Buck Owens and His Buckaroos - I've Got a Tiger by the Tail (1965), 3/10

Straightforward country music, even with incorporated rock and roll, can lack the necessary variety. Buck Owen’s album I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail exemplifies the two strains of Bakersfield sound in the ballad and the energetic storytelling we have heard countless times before. The album has a few worthwhile songs, but these are counterbalanced by simply awful songs like “Trouble and Me” and the unbearable “Wham Bam” that manifests the worst parts of country music. Owens himself has much better albums and much more consistently worthwhile projects. Some of these songs are decently entertaining, colorful, or seductively emotional such as the title track, “Let the Sad Times Roll On”, “Fallin’ for You” or the closer “Memphis”. Even this short of an album overstays its welcome, conveying the sameness and played-out tropes of honky tonk music at this stage in its development. This cannot be fully blamed on Owens himself, but he and his band don’t do enough to set themselves apart or provide any meaningful departure from contemporary trends. The first half of the record is a rollercoaster of good and bad, while the second half is consistently poor until its final track, signifying the squandered potential of sound here. The man and his band took a turn for the safe and established rather than testing their limits and expanding the possibilities of country sound and it shows.