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Buck Owens

Christmas With Buck Owens and His Buckaroos, Christmas Shopping – 1999 (Sundazed)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

Sundazed Music has done classic country fans a great service this year by releasing two CDs of Buck Owens Christmas music. The 12 songs on this disc were recorded over two sessions that spanned just seven hours in 1965. They include the fun Buck Owens/Don Rich classic "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy" and the Owens /Red Simpson tune "Blue Christmas Lights."

But there are gems among the less well-known songs here, too. Owens' lonesome moans and the whine of Tom Brumley's steel guitar on "Christmas Ain't Christmas" ring true, and Rich even sings a bit of background vocals. "Here Comes Santa Claus Again" is a tribute to the man with "a fuzzy white beard and a great big smile." "Jingle Bells" and "Christmas Morning" are bright uptempo instrumentals that focus squarely on Rich's outstanding electric guitar. All of the songs here are so short that the entire album doesn't even break 30 minutes, but it's a treat to hear the wonderful sound of Owens and his Buckaroos resurrected for this Christmas.

Three years later, Owens cut 12 songs for his second holiday album. Although it contains no original Owens classics, it's still fun to hear these decades-old Owens-penned songs. "Merry Christmas From Our House to Yours" is a warm wish of happiness on Christmas, and "Home on Christmas Day" is an upbeat, eager look forward to Christmas. "It's Not What You Give" is about the true spirit of Christmas gift giving, told by a father of two good-hearted children. Owens may be most famous for "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy," but this album demonstrates that he recorded many other less well-known Christmas gems in his time. If you only want one Owens Christmas CD, buy "Christmas With..." But if that album leaves you wanting more, this one is a worthy companion.