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Various Artists: The Bakersfield Sound

Jakob Baekgaard By

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Track review of "Make It Rain"

Think of country music and the city that immediately springs to mind is Nashville, but for a while Bakersfield became a capitol of country music in its own right, and its importance as the originator of the Bakersfield sound is examined in a massive box set from Bear Family Records, The Bakersfield Sound: Country Music Capital of the West 1940-1974, containing 10 CDs and a 224-page book written by Scott B. Bomar with a foreword by Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters.

As Bomar points out, the most well-known definition of the Bakersfield sound is a brand of country music with a hard-edged honky tonk sensibility propelled by Fender Telecaster guitars, a driving beat and pedal steel. Wynn Stewart has been mentioned as one of the founding fathers of the Bakersfield sound and Merle Haggard and Buck Owens have been placed in the center of the narrative. However, there are so many other stories and sounds to be found in Bakersfield in the period between 1940 and 1974 that the box covers. Among the many interesting artists are one of the unsung heroes of Bakersfield, Billy Mize, who was portrayed in William J. Saunders' documentary Billy Mize & the Bakersfield Sound (2014).

Mize's composition "Make It Rain" (1969) shows up on the box and is a good example of the diversity and depth of the Bakersfield sound. The song reached the number 40 spot on the US country chart and was covered by Dean Martin and Ray Price. It's a sophisticated homage to the working man with the difference between rich and poor entwined in the complex economy of love, as the singer sings of his rich girl friend: "While you're playin' with my mind / I'll be payin' with your money, honey / As long as your account can stand the drain." It's a theme that harks back to Lefty Frizzell's "If You Got the Money I've Got the Time," but now embedded in class-conscience.

Musically, the song has a strong resemblance to John Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind" (1967) that was famously covered by Glen Campbell. Mize's song has a catchy shuffling beat, light jazz guitar figures and a sound peppered with organ, harmonica and choir. It's a sound that doesn't quite fit the stereotype of the Bakersfield sound and instead of narrowing the picture of what the Bakersfield sound was, this impressive and well-researched box opens the vistas of the music with a wide scope that is fitting of the West.

A Note: Potential customers should be aware that Bear Family has informed buyers of the box that eight Merle Haggard songs have been removed from the box because of legal claims. The listed missing songs are unreleased Tally versions of "If I Had Left It Up to You" and "I'm Gonna Break Every Heart I Can," two false starts and a false start and take 4 of "If I Had Left It Up To You," demo versions of "I'm Not Looking For An Angel" and "Second Fiddle" with Johnny Barnett and a live performance of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." The information slip that comes with the box is also a voucher for 10% off a future Bear Family purchase.

Track Listing: CD1: Lloyd Stalcup - The Cotton Picker's Song; Homer Pierce - Darlin' Baby; Jack Bryant - Sunny Cal; Mary Sullivan - Sunny California; Wayne 'Gene' Dinwiddle - Home In The Government Camp; King Family - Get Along Down To Town; Lloyd Reading - Home In San Antone; Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys - Opening Theme / Seven Come Eleven; Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys - Get Along Home Cindy; Elwin Cross and his Arizona Wranglers - Back In Dear Old Oklahoma; The Maddox Brothers and Rose - Okie Boogie; Bob Manning (vocal: Billy Gray) - Reading Your Letter With Tears In My Eyes; Leon Payne - Lost Highway; Tex Marshall & Bill Woods - Hittin' The Trail; Leo 'Tex' Butler - When The Leaves Come Tumbling Down; Bill Woods / Cliff Crofford - Have I Got A Chance With You; The Maddox Brothers and Rose - Water Baby Blues (Boogie); Terry Preston - (A Pretty Woman Is A) Deadly Weapon; Terry Preston - I Want You So; Herb Henson - Funny Book; Jimmy Thomason - Honey Baby; Jimmy Thomason - Your Love Was Like The Weater; Hillbilly Barton - You Made Me Love You; Ebb Pilling and his Ozark Squirrel Shooters - Ozark Polka; Bill Woods and his Orange Blossom Playboys with Hillbilly Barton - A Heart Break Ago; Fuzzy & Bonnie Owens - A Dear John Letter; Bill Woods & Rita Goodwin - Dear John; Billy Mize with Bill Woods and his Orange Blossom Playboys - Pusan; Ferlin Husky - Hank's Song; Joe Maphis & Rose Lee - Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music). CD2: Tommy Collins - You Better Not Do That; Dallas Frazier - Ain't You Had No Bringin' Up At All; Bud Hobbs - Louisiana Swing; Forest Lee & Clete Stewart - When I Hold You; Buck Owens - Down On The Corner Of Love; Dave Stogner with Al Brumley - Stepping Stones; Herb Henson & Joyce Yours - Out Of Line; Semie Moseley - When The Saints Go Marching In; Jean Shepard - Take Possession; The Farmer Boys - It Pays To Advertise; Wynn Stewart - Why Do I Love You So; Tommy Duncan - Crazy Mixed Up Kid; Johnny Taylor - Sad Sad Saturday Night; Wanda Jackson - I Gotta Know; Billy Mize - Who Will Buy The Wine; Al Coker with the Coker Family - Baby I Like Your Style; Louise Duncan - Wherever You Are; Sid Silver - Bumble Rumble; Andy Morris - I Need Her Love; Dusty Payne - I Want You; Fuzzy Owen - Your Every Thing (I Wish That She Could Be); Bonnie Blue Bell - I Never Thought; Jan Howard - What Time Tomorrow; George Rich - Drivin' Away My Blues; Bill Woods - Ask Me No Questions; Fuzzy Owen - Beware Of A Stranger; Skeets McDonald - Keep Her Off Your Mind; Dave Stogner - Yes Sir; Harlan Howard - Fun On The Freeway; Cliff Crofford - A Night For Love; The Farmer Boys - Someone To Love; Buck Owens - Come Back To Me. CD3: Reuben Chapman with Coy Baker & His Band - I'm Sorry Too; Don Thompson with Coy Baker & His Band - Empty Days And Lonely Nights; Phil Brown - You're A Luxury unknown - Steady Lovin'; Johnny Bond - I Like That Kind; Henry Sharp - Crazy Moon; Gene Martin with the Desert Stars - Pair Of Empty Arms; Herb Henson - You'al Come; Lewis Talley - Letters Have No Arms; Buck Owens - Second Fiddle; Billy and Cliff - When; Billy Mize - You Can't Take Your Love Outta This Boy; Billy Kaundart - I Removed Your Ring; Larry Bryant - Keep Right On Tryin; Buck Owens - Tired Of Livin'; Joe Hall - Cold Hearted Woman; Owen Charles - Stage Coach; Rip Goodman and Marcia - If I Could Only Tell You; George Latta - Our Hearts; Buck Owens - Til These Dreams Come True; Billy and Cliff - Living Up To My Name; Don Markham & The Marksmen - Goose, Pt. 1; Bonnie Owens - Just For The Children's Sake; Wally Lewis - My Baby Walks All Over Me; Wynn Stewart - Playboy; Al Brumley - Someone's Gonna Get Hurt; Jackie Kelley - Door Of Temptation; Jelly Sanders - Fiddlin' Country Style; Buck Owens & Rose Maddox - Loose Talk; Jimmy Patton - What Will I Do (With All These Memories); Tommy Dee - Loving You (On Someone Elses' Time); Custer Bottoms & Jack and Jerry - Why Tell Me. CD4: Buck Owens - King Of Fools; The Marksmen - Scratch; Jerry Cornelius and the Golden Eagles - It's My Turn To Cry; Wayne Morris - I Can't Stop Lovin'; Wayne Morris - I Pretend; Bill Woods - Truck Drivin' Man; Billy Bledsoe - My Last Night In Town; Leon Hart - New Home Sweet Home; Kenny Hays - Crossing My Fingers; Kenny Hays - Foolish Notions; Georgia Lynn - On Your Wedding Day; Tommy Lewis - Go Where You Wanta Go; Vancie Flowers - Private Party; Buck Owens - There's Gonna Come A Day; Anita Cross - Why Should I Cry Again; Bonnie Owens - Waggin' Tongues; Rollie Weber - Painting The Town; Johnny Barnett - Too Old To Hurt; Merle Haggard - Skid Row; Bill Meyers - Good-Bye Mr. Blues; Buck Owens - If You Ain't Lovin' You Ain't Livin'; Bill Bledsoe - Tell Me Why; Bob Morris - Put Your Arms Around Him; Roy Nichols - Silver Bells; Buck Owens - Act Naturally (live); Merle Haggard - Life In Prison; Bobby Durham - My Past Is Present; Bobby Durham - Queen Of Snob Hill; Vancie and Rita - Tears In My Beer; Rose Stassi - Out Of My Mind. CD5: Buck Owens - Close Up The Honky Tonks; Merle Haggard & Bonnie Owens - Slowly But Surely; Bob Hortter - Working Overtime; Jim Witlock - S.O.S.; Buck Owens - Fallin' For You; Merle Haggard - If I Had Left It Up To You; Merle Haggard - I'm Gonna Break Every Heart I Can (Tally); Merle Haggard - I'm Gonna Break Every Heart I Can (Capitol); Tommy Duncan - I Wish I Hadn't Called You; Jim Ward - Red Wine; Lewis Talley - More Wine, More Women, More Song; Merle Haggard & Bonnie Owens - I'll Take A Chance; Don Rich & The Buckaroos - I'm Layin' It On The Line; Buck Owens - There Never Was A Fool; Doyle Holly & The Buckaroos - After You Leave Me; Dee Mize (aka Buddy Mize) - Just Leave My World Alone; Billy Mize - Walking My Fool; Liz Anderson - (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers; Tommy Collins - If You Can't Bite Don't Growl; Jeanie O'Neal - Alcohol And Tears; Bobby Durham - Home Is Where I Hang My Head; Red Simpson - Jeannie With The Light Brown Cadillac; Merle Haggard - Swinging Doors (alternate take); Kay Adams - Roll Out The Red Carpet; Dick Curless & Kay Adams - Old Standby; Buck Owens - House Of Memories; Buck Owens - Tiger By the Tail (live at Carnegie Hall); Vicki Lester - Fool Me Again; Ray Salter - The Bad Guy Gets The Girl; Billy Mize - Pappy Was A Clever Man; Jeanie O'Neal - Correspondence Course In Love. CD6: Bobby Austin - Apartment #9; Buck Owens - Open Up Your Heart; Dick Curless - A Good Job Huntin' And Fishin'; Gary Paxton - Goin' Thru The Motions; Red Simpson - I'm Actin' Like My Old Self Again; Kay Adams - Little Pink Mack; Doyle Holly - The Dumb Thing; Merle Haggard - Someone Told My Story; Red Simpson - Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves; Barbara Mandrell - Queen For A Day; Ronnie Sessions - I Guess You're Finally Satisfied; Merle Haggard - Mixed Up Mess Of A Heart; Joe and Rose Lee Maphis - A Lifetime Of Love; Del and Sue Smart - I'm So Mad At Me; Merle Haggard - Drink Up And Be Somebody; Wayne Wilson & Don Rich with The Buckaroos - You'll Never Miss The Water (Til The Well Runs Dry); Bob Morris - The First Thing I Think Of; Faye Hardin - Only The Strong Can Survive; Merle Haggard - You Don't Have Very Far To Go; Bobby Austin - I'm Not Looking For An Angel; The Buckaroos - Chicken Pickin'; Doyle Holly & The Buckaroos - A Foolish Notion; Merle Haggard - I Made The Prison Band; Oscar Whittington - 50 Year Waltz; Del and Sue Smart - Love That Just Won't Stop; The Gosdin Brothers - Hangin' On; Suzi Arden - Who Do You Go To; Merle Haggard - Where Does The Good Times Go; Joe Maphis - Pickin' And Guitin'; Rose Lee Maphis - Country Girl Courtship; Wayne Wilson - I'd Rather Be Hurt By You. CD7: Buck Owens - The Heartaches Have Just Started; Gene Moles - Fingerlickin'; Al Brumley - I'm Goin' Crazy; Bill Handy with Jelly Sanders Combo - Don't Leave Me Cryin'; Leo Stephens - Walking In My Sleep Crying Over You; Tom Rose - It's Over; Buck Owens and Buddy Alan - Let The World Keep On A Turnin'; Merle Haggard - Too Many Bridges To Cross Over; Dean Sanford - Too Young To Grow Old Over You; Tommy Wiggins - Calling All Lovers; Larry Daniels & The Buckshots - Buckshot; Bonnie Owens - Lead Me On; Leon Copeland - I'm Out Of My Mind; Clarence White - Buckaroo; The Sanland Brothers - Vaccination For The Blues; Red Simpson - You Put My World Back Together; The Strangers (Merle Haggrad) - Hammin' It Up; Bob Ross - Lucy Clowers; Ronnie Sessions - (I Used To Live) The Life Of Riley; Barbara Cheatwood - Married Man; Billy Mize - Make It Rain; Cliff Crofford - Mention My Name; Buck Owens - Sam's Place (live in London); Merle Haggard - California Cottonfields; Rodney Lay - Not Going Back To Jackson; Glenda Blackwell - I Want To Live In Your House; Tom Tall - Pitty Pitty Patter; Judy Hall - My Old Used To Be; Ira Allen - Love Is Me; Faye Hardin - Mistakes I've Made; Harold Cox & The Sooners - Pumpkin Center; Jerry Dallas - Tears Of Joy (Are A-Croppin' Out On Me); Stan Farlow - Devil River. CD8: Merle Haggard - Mama Tried (live in Muskogee); The Strangers - Stealin' Corn; Truitt Cunningham - Forgive And Forget; Buck Owens & Susan Raye - Cryin' Time; Buck Owens - Bring Back My Peace Of Mind; The Sanland Brothers - Cowboy Convention; Don Rich & The Buckaroos - Guitar Pickin' Man; Don Rich - Your Heart Turned Left (And I Was On The Right); Buddy Alan (Sohn von Buck & Bonnie Owens) - A Whole Lot Of Somethin'; Merle Haggard - I'm A Good Loser; Bobby Wayne - California On My Mind; Buck Owens - Reno Lament; The Hagers - Your Tender Loving Care; Henry Sharpe - There Is No Easy Way; Lewis Talley - Because You Can't Be Mine; Mike Beagles - She Don't Care Now; Dave Price - Night Life Is My Weakness; Merle Haggard - Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man); Sharon Haley - Heartbreak Mountain; Mayf Nutter - Never Ending Song Of Love; Tony Booth - Cinderella; Red Simpson - I'm A Truck; Johnny Campbell - Mr. Conscience; Vancie Flowers - How Dark Is My Journey; Merle Haggard - Bring It On Down To My House; Kenni Huskey - Number One Heel; Sonny Anglin - Today's Tomorrow's Yesterday; Merle Haggard; I'm Tired Of Your Understanding Ways; Kenny Vernon - I Bought The Shoes (That Just Walked Out On Me). CD9: Buck Owens - Arms Full Of Empty; Susan Raye - Love Sure Feels Good In My Heart; Homer Joy - Streets Of Bakersfield; Merle Haggard - I Know An Ending When It Comes; Buck Owens - Something's Wrong; Doyle Singer & The Buckaroos - Young Widow Brown; Tide Cartwright - Cheater's Ground; Blackjack Duran - I Laid Back Down; Arlo Guthrie - This Troubled Mind Of Mine; Merle Haggard - The Emptiest Arms In The World; Kenny Johnson with the Country Mile - Beer Drinkers Of America Unite; Buck Owens & Susan Raye - Sweethearts In Heaven; Laurel Lee - Mountain Of Fortune And Fame; Red Simpson - Bill Woods From Bakersfield; Thad Tillotson - Good Ole Country Sound; Freddie Hart - If You Can't Feel It (It Ain't There); Carlyle Graham - Foolish Man; Kay Austin - The Lord Rested On Sunday; Cliff Crofford - Every Time I Hear The Fiddle Play; Merle Haggard - Holding Things Together; David Frizzell - I'm The Bartender's Best Friend; Lawanda Lindsey - I Ain't Hangin' Round; Toby Keeney - Going Back To Oklahoma; Walt Pascoe - That Little Glass Of Milk; Roger Spanke - Betty Jane; Sandy Thomas - Antique In My Closet; Dennis Payne - Do You Believe In Me; Debi Hawkins - Teach Me How To Love; Merle Haggard - Mirrors Don't Lie; Tony Booth - A Different Kind Of Sad. 10: Buck Owens - Y'all Come / Tall Dark Stranger (live at Toys for Tots); Tony Booth - Lonesome 7-7203 (live at Toys for Tots show); Buddy Alan - Fishin' on the Mississippi (live at Toys for Tots show); Susan Raye - L.A. International Airport (live at Toys for Tots); Buck Owens, the Buckaoors and OMAC artists - Johnny B. Goode (live at Toys for Tots); Bonnie Owens - Number One Heel (take 14); Merle Haggard - If I Had Left It Up To You (take 4 with false starts); Merle Haggard - If I Had Left It Up To You (false starts); Vancie & Rita - Strange; Billy Mize - Misery; Billy Mize - The Name Of The Game Is Heartaches; Red Simpson - I'd Be A Good Time Charlie; Red Simpson - Fit For A King; Johnny Barnett - Which One Is To Blame; Junior Stonebarger with Jelly Sanders Band - Release Me; Fuzzy Owen, Bill Woods, Red Simpson & Band - My Ears Should Burn (When Fools Are Talked About); Bill Woods, Don Rich, Don Markham & Band - Truck Driving Man; Tommy Collins - Be Serious Ann; Joe & Rose Lee Maphis - Christmas Time's A Comin'; Lewis Talley - Blue Christmas; Louise Lovett - Lonely Christmas Call; 22. Merle Haggard - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.

Personnel: Various Artists

Title: The Bakersfield Sound | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Bear Family

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