Buck Owens pioneered the Bakersfield sound in the late Fifities, along with Merle Haggard, as a reaction to the slickly-produced, string orchestra-laden Nashville sound which then dominated Country Music. It was one of those back-to-the-roots things that are a regular feature in Country history.
This song was a late arrival. Written by Homer Joy, it was recorded by Owens in 1973, but didn't do much until a duet with Dwight Yoakam in 1988 became a hit.
Here's Buck on his own:
The lyrics describe Joy's experiences trying to get a recording, and walking the streets of Bakersfield in frustration. That "You don't know me but you don't like me..." was aimed at the unhelpful record producer.
On July 17, 1974, Owens' best friend and Buckaroos guitarist Don Rich was killed when he lost control of his motorcycle and struck a guard rail on Highway 1 in Morro Bay, where he was to have joined his family for vacation. Owens was devastated. "He was like a brother, a son and a best friend," he said in the late 1990s. "Something I never said before, maybe I couldn't, but I think my music life ended when he died. Oh yeah, I carried on and I existed, but the real joy and love, the real lightning and thunder is gone forever." Owens would never fully recover from the tragedy, neither emotionally nor professionally.