How a soldier discovered Country music

Jewell and her close friends Red Sovine and Buck Owens would love this story from Larry L. Rose, a retired, award-winning journalist/publisher and highly regarded Texas Hill Country artist whose work has been shown in a number of exhibits, most recently in Santa Fe, N.M.


Capitol Records released Buck Owens’ studio album, “I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail,” on March 10, 1965. The album rose to Number 1 on the Billboard Country charts and Number 43 on the Pop Albums charts.

Larry suspects the spirit of Country music may take care of fans in extraordinary ways. Here’s his story:

“Growing up, my father, thus our family, listened to opera on the radio and on records. I also listened to the Top 40 music of the time. But while serving in the U.S. Army, I was introduced to a different genre – Country music.

“While serving a year at a New Jersey Army post in 1967, I became good friends with Bill, a native of Bellingham, Wash., and a Country fan with great love for Buck Owens and the Buckaroos.

“The day came when we were transferred to Heidelberg, Germany, a long-favored stop for Country recording artists and a natural environment for nurturing my new musical journey. Luckily, a number of Country music performers came to our enlisted men’s club.

“While I was listening to my friend’s Country music stories, as well as listening to more Country tunes, including Red Sovine and “Giddyup Go,” most in our barracks were listening to the Beatles.

“Near the end of 1968, we thought we would finish our Army tour in Germany.

“However, the Pentagon had other ideas. Unusually, they transferred 9 from our group all at once. Eight, including me, were sent to Vietnam. My friend Bill was sent to Italy. Was the power of country music the charm?”

Could have been. What do you think?

Meanwhile, let’s dedicate Buck Owens’ “Tiger” and “Act Naturally” to Larry with thanks for sharing a great Country music memory.

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