Album Reviews

Don Rich

Artist:     Don Rich

Album:     Guitar Pickin' Man

Label:     Omnivore Recordings

Release Date:     12.16.2016

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Omnivore Recordings Guitar Pickin’ Man – Don Rich and the Buckaroos compiles key cuts from Buck Owens’ right hand man. Together with Owens and the Buckaroos, Rich helped create the “Bakersfield Sound.”

In the second Latin-tinged track “Chaparral,” one can hear the stylistic roots of players like Clarence White of the Byrds. “Wham Bam” and “Sally Was a Good Old Girl” feature the cornpone humor which Rich and Co. exhibited to full effect on TV’s Hee Haw, complete with dated, sexist lyrics. If somewhat distasteful by today’s standards, “Bossa Nova Buckaroo Style” reminds the listener why they’re here: to dig Rich’s superlative playing and effortless mastery of various styles. “Out Of My Mind” is classic Bakersfield with pedal steel guitars that seem to weep along with the blue sentiment. “I’m A Comin’ Back Home To You” shows just how well this band could swing with a definitive rhythm and gospel piano.

Guitar Pickin’ Man showcases Rich’s skill and innovative playing by collecting 17 tracks from 10 releases from Buck and The Buckaroos, and adding the previously unissued title track recorded for and during their time on the television classic, Hee Haw. Not just a perfect primer for the uninitiated, but also a fantastic aural journey for fans—Guitar Pickin’ Man features notes from Don’s sons Vance and Vic Ulrich as well as photos from their personal family collection.

—Mike Cobb

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