Sign up for newsletter

Bobby Bare

The Moon Was Blue – 2005 (Dualtone)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

Find it on Amazon

Subscribe to Country CD Reviews CD Reviews

CDs by Bobby Bare

On his first solo album since 1983, Bobby Bare proves that while his voice has frayed with age, he can still change any song into a powerful personal statement.

Co-producers Mark Never and Bobby Bare Jr. ape '60s country crossover by employing cooing female back-up singers along with strings and horns. Most of the songs are pop hits from an earlier era that Bare essays with his trademark sense of laconic melancholy. As a result, the 11-song set has the feel of unfinished business finally being addressed. The country superstar brings shades of late-night, uptown jazz to "Are You Sincere." A sense of wry resignation emanates out of "Am I That Easy to Forget" and world-weary remembrance from "It's All in the Game."

At 70, Bare's vocals are a bit craggy, but his sure-fire dramatic instincts prevent such chestnuts as "Love Letters in the Sand" and "Shine on Harvest Moon" from becoming total schmaltz. Further, when he addresses such paeans to middle-class alienation as "Everybody's Talkin' At Me" and Shel Silversteins's "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan," he summons that folk-fed wanderlust that made him a legend. Not every moment is golden, but this is highly affecting work.