My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Week ending 3/30/19: #1 singles this week in country music history

1959: Don’t Take Your Guns To Town — Johnny Cash (Columbia)

1969: Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass — Buck Owens and his Buckaroos (Capitol)

1979: I Just Fall in Love Again — Anne Murray (Capitol)

1989: Baby’s Gotten Good At Goodbye — George Strait (MCA)

1999: How Forever Feels — Kenny Chesney (BNA)

2009: It Won’t Be Like This for Long — Darius Rucker (Capitol)

2019: Beautiful Crazy — Luke Combs (Columbia Nashville)

2019 (Airplay): Beautiful Crazy — Luke Combs (Columbia Nashville)

3 responses to “Week ending 3/30/19: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Ken March 31, 2019 at 11:16 am

    By the late 1960’s Buck Owens had grown tired of his twangy freight train sound. Although his hits had not faded he was eager to try some new approaches. 1968 was a year of experimentation. “How Long Will By Baby Be Gone” spotlighted acoustic guitars rather than electric telecasters. “Sweet Rosie Jones” was a folk song with an arrangement to match. He returned to the classic Buck Owens sound for a duet with son Buddy Alan on “Let The World Keep On A-Turnin” but then ventured even farther from his trademark sound for his next single. “I’ve Got You On My Mind Again” had an R&B vibe with an arrangement that included a harpsichord, Buck’s double tracked vocal and something that had not been been heard on a Buck Owens recording since his first two Capitol singles – background voices. His next single pushed the boundaries even more.

    “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” was written by Buck and featured a double-tracked vocal and harpsichord but added another new sound – a fuzz tone guitar. Buck discussed his use of the fuzz tone lead guitar on that recording in several interviews. In that era fuzz tone was quite common on pop/rock recordings but was seldom heard on country records. (One of the few country recordings to have a fuzz tone was Marty Robbin’s 1961 hit “Don’t Worry”) Buck often mentioned how some country radio stations took exception with that aspect of the recording. But truth be told not enough stations objected to make a significant difference because the song went to #1 for two weeks. If there had been significant push-back from radio programmers the record would not have been as successful. One of the reasons it did not receive more objections is that the mono single released in 1969 was much more “radio friendly” than the stereo LP version.

    “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” was Buck’s last Capitol single released in MONO. All of his subsequent singles were issued in STEREO. This is a critical point because it is one of few instances when the mono single version of a Buck Owens song differed significantly from the stereo album release. The song remained a non-LP single until released two and half years later on “The Best Of Buck Owens Vol. 4” album in late 1971. So the stereo mix may have been created long after the mono version.

    The mono single is dominated by the rhythm track and a harpsichord. Don Rich’s fuzz tone guitar is much further down in the mix. Even during the instrumental guitar break the fuzz tone is not exceptionally loud. That mix may have been judiciously created to avoid having the record boycotted by some country programmers who were generally adverse to rock sounding guitars in that era. But the stereo mix has a very loud and dominant fuzz tone lead guitar evident from the very first note of the intro giving it a very different sound than the mono single. I’ve never heard an explanation for why there is a major difference in the two versions.

    Up until last year only the LP version was available on CD. The Buck Owens Omnivore 2-CD set Complete Capitol Singles 1967-1970 finally issued the original mono single mix that became the #1 hit.

    This is the more commonly available stereo version issued in 1971

    Another version that Jonathan linked to at the top of this page is from the debut episode of Hee Haw on June 15, 1969. That specially recorded version for the show has a much more “country” sounding arrangement with no fuzz tone guitar. Buck also included a “live” version of the song on his 1969 album “Buck Owens In London.” It was his current single at the time that he recorded that album on March 9, 1969.

    • Occasional Hope April 1, 2019 at 9:58 am

      That Buck single does sound quite Beatles influenced to me.

      George Strait from 1989 is my favourite this week.

  2. Paul W Dennis April 1, 2019 at 11:30 am

    I was living outside of London when this single was released. The BBC Show Country Style played the version of “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” from a taping they did at the BBC Playhouse a few days before March 9 for a radio show that aired on BBC Radio-2. That version did not have the fuzz guitar and only ran about 1:20 if memory serves me correctly. I did not heard the studio stereo version until Best of Buck Owens V4 was released. By then I had returned to the US

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