Sunday, April 1, 2012

Surprise!: The Stranger

Bobby Bare: The Stranger

[purchase (CD only)]

I have no idea how "The Stranger" came to be written (by Shel Silverstein), recorded (by Bobby Bare) or released by RCA Victor, the same label that brought us Elvis, Sgt. Barry Sadler and the soundtrack to The Sound of Music.

It is the weirdest song Bobby Bare ever recorded. And that's saying something, because he recorded a lot of weird songs. "Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life." "Bathroom Tissue Paper Letter," about a Dear John letter composed on Charmin. "Quaaludes Again," in which the protagonist makes love to furniture. "The Jogger," in which a truck driver gets ticked at Jesus for running along the road. Those are nothing compared to this one.

Adding to the strangeness: "The Stranger" appeared on an album called Cowboys and Daddys, the title track of which is a cuddly duet between Bare Sr. and the loveable lad who became the artist known as Bobby Bare Jr., about how much a divorced father loves his only boy. Awww.

Then, after that sweetness, comes this one. With a surprise...well, more like a shock...right there in the middle. Even after the song gets started, I don't think you can imagine what's going to happen. Go ahead and listen, you little ol' brown-eyed darling, you.

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