Together Again / My Heart Skips a Beat
When Buck Owens and his crack backing outfit The Buckaroos recorded the hit single “My Heart Skips a Beat” in early 1964, they were in the midst of one of the greatest creative and commercial hot streaks in country music history. Owens and his band honed their chops on the same rough-and-tumble Bakersfield honky-tonk scene that produced the likes of Merle Haggard, Wynn Stewart, and The Maddox Brothers & Rose. Like those performers, Owens favored a stripped-down, boogie-infused brand of honky-tonk that provided a gritty alternative to the increasingly maudlin Nashville sound. Owens and his right-hand man Don Rich were both accomplished lead guitar players who loved rock and R&B as much as they did country, and songs like “A-11” and “Close Up the Honky Tonks” sport blistering guitar breaks that draw as much from Chuck Berry as Chet Atkins. Perhaps the definitive representation of the mid-‘60s Bakersfield sound, Together Again/My Heart Skips a Beat is essential listening for anyone seeking to understand the history of American popular music.