Bobby Bare Biography

Review The Artist (23)

Bobby Bare-photo
b. Robert Joseph Bare, 7 April 1935, Ironton, Ohio, USA. Bare was raised on a farm; his mother died when he was five, and his sister was adopted. As an adolescent, he dreamed of being Hank Williams: "then Hank died and I didn't want to be like him no more". Nevertheless, he started songwriting and secured an early morning radio spot, and later worked on television in Charleston, West Virginia. He moved to California and impressed Capitol Records, recording for them in 1955. After receiving his draft notice in 1958, he wrote a parody of Elvis Presley going into the army, "All American Boy". Returning to Ohio to join the army, he met his friend Bill Parsons and joined his recording session. He contributed "All American Boy' with the intention that Parsons would learn it later. Parsons" name was put on the tape-box because Bare was still under contract to Capitol. The label's owner liked "All American Boy' and released it under Parsons" name. The single climbed to number 2 on the US charts and made number 22 in the UK. The song resembles Shel Silverstein's, which was later recorded by Bare, but most of Bare's early songs were straight country, being recorded by such contemporary stars as Wynn Stewart and Ferlin Husky.

Bare resumed his own career on leaving the army, but his singles ("Lynchin' Party", "Sailor Man", "Lorena") made little impact.

He wrote twist songs for Chubby Checker's movie Teenage Millionaire, but Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard persuaded Chet Atkins to record him for RCA-Victor Records. A ballad, "Shame On Me", made number 23 on the US pop charts and crossed over to the country market. Bare was travelling to Nashville to record the follow-up when he heard Billy Grammar's "I Wanna Go Home" on the radio. He admired the story of the country boy going to the city ("By day I make the cars/By night I make the bars") so much that he recorded the song as "Detroit City". Bare's record made number 16 on the US charts and won a Grammy. He had his biggest US hit (number 10) with "500 Miles Away From Home". His fourth pop hit (number 33) came with "Miller's Cave". Bare appeared in the 1964 movie A Distant Trumpet, but he disliked being stuck in the Arizona desert and was determined to move to Nashville, join the Grand Ole Opry and become a full-time country singer. He recorded prolifically, including an album of standards with Skeeter Davis that featured a successful single, "A Dear John Letter". In 1966, Bare returned to his favourite theme (a country boy uneasy in the city) with the Tompall Glaser and Harlan Howard song "Streets Of Baltimore", which was arranged by Ray Stevens. It was followed by Tom T. Hall's "Margie's At The Lincoln Park Inn". "It's a great cheating song," says Bare, "because you don't know if the guy is going to go back or not." By this time, Bare was recording consistently strong material, including an album about nostalgia, A Bird Named Yesterday, mostly written by Jack Clement.

In 1970, Bare moved to Mercury Records and found success with two early Kris Kristofferson compositions, "Come Sundown" and "Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends". Producer Jerry Kennedy's pared-down arrangements were ideal for his half-singing, half-talking style. Chet Atkins invited him back to RCA, where he signed on condition that he could produce his own records. He subsequently recruited songwriter Shel Silverstein to compose an album. The concept was simply one of stories, but Lullabys, Legends And Lies, released as a double album in the USA and a single album in the UK with no loss in music, has become a classic country album. It included the Cajun "Marie Laveau", based on fact, which is his only US country number 1 and a concert favourite where Bare, arm outstretched, fist clenched, punches out the words. He had a US country hit with another track, "Daddy What If", featuring his five-year-old son, Bobby Bare Jnr. "The Winner", a witty song about the price of winning, had another 20 verses, which Bare omitted but which were subsequently published in Playboy. Another Silverstein-Bare collaboration, Hard Time Hungrys, dealt with social issues and included a sombre song about unemployment, "Daddy's Been Around The House Too Long'. The success of his good-natured, family album Singin" In The Kitchen, was marred by the death of his daughter, Cari, in 1976. Bare, never one to stand still, took chances by recording such strange, controversial material as "Dropkick Me Jesus (Through The Goalposts Of Life)" and the expletive-driven "Redneck Hippie Romance". He returned to the mainstream with the superb Bare in 1978, which included laid-back ballads ("Too Many Nights Alone", "Childhood Hero") and the hilarious "Greasy Grit Gravy" with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Dr. Hook. His album, Sleeper Wherever I Fall, cost $100,000 to make, but Bare was lost in the varied arrangements and reverted to albums with small studio audiences. In 1979, Bare helped to establish Rosanne Cash's career by singing with her on "No Memories Hangin' Round". Bare's singles for Columbia Records included "The Jogger", "Tequila Sheila", "Gotta Get Rid Of This Band", "When Hippies Get Older" and "Numbers", inspired by the Dudley Moore movie 10.

Although his record sales dropped off during this decade, Bare retained a loyal following and the respect of a new generation of country artists. He has become more laconic and droopy-eyed with age but continues to entertain audiences around the world. "I like everything I record. I'm afraid that if I recorded something that I didn't like, it might be a big hit and I'd be stuck with it every night for the rest of my life. That's a real nightmare."

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great songs | Reviewer: Roger Day | 3/23/14

Met Bobby Bare in Minniapolis airport, good visit, 2nd time in truck-stop in Nevada, another good visit, 3rd time in Slt Lake airport, could not remember my name, but did remember my hat, still got it & looking forward to next visit soon.

met him 1992 | Reviewer: scott hildenbrand | 3/21/14

Met Bobby at a place called Chicken Lips Saloon in Yucca Valley Ca. He walked in and turned to me in the front row and offered his hand which i readily accepted. He then got on the stage and asked me what i wanted to hear first(blind willie harper), talked to him after the show. Still one of the greatest thrills of my life. A truly COOL dude!!!

StreetsOf Baltimore | Reviewer: Richard Dickey | 10/29/13


Proud to be related to Boby Bare | Reviewer: Betty Conley DeWald | 10/17/13

Bobbys grandmother on his mothers side helped to raise him,her name was{ Nettie Smith],she was my grandfathers [Atalee Conleys] sister.She and Bobby lived in Springfield when I was very small.My dad[Winfred Conley] and uncles, they were first cousins, would hang out and go bar hopping where Bobby would sing.I have heard so many good things about him I wish I had met him.They said when he began to make money he took care of Aunt Net.I have never heard a bad word about him.

Seeing Bobby Bare & LeRoy VanDyke | Reviewer: Judy Booms | 9/15/13

It was in Oct about 2000 we were planning to leave for Florida with my sister-in-law and her husband Don. We heard that Bobby Bare and LeRoy VanDyke would be at the Leelanau Sands Casino in Northern Michigan about 60 miles from our home. We are so happy that we stayed to see the show. They both did a great job putting on that show. I love the song "Streets of Baltimore"

Bobby's sister Lois Russell | Reviewer: John D, Higgins | 6/8/13

Back in 1960-1961 I was in the Air Force stationed at Eielson AFB outside of Fairbanks Alaska. My wife and I were neighbors and good friends of Bobby's sister Lois and her husband Don. Lois and Don had twin girls. Lost contact with them when reassigned to the states.
Went to a Bobby Bare concert in the early 90's in Mount Vernon Ohio and met Bobby and sadly found out that my military co-worker Don had died and that Lois was living in San Antonio.
So this is really not about Bobby but instead about his sister Lois. Would like to be able to get in touch with her again (some 50 years later).

Bobby Bare An Insperation ! | Reviewer: Timothy Pitts | 10/25/12

When i was about 9 years old My Parent's introduced me to the Bare,with song's like Marie Laveau, Tequila Sheila, And Number's, which eventually lead me to Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson , Bobby Bare is a dying breed an american country icon, Thank's Bobby for all the music !

bare on television | Reviewer: deborah doty | 4/30/12

bobby is why i watch rfd. he is on the midwestern country show and sometimes on country reunion. i have listened to his music since the sixtys and never get tired of detroit city or any of his songs. one song that he sung i heard on a heehaw rerun show on rfd last night and i wish i knew the name of the song. one line was something abou as she lay sleeping and then she would be leaving. a pretty song.

What a Great entertainer | Reviewer: Mckay Moore | 4/20/12

I was lucky enough to see Bobby Bare at a school house in Lacy, WA. a long time ago, and I will never forget it, there was only about 100 people there, so it was really nice and cordial.

guitar playing | Reviewer: Janice Dayton | 8/21/10

My husband Charles Dayton told me a story about a boy that waited on his steps waiting for him to come from work, so he could learn about playing the guitar. That boy name was Bobby Bare. This was in Vinton County Ohio in the late forties or early fifties. Charles was married to June Dayton at that time. Iam Charles second wife. Charles passed a way 2005 I wonder if you are the same Bobby Bare.

singin in the kitchen & the cochise co. fair 1976 | Reviewer: dw thomas | 11/3/09

I was 10 years old then and remember this song being sang, most notably everytime he had to sing "singin in the kitchen" he would send the mike down to the kids to sing it for him.
I still remember having to sing the verse with a cold and did the amps help intensify my hoarse voice. I have a memory of a concert not even my kids have and still cherish it. Best wishes and health to you and yours. D.W.T.

Detroit City, 1963 . . . | Reviewer: Dave Hulsey | 10/27/09

Well I guess I have been a fan of Bobby Bare for almost 50 years. I was 15 years old in 1963 we lived on a military base (my father was in the Air Force). There was a juke box in the base snack bar and Detroit City had to be the most popular song. You could see it in the faces of those young GI's -- everyone related to that idea of "I want to go home".

What a great singer and song writer! If a man cannot relate to Bobby Bare, he may not be a real American (or he may not be a real man).

When I was in Nashville a few years ago, I walked out of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and went across the street to the Ernest Tubb Record Store. I had one singer on my mind--Bobby Bare. I purchased a Bobby Bare greatest hits CD and I sure got my money's worth.

Now I try to learn the history and the collaboration of every great Bare song. The more I know, the better I like him.

Sure would like to see him on stage.


Ironton Ohio years | Reviewer: Lamar Hall | 10/19/09

I met Bob while I was home on leave we had a coupla cold drinks and hung abit. After I got out of the service I ran into his brothe Buzzard or Lawrence I was wondering why he is never mentioned as Bobs family and how he is doing Bob always loved your music still have first album Thanks for the memories

My daddy used to be friends with Bobby | Reviewer: Debra | 7/13/09

Hi..My daddy used to be friends with Bobby Bare many years ago, around in the late 1950's. I do believe they would play music together and do some partying...My dad's name is Thelmer Wolford...We lived around Wellston, Ohio. My daddy has many good things to say about Bobby. God bless you.

Bobby's early or first album | Reviewer: George Lester | 4/18/09

I was a DJ for a rock and roll station in San Antonio. I think it must have been about 1965. We received Bobby's album and even though it didn't really fit our format we were so impressed by his talent we played it on our station. I personally was crazy about his singing and the songs and when I heard he was to be appearing soon in San Antonio I managed to get a backstage pass hoping to meet this great new country sensation. I found his dressing room and popped in to talk to him. I raved on and on about how much I enjoyed his new album and how I played it even though we weren't a country station. Bobby sat there politely listening to the praise I was piling on him without comment. Just about then one of his friends walked by the dressing room door. Bobby called out to him to wait up and then he got up and walked away chatting with him as if I had never even been in the room. At the time I thought he must be the rudest person I had ever met. Later, after talking to others who knew him, I learned that was just one his peculiarities and he meant no harm. I would really appreciate information on what album that was so I could get the CD. The only thing I can remember was a song about how he would lie awake at night and listen to some neighbor girls singing next door in Newport, Arkansas. I would cherish that album if I could buy it

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