Bobby Bare The Moon Was Blue

Bare rarely gets mentioned in the same breath as contemporaries like George Jones and Merle Haggard, but he remains one of the great Nashville song stylists, having first popularised standards like "Detroit City” and "Streets of Baltimore.” And since his son Bobby Bare Jr. is now established within the new school of Nashville rebels, it makes sense that it’s the right time for Bare to take another shot with the traditional country audience. With Bare Jr. co-producing, The Moon Is Blue certainly has all the trappings of a classic Nashville recording: subtle instrumentation sweetened by strings and backing vocalists. Bare was never a full-fledged Outlaw, and his rich baritone still seems at home in this semi-orchestrated setting. But the key has always been the song selection, and on this front there aren’t many surprises. Most come from the golden age of pop balladry ("It’s All In The Game”; "Love Letters In The Sand”), but with "Everybody’s Talkin’” and frequent collaborator Shel Silverstein’s "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan,” Bare shows he could get more contemporary if he was so inclined. Until then, this subdued offering will have to suffice to re-stake his claim as part of Nashville’s rapidly vanishing old guard. (Dualtone)