About The Artist
Albert (Buck) Griffin's journey to country music did not take the usual turn to get on the scene. He became a songwriter and found inspiration through the job he had at the time - selling Bibles. Each home he visited it seemed gave him a different story, sometimes of a hard life the families were experiencing.
He was born in Corsicana, Texas, but while growing up, he lived in Oklahoma and Kansas City.
He started playing a cheap (one article termed it 'badly bruised') guitar when he was twelve years old. He started to develop his skills and when he was 14, he and three other friends formed their own band and began playing at school and local dances. Buck would do the vocals.
He left the family farm when he was 15 and took a job digging ditches for pipelines in Kansas. A few years later, he was working in the oil fields.
Around 1950, he landed his first real radio job over radio station WKY in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. A Cowboy Songs short feature on Buck notes that the station's program director, Paul Brawner, heard him audition and signed him up. Shortly after that, he had a two year recording contract with the Lin Record company based in Gainesville, Texas. But he was using the name of Chuck Wyman, because Buck thought it '...sounded more western'. By that time, he was married and they had a boy and girl.
Uncle Jim Christie noted in a 1955 column that he had a visit in his studio by Joe Leonard, Jr. of Lin Records who was probably on a promotional tour, promoting two recently signed artists, Buck and Frank Starr.
In August 1955, he cut his first gospel tunes, "Next To Mine" b/w "Lord, Give Me Strength". Country & Western Jamboree as they so often did back then, offered a couple lines about these tunes in their feature, "Checkin' The Records." "..When the Lord takes him away he wants to be buried next to her. Buck also asks for strength to tell the world about God."
In early 1955, Martha Fergerson was reporting that Buck had moved his base of operations to Great Bend, Kansas. He was to have his own televsion show over the new station, KCKT.
A 1957 feature article on Buck Griffin by Smokey Warren in Rustic Rhythm did not offer much else in the way of new information not already seen in previous articles leading up to Buck's signing with MGM records.
Many country music stars of that era had a fan club and Buck was no different. Along about early 1956, Joan Shaffer of Marietta, Oklahoma was telling Country & Western Jamboree magazine that they had just formed one for Buck and were letting them know he was now a regular on the Big D Jamboree. What is interesting at times is where the president of the fan club was located in relation to where the star was based. In early 1958, Janice Ewing was Buck's fan club president (it was also for Andy Starr) and she was located in Imperial, Pennsylvania.
Credits & Sources
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