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Buck Owens

Dust on Mother's Bible – 2003 (Sundazed)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

This re-issue of the 1966 Capitol LP showcases Buck Owens and the classic line-up of his Buckaroos - including the irreplaceable Don Rich - on 12 gospel numbers that swing with as much verve as their big secular hits.

The Buckaroos don't play churchy dirges. They simply do what they are best at - the Bakersfield sound. Tom Brumley and Ralph Mooney's bleeding edge steel work, combined with elements of Rich's weeping country fiddle and Doyle Holly's tart and twangy electric guitar, conjure the aura of the sawdust floor honky-tonk no matter what their leader sings about.

Owens keeps his religious message simple and catchy. He encourages us to "Pray Every Day" and testifies that "Jesus Saved Me" so "Satan's Gotta Get Along Without Me." He advises the troubled to "Bring It to Jesus" because an "Eternal Vacation" awaits true believers. Naturally, he bows his head and swears that "I'll Go to Church Again With Momma" and weeps repentantly over the "Dust on Mother's Bible."

Delivered with straightforward sincerity and boasting the hook song economy of his best straight country productions, Owen proves conclusively that gospel music can enter the barroom and come away the better for it. Sundazed