The version of the album discussed here features in BGO Records‘ reissue of four Bobby Bare albums spread across two discs. The original artwork is featured in the bottom left-hand square, with further images a fixture of the booklet. All tracks have been digitally remastered. Other albums in the set include The English Country Side, (Margie’s At) The Lincoln Park Inn and I Hate Goodbyes / Ride Me Down Easy.
Beginning with Tom T. Hall’s mellow but warm “The Cowboy and the Poet”, a melodic story song that is pure Bare. The song “Cowboys and Daddys” was released as a single and reached a peak of 29 on Billboard’s Hot Country chart; It’s a slow ballad which veers into the Adult Contemporary genre. High Plains Jamboree puts a bit more bounce in Bare’s step, with a pleasing smattering of varied instruments. Those familiar with Bare’s style will recognise a lot of the modes the artist finds himself in. “Chester”, “Up Against The Wall”, “Amarillo Highway” and “He’s A Cowboy” are all examples of Bare doing what he does.
While this album is never going to win any awards for the most complex arrangements, it manages to get the feel just right. There may only be a few basic chords in a composition but extra musical embellishments, along with Bare’s recognisable style, elevate each song. The sleek production helps too, as each element is clearly distinguishable.
Highlight: Regular contributor Shel Silverstein gives Bare the unexpectedly funny “The Stranger”, which sees the singer relay a story about a man who loves a cow. The laid-back vibe sounds innocent enough, but bleeped expletive followed by competent yodelling makes this a humourous entry. It demonstrates that Bare has a sense of humour, and isn’t afraid to inject some fun into his music.
The album ends with Bob McDill’s mellow Last Dance At The Old Texas Moon, a slow Country ballad with folky undertones. Bare’s delivery is smooth, and gels well with the soft backing vocals. In an album that contains a fair number of similar tracks, this seems like a stand-out. Bare would team up with McDill for a full album in 1977, and it is easy to see why here. The album finishes in a sombre yet reflective mood.
The story songs, the ballads and the slightly uptempo numbers with flourishes of musical spontaneity; This is another of Bare’s albums where the listener knows exactly what they’ll get. For those who enjoy discovering more of Bare’s unmistakable brand of Country, they will enjoy it. If you’re looking for better examples, this review recommends Bare (1978) or an earlier 1960s album. Cowboys and Daddys is featured in a multi-album reissue from BGO Records.
- The Cowboy And The Poet (Faster Horses)
- Cowboys And Daddys
- High Plains Jamboree
- Up Against The Wall (Redneck Mother)
- The Stranger
- Amarillo Highway
- Speckled Pony
- Pretty Painted Ladies
- He’s A Cowboy
- Calgary Snow
- Last Dance At The Old Texas Moon