Nashville’s Bobby Bare Jr. calls eighth LP Undefeated his “dumped” disc, as opposed to a breakup album.
In song, he turns phrases in ways that are clever, yet quickly cut to the truth. In another twist, he’s been known to claim he doesn’t find the songs. The songs find him.
“I think most great songs are waiting around to be written,” explains Bare. “Like the song on Undefeated, ‘My Baby Took My Baby Away.’ That was just sitting there for a long time. If I didn’t jump on it, somebody else may have in five or 10 years or whatever.
“I think I have a talent for recognizing, ‘Okay, that might be a good idea.’ A lot of the good ideas are just waiting to be stumbled upon. The craft comes in what you do next with it. It’s fun to be clever, but that’s the easy part.”
The Bares, Junior and Senior, counted the late Shel Silverstein, a genius at songwriting if there ever was one, as a family friend. Some of Silverstein’s smarts rubbed off onto Bobby Jr.
“He taught me to take the song as far as it would go,” states BBJ. “Then really push it over the edge and do something that most songwriters would cross out. I take a crazy idea and go with it. I know most songwriters aren’t comfortable with that, but that’s the only thing that sticks out – the courage to push an idea further than anybody else would.
“I’ll overwrite. A lot of my songs have lyrics that I don’t keep, that I’ll edit out. The lyrics to ‘Rock & Roll Halloween’ are three pages. It’s like being a stripper. Nobody wants to see a stripper that isn’t going to show you the ugly parts.”– Jim Caligiuri