Cliffie Stone Family Photos
Buck Owens and Cliffie at an Academy of Country Music show rehearsal in the early 1990s. Being a native Californian, Cliffie was always proud whenever a California artist - who was born and/or who made their home on the West Coast - made it big in the country music business! Although Buck (Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr.) was born in Sherman, Texas, he moved to Bakersfield when he was twenty-two years old. He felt right at home in Bakersfield’s thriving country music scene, which centered around a country/western nightclub called “Blackboard.” Buck and other aspiring musicians and singers (such as Merle Haggard) developed their performing skills there before a live audience. When Buck became a superstar, he was never tempted to live in Nashville or anywhere else – Bakersfield was his home and he was proud of it! As Cliffie wrote in his songwriting book: “Bakersfield’s ‘Cradle of Country Music’ produced many top songwriter/performers who have made great contributions to ‘Mother Country Music.’ To mention a few: Lefty Frizzell, The Maddox Brothers & Rose, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Ferlin Husky, Dallas Frazier, Tommy Collins and in recent years, Dwight Yoakam.” Cliffie and Buck have known and have been associated with each other ever since Buck first signed with Capitol Records decades ago; he was also very good friends with Jack McFadden (who was Buck’s manager for over thirty years). Cliffie dealt with both of them when he was one of the jointly-owned partners of Central Songs, which published some of Buck’s early hit songs (before Buck formed his own publishing company, Blue Book Music). These songs were: “Foolin’ Around” (Buck Owens & Harlan Howard); “Under Your Spell Again” (Buck Owens & Dusty Rhodes); “Under the Influence of Love” (Buck Owens & Harlan Howard); and “We Split the Blanket” (Buck Owens & Red Simpson). Cliffie thought that Jack McFadden not only did a phenomenal job of guiding Buck’s music career, he also encouraged him to invest in music-related business venues, which financially set Buck up for the rest of his life. These included: Buck Owens Enterprises; his publishing company, Blue Book Music; a booking agency, OMAC Artists Corporation (jointly-owned with Jack McFadden); radio stations KUZZ-AM (Bakersfield) and radio stations KTUF-AM and KNIX-FM in Phoenix, AZ. Cliffie knew firsthand not only how talented Buck was, but how smart he was as well. There was and always will be a lot of competition from other artists and record labels to get their songs played on Billboard’s reporting radio stations so that they can get into Billboard’s Country Charts; and it’s even more difficult to stay there! Excerpts from Cliffie’s book: “I’ll never forget what my clever country-fox buddy, Buck Owens, did when he first started out in the business. He was aware of the time element on radio stations, so he wrote songs that were approximately two minutes long. Many times, the disc jockey only had two minutes of air time left to fill before their commercials would come on. So they would put on a Buck Owens’ song because it was shorter in length than the rest!” It’s important to mention that the Maddox Brothers & Rose’s on-stage antics and infectious hillbilly/rockabilly style and sound helped to influence and pave the way for up-and-coming country artists such as Buck and other artists in the mid-section and central areas of California. Buck had seen the Maddox Brothers & Rose perform at a gig in Tracy, which was near Modesto. Their paths also crossed whenever the Maddox family band traveled through Bakersfield, which was part of their tour itinerary. Buck had a lot of respect for Rose who he thought was a great singer and had a lot of energy on the stage. He also respected Rose’s dominating mother, Lula, who was very protective of Rose and always accompanied her no matter where she went. When the Maddox family disbanded in 1956, Rose started her solo career. She believed in Buck’s talent and suggested to Ken Nelson, who was head of Capitol Records’ Country Division, to possibly record some duets with him. In 1961, Capitol released a duet single: A side – “Loose Talk” and the B side – “Mental Cruelty.” In 1963, Capitol released another single: A side - “We’re the Talk of the Town,” and B side - “Sweethearts in Heaven.” They were wonderful records and their voices certainly complimented each other. Fast forward to 1969: this was the year that Buck Owens and multi-talented guitarist/singer, Roy Clark, co-hosted a CBS-TV show called “Hee Haw,” which became a very popular hillbilly musical variety show. One of the writers on this show for a year or so was actor/comedian, Pat Buttram (Gene Autry’s sidekick in all his movies and “The Gene Autry Show”). Buck’s manager, Jack McFadden, was the talent coordinator and Buck’s musician buddy, Don Rich, (whose background vocals uniquely blended with Buck’s voice and who played a big part in creating the “Bakersfield Sound”) was the Musical Director. Apart from Roy and Buck’s host duties of introducing acts, they also appeared in comical skits in the show (one of them was their “pickin’ and grinnin’” segment); and they ended the show singing in the ‘Hee Haw Gospel Quartet.’ Cliffie once said that Hee Haw reminded him of his “Hometown Jamboree” TV show format, which is why he enjoyed himself so much when he appeared on several of Hee Haw’s shows. Cliffie had a great time jamming and trading quips with both Roy and Buck on their “pickin’ and grinnin’” segment. (To see Hee Haw photos of Buck and Cliffie as well as Roy Clark and Cliffie, go to “Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award” section.) When CBS canceled the show in 1971, it immediately went into syndication. In 1986, Buck left the show but the popular country variety show continued to stay on the air for another eight years. Buck had twenty-one #1 country hits, which includes: “Act Naturally,” “My Heart Skips A Beat,” “Tiger By The Tail,” “Waitin’ In Your Welfare Line,” and “Streets of Bakersfield.” Buck recorded “Streets of Bakersfield” (written by Homer Joy, a songwriter who was signed with Buck’s “Blue Book Music” company) in his 1973 Capitol album, “Ain’t It Amazing Gracie.” In 1988, Dwight Yoakam persuaded his hero, Buck, to do a duet of “Streets of Bakersfield” with him for his album, “Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room.” Their duet went to number one on Billboard’s Country Charts, which was Buck’s last number one hit. Buck’s numerous awards includes: Academy of Country Music award for “Top Male Vocalist,” 1965; Academy of Country Music “Pioneer Award,” 1988; Country Music Association’s “Hall of Fame,” 1996; and the “Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame,” 1996. Other related awards include: Buck’s phenomenal band, the “Buckaroos” who received the Country Music Association’s ‘Instrumental Group of the Year’ award in 1967 and 1968; Buck’s publishing company, “Blue Book Music,” won the CMA’s “Publisher of the Year” award in 1973. Buck always dreamed of owning his own country/western nightclub in Bakersfield. His dream finally came true in 1996, when Buck had the grand opening of his luxurious “Crystal Palace” in Bakersfield, CA. He owned a flashy “Nudiemobile,” which was a Nudie (who was a famous California western wear designer), customized Pontiac Grandville (with silver dollar-studded dashboards, pistol door handles and enormous longhorn hood ornaments) that was hung inside and over the bar of Buck’s Crystal Palace. (Buck’s Nudiemobile was used in the last scene of Dwight Yoakam’s 1988 music video, “Streets of Bakersfield.”) Buck’s unique music career and his personal life story are much too long to be written in this caption. There are numerous websites on the internet which will give you detailed information about his life and career. His official website is:  Buck had tremendous respect for Cliffie and his testimonial for Cliffie’s talent show book says it all: “If you could write down the name of every artist, songwriter, musician, producer, promoter, manager, agent, etc…that Cliffie Stone spoke an encouraging word to (and I was no exception), it would probably extend from here to the hereafter...where I’m sure if encouragement is needed, he’s still at it!” …Buck Owens.

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