Saturday, November 1, 2014

Barbara - Teenaged Back-Up Singer for Buck Owens and Loretta Lynn

***Update: New Photo (Barbara is the girl on the right, sitting on the hay bale)

Bar-K image is from Dan Rather's 2014 interview with Loretta Lynn
(The Big Interview - (AXS-TV))

As the author of three busy blogs, Oma is always on the hunt for new and fresh material to share with her readers. After all, no one wants to read the same article about over-reported issues and events. However, with articles posted almost daily, the cascade of creative story lines occasionally become arid.

Unexpectedly, while on a vacation trip to Lake Tahoe with steadfast friends and mentors, Oma discovered a new theme of articles to study and produce. Human beings, by their fundamental nature of diversity, are fascinating. Their stories and life-lessons are both worth examination and publication.

On our eight-hour car ride to our Lake Tahoe resort, my friend Barbara shared the fact that she was assisting a freelance writer in his quest to learn about a “famous photo.”

Photo Buck Owens & the Bar-K Gang (with guest Loretta Lynn), KTNT-TV studios, Tacoma - 1960 Courtesy Buck Owens collection
Buck Owens & the Bar-K Gang with guest Loretta Lynn, KTNT-TV studios,
Tacoma - 1960 Courtesy Buck Owens collection


Oma learned that in 1958 a down-on-his-luck musician came to Washington in order to find steady work. That Bakersfield, California-based player was named Buck Owens. Soon after he arrived, Owens scored his own KTNT show known as the Bar-K Jamboree and formed a band called the Bar-K Gang.

At the time Barbara was just a teenager. Her best friend Carol loved to sing and Barbara often joined her in harmonizing. This collaboration lead the girls to audition for the Bar-K Jamboree show. To Barbara’s surprise, they were hired.

According to Owen’s autobiography, another Washington based singer made her TV debut on the Bar-K Jamboree Show soon after. Loretta Lynn was nervous. However, she still performed well enough to secure her first record deal when the owner of a little label signed her after seeing her on that show.

Oma was astonished to learn that the young background singer, sitting on a hay bale, in that “famous” historical photo was her friend Barbara!

Barbara married her sweetheart Chuck later that year. They went on to productive and rewarding careers as educators. My husband was the benefactor of Chuck’s (now known as Clete) irreplaceable guidance as a high school student.

When asked about her “famous” photo Barbara stated, “It was an exhilarating shock when I first viewed myself in that photo since I had not seen it before. I am looking forward to the Canadian free-lance writer’s story of this famous photo of the Bar-k Jamboree and guest (Loretta Lynn).

Although she started her career harmonizing, after her friend Carol left the group, Barbara had to nurture the confidence to sing as the lead. One of Barbara’s fondest memories is of the time when Buck Owens and Don Rich sang harmony for her as she sang “Crazy Arms.”

“How was I to know at that time that I was singing with future country music superstars.”

Oma, Barbara, and Clete during their October 2014 Tahoe Trip

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This is the first of a series that will be dedicated to the unique people, Oma (or her alias NASCAR Race Mom) has had the honor of meeting and/or interacting with in her stimulating life’s journey.

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