Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Bobby Bare

  • Lullabys, Legends and Lies [RCA Victor, 1973] C+
  • Cowboys and Daddys [RCA Victor, 1975] A-
  • Sleeper Wherever I Fall [Columbia, 1979] C+
  • The Moon Was Blue [Dualtone, 2005] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Lullabys, Legends and Lies [RCA Victor, 1973]
I admit to a weakness for Shel Silverstein, who wrote all fourteen songs on this record--or rather, these two records, as this is Nashville's first country oratorio or something (subject: America or something). But even for a fan, Silverstein's jokes and tugs on the heartstrings wear thin after half an hour (if not ten minutes). Nor does the audience of cronies yukking it up and singing along do much for Bare's interpretations, which verge on the obvious under the best of circumstances. C+

Cowboys and Daddys [RCA Victor, 1975]
Bare's cowboys wonder how come they're in Calgary, eat stew just like in the movies, scoff at poets, fuck cows, and lie about their age. His daddys lie about cowboys. With two good-to-great songs apiece from Shel Silverstein ("The Stranger" comes complete with bleep), Dave Hickey ("Calgary Snow" is as intricate as good Jackson Browne and a lot wiser), and Terry Allen ("Amarillo Highway" melds Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills for a self-conscious age) plus Marty Cooper's theme statement, this does as much for the outlaw ethos as Waylon and Willie put together. A-

Sleeper Wherever I Fall [Columbia, 1979]
In case you were wondering what Bill Graham's been up to, here he is directing the career of a Nashville veteran with a great ear who's never fulfilled his great expectations. His CBS debut, Bare, was a Shel Silverstein collaboration that offered its fair share of pleasures, but it didn't sell, so this one goes rock-schlock, befouling good songs with strings that aren't up to Parton and Byrdsy cadences that aren't up to McGuinn, Clark & Hillman. Fortunately, the new one hasn't sold either. C+

The Moon Was Blue [Dualtone, 2005] Dud