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Date: Thu, 12 May 1994 16:56:33 -0400
From: bj835[at]-remove-cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Tim Connors)
Subject: Bakersfield

Chris Camfield asked about the significance of Bakersfield, and
Pat's discussion seemed to presume a certain familiarity with
the place as well. Here's a quickie background note:

Bakersfield is indeed a town in California, some distance North
of LA. Bakersfield is the home to some big oil fields (I think
the oil rig scenes in _Five Easy Pieces_ are supposed to be
there. After the war a lot of Texans and other Southerners came
to Bakersfield to work in these oil fields. Because of this
migration, Bakersfield developed a country music scene with lots
of honky tonks and country bars like Pat described, and later
with a fair number of recording studios and record labels.

During the late '50s and early '60s, as the sound coming out of
Nashville became glossier and poppier, Bakersfield became the
locus of a back-to-basics movement in country music. The
leading proponent of the "Bakersfield Sound" was Buck Owens, who
is probably best remembered by most in the States as one of the
hosts of "Hee Haw," but who released lots of great country
records in the '50s and '60s.

In the '70s, LA became the center of the early country rock
scene, due to the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield. Various
Byrd spinoffs like Dillard & Clark and the Flying Burrito
Bros. mixed some of the California bluegrass and country
session guys into their records. These great early
experiments were later watered down into the lame country
rock of the '70s, like the Eagles and Poco.

In the early '80s some of the "cowpunk" bands and fellow
travelers like Dwight Yoakam spent lots of time in
Bakersfield as well. To this day the place has a rep for
rootsy country music, as opposed to the countrypolitan
sounds that generally hold sway in Nashville.

Sorry for any glaring errors or omissions, this is off the
top of my head. Hope it's of some interest.


TJC "Surprisingly tasty..."
* The Jazz Butcher ("JB v. Prime Minister")

Internet: bj835[at]-remove-cleveland.freenet.edu

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