There is something palpably avant-garde in the
frenetic energy of Owens' unmistakably American (read: Bakersfield) sound set
against the cultural backdrop of Tokyo. However, Buck Owens & His Buckaroos
prove the adage that the currency of music defies borders and is indeed the
universal language. On Buck Owens & His Buckaroos in Japan!, the band rises
to the occasion, performing perennial favorites and previewing tracks from its
upcoming album, It Takes People Like You to Make People Like Me.
-- under the direction of Don Rich -- recreate a very Western concert
experience. A prime example occurs during Owens' spoken-word prelude,
signifying the importance of the Mississippi River in American geography as
depicted in "Fishin' on the Mississippi." The band then launches into
the song with the bold verve of true Yankee pride. Buck Owens & His
Buckaroos frequently display their seemingly double-jointed sense of rhythm.
From right out of the gate, their opening number "Adios, Farewell,
Goodbye, Good Luck, So Long" features a blazing guitar solo from Rich
supported by the taut flexibility of an intuitive musical organization. The
audience's affection for tracks such as the ultimately catchy "Open Up
Your Heart" propels the quintet's performance level to exceed, at times,
the familiar studio version. The instrumentals are also top-shelf and performed
with the added edge a live audience often provides. Such is the case with
Owens' Eastern-flavored "Tokyo Polka," the Rich masterwork "Fiddle
Polka," and Willie Cantu's brief "Drums So Low" percussion solo.
History has only reinforced the status of Buck Owens & His Buckaroos in
Japan! as a key component not only in the canon of Buck Owens & His
Buckaroos, but additionally as part of any comprehensive overview of the state
of popular C&W music in the mid-?60s.
- Lindsay Planer - AllMusic