Bobby Bare Sings Shel Silverstein Plus

Bobby Bare

Bear Family Recordings, 2020

http://www.bobbybare.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/13/2020

If you're a fan of country music legend Bobby Bare, you're really going to love this project, as it collects more than 100 Shel Silverstein songs he recorded between 1972-1983. Spanned out across eight discs and housed in an LP sized box, there's even 25 unreleased tracks included, as well as a 128-page hardcover book with lyrics, photos and an interview. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Although known mostly as an author of poetry and children's books, Silverstein was also an accomplished folksinger and songwriter. He even penned “A Boy Named Sue,” which Johnny Cash popularized. Silverstein and Bare became friends despite their seemingly very different lifestyles, and six of the discs here cover Silverstein's work written specifically for Bare, including the albums Lullabys, Legends, And Lies; Singin' In The Kitchen; Hard Time Hungrys; Great American Saturday Night; Down & Dirty; Drunk & Crazy.

Though he's certainly known first and foremost as a country musician, Bare was often quite diverse. Songs like the folk spirit of “Marie Laveau,” as well as the FM dial-friendly “Daddy What If” certainly prove that. Meanwhile, the pedal steel and fiddle prowess of “You Know Who” reinforce his strong country delivery.

Of the two other discs, which are appropriately titled Stray Bare Tracks and More Stray Bare Tracks, “February Snow” is a great example of Bare's pensive side, while “Someplace To Come When It Rains” displays Bare's inimitable drawl alongside aching melodies that sound right at home in Nashville.

The bulk of these tunes have been available elsewhere, but here they're all collected in one convenient place that spans eight hours of music. Sure, Silverstein, a beatnik with a very atypical lyrical approach, and Bare, the outlaw country star, might seem like an unlikely pair, but their combined skill set resulted in some of the best music ever made.

Rating: A

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