Masquerading as a good ol’ boy, crafty rebel interprets Shel Silverstein, helps trigger country-music revolution
When Bobby Bare recorded Lullabys, Legends and Lies in 1973, he’d already shed two successful incarnations: the jokester who, under the name Bill Parsons, released 1958 talking-blues smash “The All American Boy,” and the smooth country crooner of yearning ’60s hit “Detroit City.” Featuring boozy, live-in-the-studio grooves that suggest a party approaching chaos, Lullabys found Bare on the vanguard of the trend toward greater creative freedom in Nashville, which would soon spark the Outlaw movement. Every song here comes from the pen of Shel Silverstein (composer of Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue”), whose witty tall tales and character studies bring out the down-home charm in Bare’s soulful baritone. Highlights include voodoo yarn “Marie Laveau” and the shamelessly corny “Daddy What If,” co-starring five-year-old, future alt.country luminary Bobby Bare Jr. The second disc culls more Silverstein songs from other Bare sessions, among them the melancholy “Time,” offering a reminder of the darker ruminations behind Silverstein’s quips.