Omnivore's 2013 double-disc set Buck Em! The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967) provides an interesting spin on Buck Owens: through a collection of mono singles, live tracks, alternate takes, early 45s, and other rarities, it tells an alternate history of Buck's prime years. If there's a hit on this 50-track collection, it's almost always in a version that's slightly different than what usually shows up on a standard greatest-hits. "Second Fiddle," "Love's Gonna Live Here," "I Don't Care (Just as Long as You Love Me)," "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail," and "Before You Go" are all in mono, there's an early version of "Ain't It Amazing Gracie," and "Act Naturally" is live, so they're familiar enough to not feel jarring and they do provide the core of a collection that winds up wandering into some pretty interesting territory. This is one of the rare comps to take into consideration, sides Owens recorded before he signed to Capitol -- or, in other words, before he developed Bakersfield and his signature train rhythm -- opening with the pure honky tonk of "Down on the Corner of Love" and the rockabilly swing of "Hot Dog." With these pip singles included, the birth of Bakersfield Country is all the more dramatic and, as this ends in 1967 when Buck & the Buckaroos were still riding high on top of the country charts and before Owens' stardom was slightly tarnished by the cornpone Hee Haw, this focuses directly on his prime, when he was undoubtedly the biggest country star in America. True, Buck 'Em! may not have all the hits and it may take a few detours, but those detours are picturesque and necessary for fleshing out what winds up as a potent portrait of Buck at the peak of his powers.