Monday, March 27, 2006


Alvis has left the building

Alvis E. Owens, born on Aug. 12, 1929 in Sherman, Texas and known to the world as Buck, is dead. Long live Alvis.

Alvis and I had so much in common. His father was a sharecropper, just like mine, and Alvis spent his first years in deep poverty, just like me. His family headed toward California, like mine did, in the Dust Bowl migration in the late 1930s. But their their trailer broke down, just like ours did, and they settled in Arizona near Phoenix. My family bought another trailer and drove back to Brooklyn. Alvis worked in cotton and maize fields, like I did, and he dropped out of school around the ninth grade, like I should have.

Alvis took up the guitar, like I did, and eventually settled in Bakersfield, where I wanted to go, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, where I went to live. Alvis broke into the local music scene as a member of a honky-tonk band called Bill Woods and the Orange Blossom Playboys, which was the name I gave my first group.

The rest for Alvis is history. Now, with Alvis dead, the world of music has passed the Buck.

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