Liner Note Author: Keith Glass.
Bobby Bare's catalog has been recycled many times, often in quite excellent compilations, but there's been a notable lack of career-spanning comps. Into that void steps Raven's 2015 Storyteller: The Anthology 1960-1983, the first collection to cover the entirety of his hitmaking years, and the first to have almost all of his essentials in one place. Previously, the early sides he cut for Mercury and RCA existed on one set of comps, while the well-funded, boisterous '70s and '80s records for Columbia went somewhere else, but Storyteller contains both sides, never emphasizing one era over the other. Nothing big is missing: all the hits, from "The All American Boy" and "Detroit City" through "New Cut Road" and "The Jogger" are here, with "Four Strong Winds," "Miller's Cave," "The Streets of Baltimore," "(Margie's At) The Lincoln Park Inn," "Marie Laveau," "Dropkick Me, Jesus," "Sylvia's Mother," "Sleep Tight, Good Night Man," "Numbers," and "Tequila Sheila" making appearances along the way. The collection is roughly divided into a disc of the '60s and a disc of the '70s, but what gives it its strength is that it tells a narrative: the story of one of the great progressive country singers of the '60s and '70s. He may not have had as many huge hits as Merle Haggard, nor was he as mythic as Johnny Cash, but like those two icons, he blended country, folk, and rock in imaginative ways, something this necessary, long-overdue collection amply illustrates. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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