Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens met back in 1988 in Bakersfield, California. Owens was a “gentleman rancher” at that point in his career, according to Yoakam. Owens, who hadn’t sung a duet in years, showed up to cheer on an adoring Yoakam at his concert. They ended up singing together on that stage in Bakersfield and the rest is history.
“Streets of Bakersfield” was originally written by Homer Joy. Owens and Yoakam released their version of the song on June 17, 1988.
Yoakam and Owens had a special friendship for the nearly two decades they knew each other. CMT asked Dwight Yoakam back in 2007 if he would include a solo version of “Streets of Bakersfield” on an album. He said, “Never considered that for a minute. I would never have that song any other way in my life except with him.”
This classic duet version, performed in 1988, captures the crisp musicianship of them both and why they were such dear friends.
Owens passed away in 2006 and Yoakam paid homage to him with an album of covers. Dwight Sings Buck came out in 2007 and included all of the classics, but not “Streets of Bakersfield”.
Yoakam claims performing Buck Owens’ tunes during his live shows always gets the crowd going wild. As he puts it, “It’s me and the audience being able to embrace Buck together.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post stated the Owens and Yoakam wrote “Streets of Bakersfield.”