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Remembering Don Rich Today [VIDEO]

Buck Owens and his Buckaroos dominated the country music charts during the 1960′s. Their TV show Hee Haw was viewed by millions during 1970′s.

One man played a very important role in all of this. He headed up the legendary Buckaroos, played instruments that shaped their unique sound, wrote songs and sang harmony with Owens. The man’s name was Don Rich.

We lost Don to a fatal motorcycle accident on this day, July 17, 1974. The accident happened in the evening near Morro Beach, California.

Rich had just finished working at the recording studio and was traveling to join his family on a vacation. For unknown reasons, his motorcycle hit a center divider on northbound Highway 1.

Owens was devastated by the news. He later explained that his musical career ended the day Don Rich died.

He was born Donald Eugene Ulrich in Olympia, Washington on August 15, 1941, the adopted son of Bill and Anne Ulrich. Don Rich later became his stage name.

His parents began teaching Don the fiddle as early as age three. Bill also constructed a small scale violin for Don to play. His parents entered Don in numerous talent contests and had him playing at any venue. Don also moved to the guitar in his youth.

Don was only 16 years old when he opened for Elvis Presley in September 1957 at the Tacoma Lincoln Bowl. By 1958, Don was playing regularly in Steve’s Restaurant in South Tacoma. Buck Owens observed one of his shows and immediately went to speak with Don. Don was soon playing fiddle with Buck at local venues.

The video here features the legendary Buckaroos doing a little number cut back on December 29, 1964. Don’s singing and playing acoustic, Buck’s playing lead, Tom Brumley on pedal steel, Bob Morris on bass, Doyle Holly on acoustic also and Willie Cantu on drums.

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