Bobby Bare (1935 – )

Updated: February 28, 2011

Country singer and songwriter.

One of the more influential musicians to fuse traditional sensibilities with contemporary American viewpoints in post- World War II country music, Robert Joseph “Bobby” Bare was born April 7, 1935, near the rural town of Ironton, Ohio, not far from that state’s border with Kentucky and West Virginia. Enduring the death of his mother when he was five, he did farm and factory work in his teens to help support the family.

Besides his eye for talent (he recommended country musician Waylon Jennings to record executive Chet Atkins), Bare is known for his emotionally understated vocal delivery on literate songs (mostly written by others) that often have a strong storyline. One of his biggest hits, “Detroit City,” chronicles the loneliness of rural southerners drawn to northern factory work in the 1950s and 1960s. Bare’s other hits include “Marie Laveau,” “Margie’s at the Lincoln Park Inn,” and “The Streets of Baltimore.”

Bare placed hits on the country charts every decade from the 1950s through the 1990s. His Lullabys, Legends and Lies (1973), featuring songs by songwriter Shel Silverstein, was one of Nashville’s first concept albums. At the end of the 1990s, Bare was nominated for a Country Music Association award for producing Old Dogs, an album of Silverstein songs (performed by Bare, Jennings, Jerry Reed, and Mel Tillis) that ruefully and sometimes hilariously cataloged problems of aging.

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"Bobby Bare," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2018, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 23 Sep 2018 <>

APA Style

"Bobby Bare." (2018) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved September 23, 2018, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia:

Bobby Bare