed “Buck Owens Post Office” Tuesday — the same day as the late country singer’s birthday. Several hundred people gathered in the morning to celebrate the man who made Bakersfield famous.
Under a white tent at 118 Minner Ave., Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, Owens’ sons Buddy, Mike and John, along with his nephew Mel Owens, unveiled a plaque in Owens’ honor.
“Dad would’ve been really, very proud,” said Buddy Owens before the plaque was revealed. “My dad loved Bakersfield and he loved the fact that his name was attached to it.”
Those in attendance sang “Happy Birthday” to Owens before the sheet was lifted to show the plaque.
Bakersfield Postmaster James Brouillard and McCarthy also gave speeches about Owens and his impact on the city.
“The post office is an important part of people’s lives and Buck was an important part of Bakersfield,” Brouillard said.
McCarthy commented that passing the bill to get the post office renamed for Buck Owens was a time of great partisanship in Congress.
“If we could continue with that spirit on other legislation, we would be a lot better off,” he said to laughter from the audience.
Buck Owens Post Office is about a block from Buck Owens Production Co. and the studio where Owens spent almost 20 years recording later in his career. The post office is also where he sent his sons to respond to fan mail.
“We licked a lot of stamps at the office,” Buddy said.
After revealing the plaque, the ceremony moved inside where the Owens family cut his birthday cake.
"If Buck saw the post office named after him," his nephew Mel Owens said, “He would’ve said ‘Wow, I did something right along the way to get such an honor.’”
The Owens family donated Buck Owens memorabilia to hang in the lobby. The office was also rehabbed by the United States Postal Service before the ceremony.
Those attending the ceremony remembered Owens as a giving man and an excellent entertainer.
“I would see him at Hodel’s,” said Oildale resident Alice Brown, whose children went to school with Owens’ sons. “He just seemed like a regular guy.”
Hank Decato knew Owens as a great song writer and entertainer.
“He did so much for Bakersfield and never got credit. He didn’t want the credit,” he said. “He helped so many people down on their luck and nobody knew because he kept it quiet.”

Hank Ray with Bakersfield Royal Family Part 3

Hank Ray with Congressman Kevin McCarthy, a fourth-generation Kern County resident, was elected in November 2006 to represent the 22nd District of California in the United States House of Representatives. Taken at the Buck Owens post office unveiling in Oildale, California August 2008.


About Kevin

"Congressman Kevin McCarthy, a fourth-generation Kern County resident, was elected in November 2006 to represent the 22nd District of California in the United States House of Representatives.

McCarthy is focused on representing the people of the 22nd District and the wide array of interests in his district. The 22nd District of California includes fertile agricultural lands in the Central Valley and the Central Coast, rich energy resources, strong military facilities, and growing communities.

McCarthy serves on the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees our country’s investment companies, banks, savings and loans, credit unions, insurance industry, and housing services. On the Committee, McCarthy is working to put in place new and innovative ideas to help ensure our financial policies help America’s innovators and families realize their dreams and can access many opportunities to achieve growth and prosperity.

As a former member of the House Agriculture Committee and House Natural Resources Committee, McCarthy actively engages in policies under these committees’ jurisdiction. McCarthy remains committed to an agricultural policy that levels the playing field so American farm products can compete in the global marketplace. Additionally, McCarthy is actively looking at new ways our country can reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and updating our outdated water infrastructure in California.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy Speaking with Californians of the 22nd District

In his first month in Congress, McCarthy was one of only three Republicans appointed by House Republican Leader John Boehner to serve on the House Administration Committee. He was also selected to serve as an Assistant Whip on the House Republican Whip Team. Finally, McCarthy was named to the powerful House Republican Steering Committee, which controls the committee assignments of House Republican members. His rapid ascension into leadership roles has not gone unnoticed – a Capitol Hill newspaper selected McCarthy as one of its “rising stars” in the 110th Congress and a few months later, a leading news magazine characterized Congressman McCarthy as a “young-gun” and dubbed him “the strategist” among three up and coming leaders in the House.

Congressman McCarthy was born in Bakersfield, California. Before his 21st birthday, McCarthy successfully opened and operated a small business, Kevin O’s Deli. Owning a small business gave McCarthy important experience about the difficulties that entrepreneurs face from burdensome regulations and onerous taxes. After selling his business and finishing his undergraduate degree and Masters in Business Administration at California State University, Bakersfield, McCarthy worked for former Congressman Bill Thomas, and successfully won his first election in 2000 as Trustee to the Kern Community College DistrictCongressman Kevin McCarthy and Family

In 2002, McCarthy was elected to represent the 32nd Assembly District in the California State Assembly. As a freshman legislator, he was selected unanimously by his Republican colleagues to serve as the Assembly Republican Leader, becoming the first freshman legislator and the first legislator from Kern County to assume the top post. In this leadership role, McCarthy worked with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrat leaders in the state Assembly and Senate to address critical state issues, such as reducing California’s budget deficit, overhauling the state worker’s compensation system, and enhancing California’s poor business climate to create more opportunities for California workers and businesses."

Hank Ray with Bakersfield Royal Family Part 2

Hank Ray with Buddy Allen Owens (Buck Owens's son. This photo was taken by BLT at the Buck Owens post office unveiling in August of 2008.

"Singer, songwriter and guitarist Buddy Alan, born Alvis Alan Owens, is the son of country legends Buck and Bonnie Owens. While growing up in Bakersfield, California, he listened to country and rock & roll and formed his first rock band, the Chosen Few, at the age of 14. He switched to country music by his late teens and in 1965 moved to Arizona with his mother and her new husband Merle Haggard. That year he also sang for the first time at one of his father's Christmas concerts.

Buddy Alan's first single, a duet with Buck called "Let the World Keep on a Turnin'," was released by Capitol in 1968 and made it to the Top Ten. That same year, he also recorded his first solo single, "When I Turn Twenty One," written by stepfather Haggard; this one made it to the Top 60. By 1969, Alan had spent a summer touring with the Buck Owens Show and was working at a country music nightclub. That year he released two more singles and also recorded his first album, Wild, Free and Twenty One. He then joined his father's All American Show and continued touring the country. His popularity grew, and he starred in his own shows and made regular appearances as a soloist and musician on Hee Haw for the next seven years. Alan again made it to the charts in 1970 with the single "Santo Domingo." In late 1970, he and Buckaroo lead guitarist Don Rich recorded the popular "Cowboy Convention," and Alan was named Most Promising Male Artist by the ACM. From 1971-1975, Alan continued to release modestly successful singles. Alan was signed to Capitol Records for eight years, but despite his initial promise as a performer, he never made it to the big time. Alan left the music business in 1978 to attend college in Arizona. He then went back to radio as Buddy Alan Owens and became the music director at two local stations in Tempe, Arizona. He was voted Billboard's Music Director of the Year four years running during the late '80s and early '90s. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Music Guide"

Hank Ray with Bakersfield Royal Family Part 1

Hank Ray with Bakersfield Royal Family Part 1

Hank Ray with Kern County (Bakersfield) Sheriff Donny Youngblood. I met Sheriff Youngblood at the unavailingly of the Buck Owens post office. Photo by Dr. BLT.

"Sheriff Donny Youngblood is a life-long native of Kern County. He attended East and West High Schools, and graduated from Bakersfield College.

He enlisted in the United States Army in 1968, serving 14 months in South Vietnam. Following his return stateside, he spent his last year in the military as an Army Drill Sergeant preparing young men to defend the United States of America. He left the military service in 1971.

Sheriff Youngblood joined the Kern County Sheriff’s Department in 1972 as a Correctional Officer assigned to the Lerdo Facility. Two years later, he entered the Basic Academy to begin training to become a Deputy Sheriff.

During his 30-year career with the Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Youngblood worked in all areas of the department, promoting to the rank of Commander by the time of his retirement in 2002. His duty assignments included the Patrol Division, Court Services, Narcotics, Boron Substation, East Kern Substations Commander, Watch Commander, Air Support Division Commander, and Detectives.

Along the way, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Administration of Justice in 1982, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University in 1983. He is a 1986 alumni of the 144th class of the FBI National Academy, and is also a 1989 graduate of the POST Command College Class X.

Following his retirement in 2002, Sheriff Youngblood held the position of Vice-President of Sonitrol in Bakersfield, California. After a campaign fought on the issues of leadership and experience, the citizens of Kern County elected him to the Office of Sheriff-Coroner in 2006.

Sheriff Youngblood holds a commercial pilot’s license with instrument and multi-engine ratings. In addition to flying, he is an avid golfer, hunter and horseman."

Thursday, August 7, 2008


The world famous Buck Owens Crystal Palace

Article by Hank Ray. Photos of Buck Shot by Hank Ray: Crystal Palace and Buck Owens photos courtesy of Crystal Palace. Buck Shot logo courtesy of Buck Shot. Group photo by Dr. BLT.


All afternoon I have been anticipating the night’s entertainment at the Crystal Palace. I was excited about hearing a new band that has generated more than a little excitement here in Bakersfield.

Buck Owens, the founding father of the Bakersfield sound.

As I pointed out in a recent issue of Bakotopia : “The name of the band is “Buckshot” and they are locked and loaded, fully loaded for Buck. In fact, one of the lead singers is John Owens, son of the late Buck Owens.
John has been a hard working ranch hand and foreman on the Owens’ Horse Ranch for most of his life; and is the quintessential “American cowboy.”

He is a caricature of the West — he speaks in a direct manner, and is reserved with facial expression and tone. When we first met, I couldn’t help reflecting on the Western movie classic, “Tombstone” when the character Mr. Fabian states to Josephine Marcus, “You’ve set your gaze upon the quintessential frontier type. Note the lean silhouette ... eyes closed by the sun, though sharp as a hawk. He’s got the look of both predator and prey.”

Ranch hand turned country singer, John Owens.

John Owens has none of the attributes of a musician, save one: He has a voice bestowed on him by his father.

In addition to John’s extraordinary voice, the band is the perfect mix of talent. Meeting the band was much like the David Allen Coe song, “Desperado’s Waiting on a Train.”

Buckshot is a group of friends who like to hang out together. One day at the beach they discovered John had the “Owens gift.” Rhythm guitarist, David Allen, started his music career when he got out of the Navy. David, like the rest of the band are hardcore Bakersfield born and bred, and most are relatives of country royalty.

David Allen just before the show

David Allen rips it up on stage at the Crystal Palace!

But despite their country roots, all the band members came from an assortment of local heavy metal bands that have been shaking the walls of Bakersfield for the last decade.

When I asked David to describe Buck Shot’s music, he relaxed his arms over his guitar, turned his head toward the band and said, “We got a bunch of rock guys with an old school country guy, so it’s going to have an almost Southern rock edge.”

Simon Faughn, as John Owens points out, is as far from country in appearance as a person could be — shaved head, Mr. Spock side burns, and two sleeve tattoos down his arms. Simon has played in many local metal bands over the years. In fact, he is also concurrently in a popular band called 800 lb. Gorilla. And where does an 800-lb. gorilla sleep? Any where he wants to — even the world famous Buck Owens Ranch!

Simon, relaxes just before the show.

Simon warms up at the Buck Owens Ranch Studio.

Simon went on to describe his musical influences with Buckshot …

“Once we start writing our own music, that’s when our real distinctive sound will emerge, and our roots will shine through. Hank III is my absolute favorite. The influential roots I pull from go way back. I like that old boondocks, hillbilly, redneck sound, I LOVE THAT!”

Mike Martin holds down the lead guitar, backup vocals, and sports a red, white, and blue Fender Telecaster in the tradition of Buck Owens, whose songs they cover so well. Mike screeches and twangs like the old masters, and I am sure Buck would approve. His vocal high notes are reminiscent of Buck’s old partner in rhyme, Don Rich.

Mike Martin shreds the Telecaster as Buck Shot's lead guitarist
Like most of the band, Mike’s family was also involved in the early Bakersfield music scene. His grandfather is the great Lloyd Reading.

The rhythm section of Buckshot is comprised of DD Boutros, bass; and Colby Swank, drums. They too are products of the local metal scene and sharpened their chops in local head banging homeboys, “Myndsick.”

(upper) DD Boutros slaps out the rhythm on bass for Buck Shot at Crystal Palace. (Lower) DD warms up at Buck Owens Ranch Studio.

Colby and DD create a wall of driving sound that sets the canvas for what is sure to be called a “new Bakersfield sound” masterpiece!”(Hank Ray, Aug. 7, 2008; Page 9).

Colby Swank on the Palace stage, pounds out the time

Colby Swank and step father Mark Yeary

Since, I first met the band at the Buck Owens Ranch; Mark Yeary was added on keyboard. Mark has been keyboardist for Merle Haggard for over 20 years and is drummer, Colby’s step father.

Mark Yearly has been keyboardist for Merle Haggard and more for over 20 years

David Allen, rhythm guitarist, whom started his music career when he got out of the Navy, plays a beautiful flamed Fender Telecaster. The Fender Telecaster is the guitar that defined the original “Nashville West” rebellion decades before, note that many “Bakersfield sound” pioneers consider the “N.W.” word a bad thing; “Bakersfield has nothing to do with Nashville” . David, like all the members of the band are hard core Bakersfield born and bred, most are relatives of country royalty but they all kept it pretty close to the vest.

I had been watching the clock when the hands finely landed at on 4:30 P.M; I climbed in the old car and pulled out of the driveway, rolling down the sweltering one hundred degree Bakersfield streets, rolling along with dust and discarded cigarette butts, paper plates and cups passing the very resting place of Buck Owens on Panama Lane and the 99 free way in South West Bakersfield. Once I hit the 99 it was only a matter of minutes until I hit Buck Owens Blvd. , the off ramp leads right into the Crystal Palace. When my wife and adult son pulled up in the rear parking area of the Crystal Palace, between the KUZZ radio station and the actual Palace, there was already a steady stream of patrons heading toward the front entrance of the venue. I leapt from the car and headed for the front door just before I hit the board walk I caught the figure of the band exciting from a rear door. John Owens exited first followed closely by his “country-metal hybrid compadres”. The guys informally gathered around the small lawn just outside the rear of the Palace. I sensed some adrenaline induced tension and perhaps even a little pre-stage apprehension. However, Mike, the lead guitarist, said he had played so many shows with other bands that he was fairly composed. It seemed to that the focus of their conscious minds were on the upcoming task at hand, they probably didn’t even know I was there. Not only was the band playing a world famous venue for the first time, but it was a trial, a test and perhaps even reckoning of sorts. John Owens was, in effect, being handed his father’s sword. In addition it was a trial by fire, it the show is up to the high standard of the Crystal Palace the act will go on to the world famous Buck Owens Birthday Bash next week, and if not the trip is over. This is a lot of pressure by anyone’s standards.

Above; Buck-Shot just before the show, on the back lawn of the Crystal Palace.

I took a couple photos during the pre-show ritual on the back lawn and then the band started heading west, following John like marching soldiers over the wooden planks of the boardwalk, boots clanking like the scene from “High Noon” with Gary Cooper. There is no sound as prepatory for a country music event as workin’ cow boots on the rustic wooden boards of the Palace walk. We walked at a fair gate toward the front door, a quick left turn and the large oak door with crystal glass was being held open by John Owens himself, until we all got inside.

John Owens holds the door open for band members and fans alike.

Once inside the foyer one sees a beautiful lacquered wooden floor, above is a giant mural of the dustbowl migration that fades into the work camp days of the Bakersfield sound and beyond.

The Crystal Palace Mural (above).

To the left of the front entrance is a full length glass case filled with historic memorabilia critiquing the live and amazing career of the father of the Bakersfield sound; Buck Owens. To the right is a full length of the room counter which houses the museum store and cashier. It is reminiscent of the old wooden bars from the old westerns and Bakersfield’s own “Black Board” days.
Walking in the direction of the bar/ concert hall we weaved through the forest- maize of renowned figures, like great pillars in an ancient palace, larger than life bronze statues adorn the front foyer and also into the front section of the concert all the way from Hank Sr. to Elvis. Once inside the wall are cover with well lighted glass museum cases and historic photos and memorabilia all with amazingly detailed western salon architecture, similar to Knott’s Berry Farm or Disneyland. Once inside John quickly turned to enter the back stage area, and poof, my camera flash went off in his face! Not only did he get a bad case of “retinal burn,” but I think I had got on his last nerve, so I backed off a bit.
The rest of the band headed to the back of the theater and took up positions on the rear lower bar. They mounted up on them bar stools like their favorite ponies and ordered a few frosty adult beverages and began the second of the pre-show rituals.

Buck Shot sits at the rear bar at the Palace for a pre-show ritual and strategic talk

A few minutes later they were joined by John. John had been briefed by those in the know and he briefed “da boys” as confidently as a combat officer in the trenches. He said, from here we go upstairs to the “Green Room, where we get ready for the show, looking slightly toward my direction, he said; “band member only!” I took this as my subtle hint to “exit stage right”, so I missed a lot of the pre-show chatter. But that’s show biz!

At this point in time I sat down with my wife and son and ordered my chow, I can’t understand why I don’t weigh over three hundred pounds…I love to eat. I ordered the house salad with honey mustard dressing; my son ordered the barbecue chicken pizza and my wife ordered the “Don Rich” steak with mashed potatoes. We also had the Dwight Yokum biscuits; with biscuits that good, how in the world did Dwight Yokum stay so thin! As always the Crystal Palace food and service was amazingly good.

Hank Ray eating his "Not just another dinner salad" my sons BBQ Pizza and mywifes Don Rich Steak.

As I finished up my last delectable tidbit of salad, the band was walking up onto the stage. They appeared as seasoned veterans and systematically took their perspective places on the platform, the platform that has showcased some of the best country acts in the world for over a decade. John Owens went up to the microphone, but it seemed like it was not yet connected quite yet. No one introduced the band but all of a sudden a country music hurricane came pouring down off the stage in to my face! A hunk of salad still dangling from my joules, I grabbed my camera and headed for the dance floor to obtain some images. I was busily taking photos and listening to the band so I was not positive of the set list, however these are last nights notes on my salad stained napkin; Act Naturally (Buck Owens), Folsom Prison Blues(Johnny Cash), Under Your Spell Again (Buck Owens), The More I Drink (Blake Shelton), Streets of Bakersfield (Buck Owens- Written by Homer Joy) and an encore of the Buck Owens classic, My Heart Skips A Beat. The set was filled with energy and the air was filled with flashing colored lights from above the stage. Mike Martin and David Allen entrenched themselves into a guitar laden duel, like true guitar slingers or battling warriors at the palace walls.
Mike and Dave, guitar slingers

In the fashion of 1970s guitar heroes like Johnny Winter or Ted Nugent they slashed a new path for up and coming country guitar pickers to emulate; Their Telecasters ablaze with blue and red stage lights flashing.

Buck Shot live at the Palace.

Jim Shaw from Buck Owens fame and Mark Yeary from Merle Haggard;giants in country music keyboard.

Buck Shot

After the electrifying performance Colby said that it was a dream realized; He had sat watching his father play on stage with Merle Haggard and giant venues, this was his turn and he and DD both said they had a great stage adrenaline rush.

The performance was a success and Buck Shot goes on to play at the Buck Owens Birthday Bash and on into country music history.