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Bobby Bare

Bobby Bare's story is nearly as fascinating as his music. Bare's mother died when he was five. His father couldn't earn enough money to feed his children, forcing the family to split up. Bare was working on a farm by the time he was 15 years old, later working in factories and selling ice cream to support himself. Building his first guitar, he began playing music in his late teens, performing with a local Ohio band in Springfield.

In the late '50s, he moved out to Los Angeles. Bare's first appearance on record was in 1958, as he recorded his own talking blues "The All American Boy," which was credited to Bill Parsons. A number of labels refused the record before the Ohio-based Fraternity Records bought it for 50 dollars; the fee also included the publishing rights. "The All American Boy" was released in 1959 and it surprisingly became the second-biggest single in the U.S. that December, crossing over to the pop charts and peaking at number three. The single was also a big hit in the U.K., reaching number 22.

Before Bare could capitalize on his success, he was drafted into the armed forces. While he was on duty, Fraternity hired another singer to become Bill Parsons and sent him out on tour. After Bare left the army, he became roommates with Willie Nelson. During this time, he decided to become a pop singer. Soon, he was touring with pop/rock stars like Roy Orbison and Bobby Darin, recording records for a number of California labels. Meanwhile, his songs were being recorded by a number of artists; three of his tunes were featured in the Chubby Checker movie Teenage Millionaire.

Even though he was having some modest success, Bare decided he wasn't fulfilled playing pop music. Instead, he turned back to country, developing a distinctive blend of country, folk, and pop. In 1962, Chet Atkins signed him to RCA Records. By the end of the year, he had a hit with "Shame on You," which was notable for being one of the first records out of Nashville to make concessions to the pop charts by featuring horns. The production worked, as the single broke into the pop charts. The following year, he recorded Mel Tillis and Danny Dill's "Detroit City," which became his second straight single to make both the country and pop charts. Bare followed up the single with a traditional folk song, "500 Miles from Home." It was another big hit for the singer, peaking in the Top Ten on both the country and pop charts. Bare continued to rack up hits in 1964 and 1965, as well as appearing in the Western movie A Distant Trumpet.

As the '60s progressed, Bare continued to blur the lines between country and folk, as he was influenced by songwriters like Bob Dylan, recording material by Dylan and several of his contemporaries. Not only did he explore American folk, but Bare traveled to England, where he was popular. In 1968, he recorded an album with a Liverpool country band called the Hillsiders (The English Country Side), which signaled his artistic drive.

Bare switched record labels in 1970, signing with Mercury Records. He stayed at the label for two years, producing a string of Top Ten hits, including "How I Got to Memphis," "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends," and "Come Sundown." Upon leaving Mercury, he recorded an album for United Artists called This Is Bare Country, which remained unreleased until 1976; instead, the label released a collection, The Very Best of Bobby Bare. After leaving UA, he re-signed with RCA in 1973.

Later in 1973, Bare released a double album of Shel Silverstein songs, Bobby Bare Sings Lullabys, Legends and Lies. Not only did the album represent the beginning of a collaboration with Silverstein, it was arguably the first country concept album, adding fire to the outlaw movement of the '70s in the process. The record was a hit with country audiences as well as rock fans, gaining airplay on FM radio stations. The following year, he had his first number one single with "Marie Laveau." Bare released another record of Silverstein songs, Bobby Bare and the Family Singin' in the Kitchen, in 1975. Sadly, the singer's oldest daughter died shortly after he recorded the album; she was only 15.

In 1977, Bare received a major publicity push from Bill Graham, the legendary rock concert promoter. Graham signed the singer to his management company, proclaiming that Bare was the "Springsteen of country music." Soon, the singer found new audiences at college campuses and in Canada. He switched record labels the same year, recording the self-produced Bare for Columbia. Two years later, he released Sleeper Whenever I Fall, which featured contributions from Rodney Crowell and rearranged rock & roll songs like the the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time" and the Byrds' "Feel a Whole Lot Better." Bare resumed his collaboration with Silverstein in 1980, releasing the live collection Down and Dirty, which spawned two humorous hits, "Numbers" and "Tequila Sheila." The following year, he released As Is, which showed that he was continuing to record a diverse selection of songwriters, including Townes Van Zandt, J.J. Cale, and Guy Clark.

Despite the fact that his work was consistently critically acclaimed, Bare's record sales began to slip in the early '80s, as the 1982 Silverstein collaboration Drinkin' from the Bottle, Singin' from the Heart and his 1985 record for EMI failed to launch any major hit singles. Nevertheless, Bare continued to retain a devoted following in the U.S. and the U.K., and his influence on contemporary country music remains evident. In 2005, the Dualtone label coaxed Bare out of retirement and released a new album, The Moon Was Blue, produced by his son Bobby Bare Jr. Bare continued to perform concerts regularly over the next few years but he didn't return to the recording studio until 2012, when cut a collection of folk songs called Darker Than Light. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Darker Than Light

1. Going Down The Road Feeling Bad

2. John Hardy

3. Boll Weevil

4. Farewell Angelina

5. House Of The Rising Sun

6. Lookout Mountain

7. I Was Drunk

8. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

9. Dark As A Dungeon

10. I Was A Young Man Once

11. Banks Of The Ohio

12. Shenandoah

13. Woody

14. Tennessee Stud

15. Tom Dooley

16. The Devil And Billy Markham


Track List: Cowboys And Daddys / Me And McDill

1. The Cowboy And The Poet (Faster Horses)

2. Cowboys And Daddys

3. High Plains Jamboree

4. Chester

5. Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother

6. The Stranger

7. Amarillo Highway

8. Speckled Pony

9. Pretty Painted Ladies

10. He's A Cowboy

11. Calgary Snow

12. Last Dance At The Old Texas Moon

13. If You Think I'm Crazy Now (You Should Have Seen Me When I Was A Kid)

14. Hillbilly Hell

15. Don't Think You're Too Good For Country Music (Just Because You Can Rock And Roll)

16. Till I Get On My Feet

17. Don't Turn Out The Light

18. Wilma Lou

19. Look Who I'm Cheating On Tonight

20. You Made A Believer Out Of Me

21. The Woman In Every Man's Life

22. Can't Seem To Get Nowhere

23. Tired Of The Road Joe

24. Daddy What If

25. Marie Lavaux


Track List: Bare / Sleeper Wherever I Fall

1. Big Dupree

2. Finger On The Button

3. Gambler

4. Yard Full Of Rusty Cars

5. Greasy Grit Gravy

6. Too Many Nights Alone

7. Childhood Hero

8. February Snow

9. This Guitar Is For Sale

10. Sing For The Song

11. Sleep Tight, Good Night Man

12. Hot Afternoon (Arizona Desert)

13. What Did It Get Me

14. Goin' Up's Easy, Comin' Down's Hard

15. Way I Feel Tonight

16. Healin'

17. Love Is A Cold Wind

19. Last Time

20. On A Real Good Night

21. Easy As Dreaming

22. Rodeo Queen


Track List: 20 Bare Essentials

1. How I Got To Memphis

2. Help Me Make It Through The Night

3. Come Sundown

4. Sylvia's Mother

5. Music City USA

6. Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends

7. Hello Darlin'

8. Short And Sweet

9. Crazy Arms

10. Lovin' Her Was Easier

11. The Year That Clayton Delaney Died

12. What Am I Gonna Do

13. Don't You Ever Get Tired Of Hurtin' Me

14. Roses Are Red My Love

15. Mama Bake A Pie, Papa Kill A Chicken

16. Lonely Street

17. For The Good Times

18. Me And Bobby McGee

19. Are You Sincere

20. Leavin' On A Jet Plane


Track List: The Moon Was Blue

1. Are You Sincere

2. I Am An Island

3. Everybody's Talkin'

4. Yesterday When I Was Young

5. Love Letters In The Sand

6. The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan

7. My Heart Cries For You

8. It's All In the Game

9. Shine On Harvest Moon

10. Am I That Easy To Forget

11. Fellow Travelers


Track List: Super Hits

1. The Streets Of Baltimore

2. Detroit City

3. 500 Miles Away From Home

4. Miller's Cave

5. Four Strong Winds

6. (Margie's At) The Lincoln Park Inn

7. It's Alright

8. Daddy What If

9. Marie Laveau

10. Dropkick Me, Jesus


Track List: All American Boy

1. All American Boy

2. Shame On Me

3. Detroit City

4. 500 Miles Away From Home

5. Miller's Cave

6. Four Strong Winds

7. Streets Of Baltimore

8. The Game Of Triangles

9. Margie's At The Lincoln Park Inn

10. Come Sundown

11. Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends

12. Ride Me Down Easy

13. Marie Laveau

14. Drop Kick Me, Jesus

15. Numbers

16. Tequila Sheila

17. He Was A Friend Of Mine

18. When I'm Gone

19. To Whom It May Concern

20. I Don't Believe I'll Fall In Love Today

21. Bye Bye Love


Track List: The Essential Bobby Bare

1. All American Boy

2. Book Of Love

3. Above And Beyond

4. Shame On Me

5. Detroit City

6. 500 Miles Away From Home

7. Miller's Cave

8. Have I Stayed Away Too Long

9. Four Strong Winds

10. It's Alright

11. Just To Satisfy You

12. The Streets Of Baltimore

13. Guess I'll Move On Down The Line

14. Charleston Railroad Tavern

15. The Town That Broke My Heart

16. Margie's At The Lincoln Park Inn

17. God Bless America Again

18. Ride Me Down Easy

19. Daddy What If

20. Marie Laveau


Track List: The Best Of Bobby Bare

1. The All-American Boy

2. I'd Fight The World

3. Detroit City

4. 500 Miles Away From Home

5. Miller's Cave

6. Have I Stayed Away Too Long

7. Long Black Limousine

8. Four Strong Winds

10. Just To Satisfy You

11. The Long Black Veil

12. The Streets Of Baltimore

13. Houston

14. Green, Green Grass Of Home

16. Charleston Railroad Tavern

17. Chicken Every Sunday

18. (Margie's At) The Lincoln Park Inn

19. God Bless America Again


Track List: Drunk & Crazy...Plus

1. Drunk And Crazy

2. Food Blues

3. The World's Last Truck Drivin' Man

4. I Can Almost See Houston From Here

5. If That Ain't Love

6. Rock And Roll Hotel

7. Song Of The South

8. Appaloosa Rider

9. Bathroom Tissue Paper Letter

10. Willie Jones

11. Gotta Get Rid Of This Band

12. Drinkin' And Druggin' And Watchin' Tv

13. Your Credit Card Won't Get You Into Heaven

14. I've Never Gone To Bed With An Ugly Woman

15. Desperados Waiting For The Train

16. Greasy Grit Gravy

17. New Cut Road

18. If You Ain't Got Nothin' (You Ain't Got Nothin' To Lose)

19. Praise The Lord And Send Me The Money

20. (They Covered Up) The Old Swimmin' Hole

22. The Jogger


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And Margie's at the Lincoln Park Inn..
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The tragedies and adversity that Bobby Bare faced makes it completely amazing that he was capable of still singing such wonderful songs. Makes me think of the song "Drop Kick Me Jesus!"
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At the risk of sounding redundant, I hope Pandora has my (I know others who are not familiar with my " stupid " requests) would love the "Lil One" song. Actual name - It's Alright; the first line is, "Hey lil one.." & "Four Strong Winds. - believe it was written by someone from the Alberta Province!" Correct me if I am in error! I take no offence! Those songs are both unique & have much to say.
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I am still hoping to hear "It's Alright & Four Strong Winds!"
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I would love to hear the song "It's Alright" the Lil One song. It's the best one you will hear!
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Many of us who are pilots, have reworded that Bobbie Bare song to say We're 5000miles away from home. To the person who wrote about driving a semi,, my Dad and I used to be on the road! He was an independent long haul trucker. Still love my country music & feel that twinge when I see or hear a semi.
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Yep. One of the greats. I always like his songs.
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one of the greatest
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Sounds like a good place to be, I'm still stuck in millers cave
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I'm still 500 miles away from home
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icecoldpanch o
Tells a good story and humerous delivery
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Great singer
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Bobby bares definitely the best of the story tellers. Daddy what if is one of the odd balls. He does it with his son when he's a kid. pretty song.
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One of my favorite singer/songw r i t e r s ! Love his voice.
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adam.castill o . 0 8 1 1
This is what Outlaw Country Music is all about, he had great influences
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phyllisharri s
going to see Bobby Bare in Jonesboro, Arkansas in August, can't wait!!
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Good ole bobby he's a winner
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I have memories of Bobby Bare, singing Singing in the kitchen, in the 1970s, when our daughters were 9 & 7 yrs old. Their grandparents (WV), visited Christmas - New Years...we spent allot of time in the kitchen. One my dad heard B.B.'s Singing in the Kitchen; he'd giggled, saying to me... that's like your n g i n g and banging on the pots and pans. Today, I love Marie Lavaeu! Bobby, thanks for the memories.
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Great song.
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one inaccuracy on here. he did release material prior to 58. He cut a 45 for the Jackpot Label in 1957 for a song called Vampira based on the late 50's horror icon.
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good clean country
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Bobby bare is a fantastic singer.
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Great song
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Great song follow me
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Great. Song
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rohnshellenb e r g e r
Had a beer with Bobby Bare at the Cotillion Ballroom in Wichita back around '80, great guy!
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Rosalie's Good Eats Cafe is one of the unheralded classics of American music. A word painting that one can only appreciate when one closes their eyes. Also interesting are the complete Shel Silverstein lyrics.
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richardtwrig h t 3
I have always liked Bobby Bares music. Where can I purchase a disc of his best music. Dick Wright
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that's how Jesus felt when Lazarus died
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The best
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Thanks Bobby! The Winner A true lesson learned..... .
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Only recently read Bare's bio....reall y interesting life. Have to say, have always loved him. Shel Silverstein. . . . a o k a lot of guts for that sort of collaboratio n in any era
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Go OHiO!!
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Thanks Bob..See you on Mille Lacs.
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Great Country Voice
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Bobby Bare, my favorite Country singer
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These guys come along 1st in a lifetime, tellin' life as it really is!!! They never get paid for their memories and the guys that do , don,t have a friggin'clue , , D a d d y Bill in Memphis...Re a l l y , Really Heartbreakin g .Call iffin you want to discuss this.. 901-834-5996 Love Ya, AMERICA, USA .Bobb Bare, Wow! what a unappreciate d 'AMERICA;'!! ! ! !
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It is impossible to listen to this great song without tapping your feet!
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he reminds me a lot of bobby goldsboro.
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he reminds me of johnny cash
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i like it was just like a year ago
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Bobby Bare is certainly one of a kind. I've had many a good evening drinking and listening to him. Go Bare.
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I like it.
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Bobby Bare, can sure sing a story!
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very impressed with bobby's life,love his music
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bobbys one of the very best at telling stories with his music thanks bobby
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spent many a evening at Rosalie All night Cafe....obby capture the feelings and the stories and I didn't feel alone anymore. Thanks Bobby
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My 2 year old cannot stop singing "Singing in the Kitchen". She loves it.
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An uncelebrated pioneer of the "outlaw movement". One of the very first Nashville types to successfully grab creative control of his own music. Greatest hits collections don't do Bobby justice. The album cuts on his records are just as good and entertaining as the "hits". Gotta listen and sing along to all of it.
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