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The Buckaroos

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The Buckaroos
OriginBakersfield, California, United States
GenresBakersfield sound, country, rockabilly
Years active1963–2005
LabelsCapitol Records
Past membersBuck Owens
Don Rich
Doyle Holly
Tom Brumley
Willie Cantu
Merle Haggard
Wayne Wilson
Jana Jae
Victoria Hallman
Connie Bonar
Jesse Rose McQueen
Jerry Wiggins
Jerry Brightman
Doyle Curtsinger
Ronnie Jackson
Jim Shaw
JayDee Maness
Wayne "Moose" Stone
Jay McDonald
Ken Presley
Terry Christoffersen
Jim McCarty
James Harold Brown
David Wulfekuehler
Brian Coll

The Buckaroos were an American band led by Buck Owens in the 1960s and early 1970s, who, along with Merle Haggard's The Strangers, were involved in the development and presentation of the "Bakersfield sound." Their peak of success was from 1965 to 1970. In 2005, CMT named the Buckaroos No. 2 on its list of the 20 Greatest Country Music Bands.[1]


Don Rich, Doyle Holly, Tom Brumley and Willie Cantu were the original members of the Buckaroos during the 1960s. The 1970s version included Don Rich, Jerry Wiggins, Jerry Brightman, Doyle Curtsinger, and Jim Shaw. Various sidemen throughout the years included JayDee Maness, Wayne "Moose" Stone, Jay McDonald, Ken Presley, and very early on, Merle Haggard. Haggard, who worked a short time with Owens in 1962, suggested the group's name.[2] Fiddle player Jana Jae became the group's first female member after being invited onstage with Buck Owens to play "Orange Blossom Special". Vocalist Victoria Hallman (a.k.a. Jesse Rose McQueen) toured with the Buckaroos, sang with them on Hee Haw and recorded one Buck Owens record "Let Jesse Rob the Train" with the group.[citation needed] Drummer/singer Rick Taylor replaced Jerry Wiggins in 1978, when he left the band to manage his wife, Susan Raye. Rick performed his first appearance at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas "winging it" as there was no time for rehearsals before the sold-out performances. Rick had seen Buck and the original Buckaroos live in Omaha when he was 13 years old and dreamed of performing with Buck on Hee Haw. At age 19 he made his way to Nashville and 5 years later, he was performing in a rock cover group at a Nashville night club when Buck himself came to watch him at the urging of Hee Haw music director, Charlie McCoy, and Hee Haw staff band players, Leon Rhodes, and Tommy Williams. Buck hired Rick on the spot and invited him to the Hee Haw set the next day where his dream became a reality. Rick's first taping was the Hee Haw 10th Anniversary Show taped at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tn in October 1978. He was with the Buckaroos until leaving in 1981, following the band's nomination and win as "Touring Band of the Year" at the ACM Awards, to join the Epic Records vocal group Nightstreets, voted Billboard Magazine's Vocal Group of the Year 1981 for the single, "Love In The Meantime". Nightstreets featured female vocalist, Joyce Hawthorne, met Rick while recording as a background singer with the Buckaroos in the 1970s. Nightstreets toured with George Jones and Tammy Wynette from 1981 through 1982. Rick retired from the music industry in 1986.

Known for their signature red, white and blue colored guitars and fiddles, the Buckaroos in 1966 became only the second country music band to appear at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The recording of this performance, released as Carnegie Hall Concert, is considered one of the greatest live country music albums. They also recorded and released live albums from appearances in London, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, and Las Vegas. The Buckaroos also appeared on the Buck Owens Show.[3]

The Buckaroos recorded eight albums from 1967 to 1970, all of which were top sellers. They also earned numerous awards, including Grammys. They were nominated as "Band Of The Year" by the Academy of Country Music in eight consecutive years, winning the award four times, 1965–1968. The Buckaroos were also nominated as "Instrumental Group of the Year" in the Country Music Awards for five consecutive years, 1967–1971, winning the honor in 1967 and 1968.[4]

In 1970, Doyle Holly received "Bass Player of the Year" award from the Academy of Country Music as a member of the Buckaroos. He left the group the next year to pursue a solo career, in which he released two Top 20 hit albums. He is honored in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and received a block in the walkway of stars at the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980. Holly died in 2007.[5]

Tom Brumley left the Buckaroos in 1969 to join Ricky Nelson's band, where he was a member for over a decade. His performance on "Together Again" has been considered "one of the finest steel guitar solos in the history of country music."[6] His unique steel guitar sound was known as "The Brumley Touch", and he was recognized by the Academy of Country Music as the top steel guitarist. He was inducted into both the Texas Steel Guitar Hall of Fame and the International Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. Brumley died in 2009.[7]

Don Rich died in a motorcycle accident in 1974. At the time Rich was the only original member still with the Buckaroos and the band was struggling to find their way back at the top of the Country Music Charts. His death marked the end of the Buckaroos reign as the top Country Music band.[8]

Jerry Brightman left in 1975 and migrated into the business side with his involvement with WWVA Jamboree and Jamboree in the Hills.




Year Album US Country Label
1966 The Buck Owens Song Book 10 Capitol
1967 America's Most Wanted Band 12
The Buck Owens' Buckaroos Strike Again! 11
1968 A Night on the Town with Buck Owens' Buckaroos 32
Meanwhile Back at the Ranch 34
1969 Anywhere U.S.A. 35
Roll Your Own with Buck Owens' Buckaroos 45
1970 Rompin' and Stompin'
Boot Hill
1971 That Fiddlin' Man
The Buckaroos Play the Hits
Songs of Merle Haggard Played by the Buckaroos
2000 Country Pickin': The Don Rich Anthology Sundazed
2007 The Best of the Buckaroos Sundazed


Year Single Chart positions Album
US Country CAN Country
1967 "Chicken Pickin'" 69 The Buck Owens' Buckaroos Strike Again!
1968 "I'm Coming Back Home to Stay" 38 11 A Night on the Town with Buck Owens' Buckaroos
"I'm Goin' Back Home Where I Belong" 50 Meanwhile Back at the Ranch
1969 "Anywhere U.S.A." 63 Anywhere U.S.A.
"Nobody but You" 43 Roll Your Own with Buck Owens' Buckaroos
"Natural Born Loser"
1970 "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" 71 Rompin' and Stompin'
"Country Pickin'"
"Up on Cripple Creek" Boot Hill


  1. ^ "TV Shows : Watch Full Episodes Online : Featured Shows, Schedules and Top 20 Video Countdown". Cmt.com. Retrieved 2017-01-10.
  2. ^ "Merle Haggard: The Real Deal". Biography. A&E TV. November 15, 2000.
  3. ^ "Home". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
  4. ^ "Homepage - 2016 CMA Awards". Cmaawards.com. Retrieved 2017-01-10.
  5. ^ Johnson, Jon (June 2003). "Doyle Holly and the Buckaroos are together again". CountryStandardTime.com. Jeffrey Remz. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
  6. ^ "Tom Brumley, Member of Buck Owens' Buckaroos, Dies in Texas", Country Music Television, February 4, 2009. Accessed February 5, 2009.
  7. ^ Mclellan, Dennis. "Tom Brumley dies at 73; steel guitarist for Buck Owens and Rick Nelson", Los Angeles Times, February 6, 2009. Accessed February 5, 2009.
  8. ^ "Home - Buck Owens Crystal PalaceBuck Owens' Crystal Palace". Buckowens.com. Archived from the original on 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2017-01-10.

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