*** NEW INFO!!! ***
A BIG "THANK YOU" to Buddy Davis, longtime Buckaroo fan, for the info!!!
Currently I am in the process of updating this page with all the information I have recently gathered. It isn't finished yet, but here's what's done so far:
The Buckaroos were - and are - Buck Owens' band, and they have a lot of history!
Buckaroos of the Hee Haw days...
The first few episodes of "Hee Haw" featured Don Rich on guitar, Doyle Holly playing bass, Jerry Wiggins on the drums, and Jay Dee Maness playing steel guitar. During the early days of the show, Don Rich was "Hee Haw's" music director.
Jerry Wiggins is a hard man to find. In October 1971 he married Susan Raye, the pretty singer who toured with the Buckaroos. Together, they have six children. He was the drummer from 1967 to 1978, when he and wife Susan Raye stepped out of the limelight to spend time with their family. They live a VERY private life! I don't even know if they are still married. SO...here is your invitation to let me know. (It's not a good sign when you google a name to learn more about the person, and your own site turns up.)
Jay Dee Maness was only with the Buckaroos for a few months. When "Hee Haw" became part of CBS' fall 1969 lineup, he was out, and Doyle Curtsinger (also known as Singer) was in. Jay Dee has gone on to have a long and storied career. He has his own website, JayDeeManess.com, where you can read ALL about him. The list of musicians he's worked with is astounding. One of his bands, the Desert Rose Band, recorded one of my favorite songs of all time, "Start All Over Again."
Doyle Singer still plays with Buck at the Crystal Palace. He took over at bass in 1969 and Doyle Holly moved to rhythm guitar. Besides playing bass, Doyle Singer has a great tenor voice and can be heard hitting the high notes with Buck.
Dashing Doyle Holly is still playing, though not regularly with Buck anymore. In the fall of 2005, he and fellow ex-Buckaroos Tom Brumley and Willie Cantu (see more on them below) started playing together again. He's still pretty dashing too! A Buckaroo for 7 1/2 years, he left the band to begin a solo career in 1971. He performed on the show as a musical guest. His band opened for many acts over the years. He has his own website where you can find photos and information. I didn't create Doyle's site, it's his own, and it's quite informative. Be sure to sign his guestbook. He might e-mail you! (He sent me one!) Here's an interview with the Oklahoma native who now calls Nashville home: Doyle Holly; and a link to another story about Doyle: Country Standard Time. This article has the sweetest story about Don Rich...I just love this one.
One reason I started the Hee Haw web tribute is because I am a die-hard, totally devoted Don Rich fan and there is very little about him on the web. Be careful when you search for info related to him - there is a Cajun singer named Don Rich who is definitely not the same guy! Not that he's bad or anything...he's just not the same! Actually, not long ago, I read that the Cajun Don Rich got his stage name from the Buckaroo, because he and his father liked the Buckaroo Don so much. I don't know if that's true, but it's believable.
By clicking on the above link, you can read all about "Dangerous" Don Rich, who was a Buckaroo from 1960 (though he played with Buck before that, too, in the late 1950's when both were living in Washington) until July 17, 1974, when Don was killed in a motorcycle crash. After Don's death, Buck went through a long period of depression. His music suffered, and he has been quoted as saying that he was "just going through the motions."
The lineup of the Buckaroos on Hee Haw changed a lot over the years. Before Don's death, there were a few additions to the band: Jim Shaw in 1970, Ronnie Jackson in 1971, and Jerry Brightman in 1972.
Jim Shaw began playing keyboard for the Buckaroos in 1970, and he's still working with Buck too. Here is a link to an interview with him.
Jerry Brightman joined the Buckaroos in 1972 and played steel guitar on "Hee Haw" until 1976 (134 shows). He stopped playing professionally for quite a while, but he's returned to recording again, and if you click on his name link you can visit his very interesting web site (no, I didn't create it, I wish I was that good!) You'll find several good "Hee Haw" photos as well as many, many more photos. Jerry has had a very interesting career, since he started playing at such a young age. He's added a great Don Rich tribute. Check it out! Also be sure to check out Jerry's schedule to see when he'll be performing near you.
Ronnie Jackson played banjo and rhythm guitar for the Buckaroos in the early 1970's, on such hits as "Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms" and "Ruby." I have no idea where he is now. Again, here's an invitation to e-mail me with anything you know about him!
As soon as I can - hopefully by the end of this week (1/23/06) - I'll be adding more information here about the post-Don Rich Buckaroos such as Jana Jae (who has her own page on my site, by the way), Don Lee, and more.
The multi-talented Terry Christoffersen became a Buckaroo in 1975 and is still working for Buck Owens today. He manages Buck's Crystal Palace and plays in the band on weekends. Here is a link to an interview with Terry. By the way, if you e-mail the Crystal Palace, you'll most likely get a response from Terry. Nice guy.
I'm sure there were others, but these are some of the ones who recorded with Buck in the period during production of "Hee Haw." If you know of others, please e-mail me and let me know. I do ask that you provide me with a link, e-mail or snail-mail address so that I can verify all the necessary details. I just want my site to be as factual as possible!
The Pre-Hee-Haw Buckaroos
Before Hee Haw, there were quite a few other Buckaroos, including Wayne Wilson, who played bass during a nine-month period when Doyle Holly was on his own. I have been asked about him as well as Tom Brumley and Willie Cantu. I know there were others, but I don't know much about them, except that Merle Haggard filled in for a few weeks with them in the early 1960's. I don't know where Wayne Wilson is today.
Tom Brumley and Willie Cantu play with Doyle Holly (see above) on the Buckaroos Reunion Tour.
Tom Brumley was a Buckaroo from 1964 to 1969 and these days, he can be found in Branson, MO. He was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1992. A star in his own right, he is a son of the late Albert E. Brumley, a legend in the Southern Gospel publishing business. You can see a recent photo of Tom on Jerry Brightman's site (listed above).
The last I heard, Willie Cantu was living in Nashville, teaching drum classes at Donelson Music, and playing with the Tennessee Scots, a pipe band whose motto is "Ceol na Gael," or "Music of the Gaelic People." He is still a musician's musician - he is involved in the development of new drumming technology as you can read about on this site: Harmony Central
Buckaroos Discography from LP Discography, a Czech website! It's not just about the Buckaroos, but it's great. You absolutely HAVE to visit; you can hear "Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy"!
The Bakersfield Almanac is a good source of old photos, etc.
If you know of links to other Buckaroos, please let me know!
Go back to the cast page
Go back to the home page