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BOBBY BARE/As Is-Ain't Got Nothing to Lose: With Bobby Bare being a touch older than the rest and not wearing the usual outlaw clothes, you didn't really think of him as part of the outlaw movement, especially since he didn't really seem to hit his outlaw stride until after he left RCA for Columbia where Bill Graham took over his management and moved him away from the countrypolitan side of things. You have to give Raven props for recognizing Bare's Columbia years in ways CBS/Sony never seems to have. Basically at the end of reissuing his entire Columbia output, this twofer finds him taking a break from his usual and letting pre-breakout Rodney Crowell run things. This brought Bare in closer contact with the Emmylou gang and found him covering Guy Clark, Van Zandt, etc, with the Cherry Bombs/Hot Band in tow. As usual, there's a lot of interesting, subtle things going on here. Bare makes "Summer Wages" find it's mournful core in ways writer Ian Tyson never brought out. Then he turns the tables and makes Clark's mournful ode to a drunk who died alone for want of a Dallas whore into the kind of jaunty, countrypolitan thing he might have done at RCA. These records had their hits but were basically under rated and were recorded just at the cusp of country radio banishing everyone over 30 or who started recording before a certain date. The over and out sides find him reteaming with long time running mate, Shel Silverstein, and heading into early retirement on a high note. All four of Raven's forays into Bare's Columbia years are well worth owning, outlaw fan or not. Hot stuff.

FREDDY FENDER/Before the Next Teardrop Falls-Are You Ready for Freddy: That Fender didn't get the proper respect until he became a Texas Tornado is made more evident in the course of his break through hit and it's follow up. How can you pair an iconic track like "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" with "How Much is that Doggie in the Window"? Such are the choices made by producers that wind up reflecting on their acts. Killing his momentum right in it's tracks, Fender shouldered the weight and came to the studio each time to do his best. The two killer hits are worth the price of admission and the ill advised covers often are brought more credibility than Trini Lopez trodding the same ground aiming for a crossover audience that could only scratch their heads. There's no undermining Fender's vocal chops and that what you come here for.

Volume 36/Number 11
November 11, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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