Yee Haw! Or more accurately, that should be Hee Haw! This Friday, January 17, Craft Recordings will release a trio of releases from three country greats associated with the long-running television show. The compilations Roy Clark’s Greatest Hits, The Very Best of Buck Owens & Susan Raye, and Susan Raye’s solo 16 Greatest Hits were originally released on CD by Varese Sarabande and are now making their vinyl debuts.
A rural answer to Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Hee Haw premiered in 1969 on CBS with Roy Clark and Buck Owens hosting. Both men brought with them considerable followings. Clark (1933-2018) was not only a talented guitarist, banjo player, and fiddler, but notched 50 Country hits and crossed over to the pop and AC charts with songs like “Yesterday When I Was Young” and “September Song.” A frequent guest host for Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, Clark was a perfect choice to bring country music culture to the world at large. The Grammy-winning entertainer was a member of The Grand Ole Opry and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
He was joined on Hee Haw by Buck Owens (1926-2006), one of the most influential musicians of all time. As a progenitor of The Bakersfield Sound (recently celebrated on a major new box set from Bear Family Records), Owens was a country purist who eschewed the strings and choirs of The Nashville Sound to keep the raw honky-tonk spirit alive and well. Owens, a 1996 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, earned 21 chart-toppers on the Billboard Country chart, inspiring artists from Ringo Starr to Dwight Yoakam along the way.
Susan Raye was another leading light of Bakersfield. She began singing with Owens as his duet partner in 1968, and soon after became a featured performer on Hee Haw. Owens and Raye released four studio albums together and placed six hits on the Country chart, while Raye prospered as a solo artist as well. She scored over 20 solo chart entries including seven top 10s, among them the crossover hit “L.A. International Airport.” Raye remained on Hee Haw for nine seasons, and retired from performing in the mid-1980s.
CBS cancelled Hee Haw in 1971 after two seasons as part of its “rural purge” which saw the end of such popular sitcoms as Green Acres, Mayberry R.F.D., and The Beverly Hillbillies. The producers quickly set up a syndication deal, and Hee Haw continued to appear on first-run television through 1993, and then for one final season in 1996-97. Roy Clark hosted the show for its entire run, while Buck Owens departed in 1986.
Craft’s three vinyl compilations offer a fine sampling of the enduring talent of Clark, Owens, and Raye. Look for them on January 17 at the links below!
- We’re Gonna Get Together
- Together Again
- Cryin’ Time
- Love Is Strange
- The Great White Horse
- Today I Started Loving You Again
- I Don’t Care (Just As Long As Long As You Love Me)
- Think Of Me When You’re Lonely
- Your Tender Loving Care
- Looking Back To See
- The Good Old Days (Are Here Again)
- Sweethearts In Heaven
- Love Makes The World Go Around
- Put A Little Love In Your Heart
- One Night Stand
- Willy Jones
- L.A. International Airport
- Pitty, Pitty, Patter
- (I’ve Got A) Happy Heart
- A Song To Sing
- My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own
- Wheel Of Fortune
- Love Sure Feels Good In My Heart
- Cheating Game
- Plastic Trains, Paper Planes
- When You Get Back From Nashville
- Stop The World (And Let Me Off)
- You Can Sure See It From Here
- Whatcha Gonna Do With A Dog Like That
- Tips Of My Fingers
- Yesterday When I Was Young
- Right Or Left At Oak Street
- I Never Picked Cotton
- Thank God And Greyhound
- Magnificent Sanctuary Band
- The Lawrence Welk-Hee Haw Counter-Revolution Polka
- Come Live With Me
- Riders In The Sky
- Somewhere Between Love And Tomorrow
- Honeymoon Feelin’
- Heart To Heart
- If I Had To Do It All Over Again
- Think Summer