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We’d go to bed with just cornbread and milk, and I remember wearing shoes with holes in the bottom.
I remember having twine for shoestrings: You take old black shinola polish and try to make ‘em look black, and that only makes ‘em look worse.
Learn how Buck started out as the son of a sharecropper with a dream of a better life. Two other children would follow, Melvin in 1931, and Dorothy in 1934. worked at a dairy farm in Garland, Texas, near Dallas.
Music became the inspiration that led him out of the fields and into a life of a recording artist that not only achieved a dream of success but also helped develop a sound that took the world by storm. Alvis Edgar Owens Sr., a native of Texas, and his wife, Arkansas native Maicie Azel Owens, tilled the land at their farm outside Sherman. That life, his eldest son remembers, was difficult.
They also played at any local honky-tonk whose bartenders let them pass the hat (in their case a soup bowl.) Eventually they took up residence at a Phoenix honky-tonk known as the Romo Buffet and added a trumpeter named Kelly, who was stationed at a nearby Air Force base.
They got 10% of the take, which was usually around 0 regardless of the size of the crowd, and split three ways. When Buck got an electric steel guitar, Alvis Owens adapted an old radio into an amplifier so his son could teach himself to play it.
“They never realized – and I didn’t either, at the time – what a wonderful opportunity was presented to me to be able to make a living and pay my bills while I’m learning my trade.
Within four months or so he joined Bill Woods & The Orange Blossom Playboys, the house band at the Blackboard, Bakersfield’s top country music nightclub.
He involved himself in such activities whenever possible.
“I think even then,” he says, “I was looking to be somebody.” Buck & Britt Around 1945, 16-year-old Buck teamed up with 19-year-old guitarist Theryl Ray Britten.
“Buck and Britt” landed a 15-minute show (for which they weren’t paid) over KTYL Radio in Mesa.
Since the KTYL studio had a 30-foot-long glass window facing its parking lot, they often had a drive-in studio audience for their shows.
I remember the hand-me-down clothes.” “But most distinctly, I remember always saying to myself that when I get big, I’m going to have homemade haircuts done by my mother; she cut our hair until we were about 12 or 13 years old.