My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Classic Rewind: Bobby Bare – ‘Detroit City’

8 responses to “Classic Rewind: Bobby Bare – ‘Detroit City’

  1. Paul W Dennis June 30, 2015 at 6:28 am

    nice cover of Billy Grammer’s top twenty hit from earlier in 1963

  2. Ken June 30, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Great performance by Bare and a rare chance to see the Anita Kerr singers working their magic! This was Bare’s first top ten country hit [#6 in 1963] and was not even a year old at the time of this taping.

    In April 1964 a contingent of RCA Victor artists made a three-week tour of Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland and Belgium. Jim Reeves headlined the show backed by two members of his Blue Boys band – guitarist Leo Jackson & pianist Dean Manuel. They were augmented by two Nashville studio musicians – drummer Kenneth Buttrey and bassist Henry Strezlecki. That show featured Bobby Bare, Chet Atkins & The Anita Kerr Singers and played civilian concerts and U.S. military bases. The second of two shows at the Njardhallen Sportshall in Oslo, Norway was videotaped for broadcast on April 15, 1964. That is where the above clip came from.

    The entire show is posted on youtube. The concert begins at about the 5:00 mark following a discussion about the venue and a visit to the tape vault where the 1964 videotape is stored. It’s a wonderful piece of country music history and an opportunity to see Jim Reeves onstage at the peak of his career just three months before he died.

  3. luckyoldsun June 30, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Bare was a lot like Johnny Cash, in his deep, sparse delivery and ability to put over a story. But because Bare never became a living monument like Cash did, he was able to be even more experimental and daring, in some ways.
    I don’t think Cash recorded songs–even album cuts–about forced castration and humorous takes on bestiality–or men with two members–like Bare did!
    It was good that they finally put Bare in the Hall of Fame.

    • Ken July 1, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Your comparison of Bobby Bare to Johnny Cash couldn’t be more off-base. Cash was a multi-talented American Icon. Singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, actor and writer. Not to mention that he created a unique style and sound to showcase his music with the help of Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant. Cash has been referred to as “The John Wayne Of Country Music” indicating the exceptional impact he had on American culture during the second half of the 20th century. He was truly bigger than life.

      Bobby Bare is an exceptional singer and interpreter of lyrics but he never had Cash’s other credentials. Most notably he lacked an exciting or memorable stage presence that likely kept him from becoming a superstar. As for the bizarre deviant songs Bare recorded that you seem to love so much, they never brought him greater career success and have been all but forgotten save for a few folks such as yourself. Those songs had little to do with his induction to the Country Music Hall Of Fame. “Detroit City,” “500 Miles Away From Home,” “Margie’s At The Lincoln Park Inn” and “How I Got To Memphis” helped to put him there.

  4. luckyoldsun July 2, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Nothing that you said about Cash or Bare contradicts the reasonable comparison that I made.
    In fact, you seem to want to confirm my point. I called Cash a living monument; you called him “bigger than life,”
    In any event, Bare, while he didn’t quite become a superstar and only had one record make it to the top of the chart, had an surprisingly long and consistent career in the country music major leagues: Beginning in 1962, Bare went 15 years where he had at least one top-20 hit every year–and 22 years with at least one single in the top 40 each year.

    • Paul W Dennis July 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      I think that Bare’s ticket to the CMHOF was punched by the fine work he recorded on his two stints with RCA and his years on Mercury. While I remember and enjoy Bare’s Columbia output
      (I think I have all of them) they are a notch below Bare’s excellent RCA and Mercury recordings – in fact, I would pick the Mercury albums as my favorites

      According to the highly respected Record World, the following Bobby Bare songs also made it to #1 during the 1970s “Come Sundown”, “Please Don’t Tell Me How The How The Story Ends” and “Daddy, What If”.

      Currently, I only have the RW charts for the 1970s but I just ordered Joel Whitburn’s soon to be published book of Music Vendor/Record World country charts from 1958-1982. I would not be stunned if Bare had another #1 record or two during the 1960s.

      I saw Bare perform once in England in 1970 or 1971, and three or four times at the late and lamented Florida Sunshine Opry from 2005 – 2012. I enjoy Bare’s wry sense of humor but as a live performer he’s not very exciting

      • luckyoldsun July 4, 2015 at 4:42 pm

        I bought a 2-CD German label set of all of Bare’s early, RCA recordings. While, I think he’s great all around, after “Detroit City” and “500 Miles,” he seemed to get pigeonholed where one song after another had him moaning about wanting to go home. It became almost comical.
        I think Bare’s music benefited from the later change in approach, where he emphasized his more aggressive and “macho” side. Hey, he managed to put across the ridiculous “Drop Kick Me Jesus”–allegedly Bill Clinton’s “favorite” country song–by giving it a completely straight delivery. And Bare was continuing to get airplay with story songs about fighters and drunks and degenerates of sorts in the late ’70/early ’80s when Cash had essentially been banished from radio.
        I’m surprised that, as you say. the wild personality that Bare showed on his records didn’t come through in concert.
        BTW, though Bare’s recent “Darker than Light” CD seemed to disappear from any attention very quickly, it’s a great album and ranks up there with Cash’s American recordings in terms of an older singer coming back with an adventuresome array of diverse material.

        • Ken July 5, 2015 at 12:40 pm

          Once again you are drawing a conclusion that is simply not based on fact. Bobby Bare’s songs included a wide variety of material during his first RCA Victor stint (1962-1969) His singles dealt with many more topics than just “wanting to go home.” You might consider investigating an artist’s discography beyond only one CD set before making sweeping statements regarding their music. Bare was far from “pigeonholed” during that era releasing many excellent albums. But despite his best efforts he did not have consistent chart success with singles. However his material a decade later for Columbia (1978- 1983) was even LESS successful. If his music benefited from “a change of approach” as you stated, I cannot imagine what that would be. Bare did not score even one top ten single hit or have one best-selling album during that era of his career. Actually Johnny Cash had more single chart success during that time period. Cash also sold many more albums than Bare did! Cash was never “banished from radio” though he did not have consistent hits. Neither artist exactly burned up the charts at that time but to state that Bare somehow held a significant edge over Cash is completely wrong and ignores the facts.

          By the way if you read Paul’s post carefully you will note that he never said that Bare had a “wild personality” on his recordings so I don’t know how you made that assumption. Paul did state that Bare had a “wry sense of humor” which matched Bare’s laid-back personality. That low-key personality was reflected in his onstage presence.

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