July 06, 2002

Bobby Bare Jr "OK, I'm Sorry"

The baby Bare is back! Hot on the heels of his leftfield homerun solo album, Young Criminal's Starvation League, Junior's decided to give all us long-sufferin' fans a handy-dandy plate of musical treates to tide us over until his next excellent album. Luckily for us, Bobby hasn't filled the plate with stale leftovers; instead, he's given us a wonderful little scrapbook of his hijinx over the past year. While it might not be as full of an offering as an album, it's certainly not a bunch of rejects, and it really gives you a healthy dose of quirky and intelligent music.

Kicking off this set is a most surprising cover of that lovey-dovey anthem, "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing." Yes, that song, the one made famous by the christmas Coca-Cola commercial. Bobby's made it all his own, thanks in large part to that unique, yodelish vocal range. It's much better than you think it is. It's a speeded up version, and the sincerity strikes you in the face. It follows with a red-hot live bersion of "Flat-Chested Girl from Manardville," taken from a show in Holland, which then segues into another red-hot song from his debut album, the wonderful "I'll Be Around."

Then, OK I'm Sorry gets interesting.

Bare then offers us a brand-new original song, "Pinky." It's lush and mellow and actually kind of sweet, proving that underneath the hair and that big mischevious grin of his beats the heart of a sensitive boy-poet. From there, we return once again to the live setting, with a song called "Valentine." It's the only time OK I'm Sorry ever slips up. (A much better version of the song was recorded on the NPR-based program World Cafe.) From there, we travel to a radio session and another brand new Bare original, "Mother Ucker." It's a fun little tale, and though the chorus is kinda silly, it's a real serious little tune. Mix in the fun-sounding keyboards and THAT VOICE (as well as a moment of DJ error), and you've got a great little tune. The next song, "True Story," is his version of a poem song by Shel Silverstein--one of his inspirations and family friend--and it totally fits Bare's sneaky, mischevious nature. The album closes with the demo version of "I'll Be Around," which is a bit more moving than the final version. (There are video clips of the live tracks of two Chicago songs, "I'll Be Around" and "valentine" on here as well).

Bobby Bare Jr. is a man whose talent has yet to be fully appreciated, and OK I'm Sorry is certainly proof that the man's best days are only just beginning. Hopefully he'll have another full-length album for us. There's a reason I named Young Criminal's Starvation League my album of the year, and if you need further evidence, then this little stop-gap EP is for you.

--Joseph Kyle

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