Association of Corporate Counsel

ELLN February Music Quick Pick

Each month, I highlight an album as part of the ACC’s Employment and Labor Law Network’s outreach and engagement, and just to give you something non-legal related to enjoy every month.  I hope you join us on our Forums and at today’s monthly teleconference where we will discuss How COVID-19 Has Changed the Resolution of Employment and Labor Disputes. If you’re an in-house counsel and not part of the ACC or the ELLN, you can join ACC and ELLN today and see what we’re all about!  I hope to (virtually) see you soon.

ELLN February Music Quick Pick

Former ELLN Chair Doug Hass has long been a music buff (he founded country music site Roughstock.com in 1993) and had plenty of windshield time for work over the years. That’s given him lots of time to indulge and explore his music interests! To help entertain you on your commutes or at the gym, office, home, or on the go, Doug is offering another year-long series of picks that will showcase some of the best albums you may have never heard, or that deserve another listen. We hope that each monthly choice piques your interest in these albums and artists. These may be titles that you have never heard of, but our hope is that your interest will be piqued and your musical world enriched!

Bobby Bare – Bobby Bare Sings Lullabys, Legends, and Lies (1973)
Bobby Bare Lullabys Album Cover
  Amazon Music – Apple Music – Spotify — Pandora

If you were a kid in the United States any time after about 1955, you are probably familiar with poet, cartoonist, and artist Shel Silverstein.  My daughter currently keeps my well-worn copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends on her nightstand.  Silverstein was a gifted poet and storyteller.  The Giving Tree still brings tears to my eyes, and his travelogues are worth the read if you want something geared toward adults.  However, Silverstein, who died in 1999, often turned his immense talents to songwriting, too.  Those contributions get less notoriety than they should.  He penned most of the biggest hits for Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show including “The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone’,” “Freakin’ at the Freakers’ Ball,” “Sylvia’s Mother” (also a hit for this month’s artist, Bobby Bare), and “The Things I Didn’t Say.”  He had an even more substantial impact on country music.  Among the highlights, he wrote one of Johnny Cash’s best-known hits, “A Boy Named Sue,” as well as “25 Minutes to Go.”  Silverstein penned Tompall Glaser’s highest-charting solo single, “Put Another Log on the Fire,” two Loretta Lynn hits in the early 70s (“One’s on the Way” and “Hey Loretta”), “Queen of the Silver Dollar,” covered by Emmylou Harris in 1975, and, with Kris Kristofferson, “The Taker,” which became a hit for Waylon Jennings.

Bobby Bare called Silverstein “the greatest lyricist there ever was,” and their 1973 collaboration that is this month’s pick makes a strong case for that claim.  Like our last selection from 1973 by Jerry Jeff Walker, a 29-song, 2-disc set with the irreverent Silverstein was quite the departure from the “Nashville Sound” era of country music.  Bare knew his record label would never give it the green light, so he recorded the album without telling RCA label head Chet Atkins or his successor Jerry Bradley.  Unlike Walker’s album, which saw limited release, Lullabys ended up being the biggest-selling record of Bare’s career.

Silverstein wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, including the number one hit “Marie Laveau” about the legendary Creole voodoo practitioner and a number two single in “Daddy What If,” a touching Silverstein classic that Bare recorded with his then 5-year-old son.   Among the other standouts on this superb 2-disc set include “Rosalie’s Good Eats Café,” “The Mermaid,” “The Winner,” “Warm and Free,” and “Tequila Sheila.”  With apologies to Dr. Hook fans, I don’t think that Shel Silverstein could have found a better partner for his unique songwriting ability than the laidback but expressive style of Bobby Bare.

I hope you enjoy (or enjoy rediscovering) this month’s pick! For those of you looking for more from Silverstein and Bare at Silverstein’s wide-ranged, ribald best, check out Great American Saturday Night released just last year. The collection of songs by Silverstein and recorded live by Bare in 1978 formed the basis of a concept album that Bare never released until last year.

Can’t get enough? Further Listening:

Bobby Bare, Great American Saturday Night (2020) (via Spotify)
Bobby Bare, The Essential Bobby Bare (2013) (via Amazon)

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