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 top left-hand square, with further images a fixture of the booklet. All tracks have been digitally remastered. Other albums in the set include (Margie’s At) Lincoln Park Inn And Other Controversial Country Songs, I Hate Goodbyes / Ride Me Down Easy and Cowboys And Daddys.
The English Country Side was first released in November of 1967 on the RCA Victor label. It features Bare alongside labelmates The Hillsiders, a Country band who came from Liverpool. Chet Atkins served as producer on this album. The album begins with Arlie Duff’s You All Come, an interpretation which sees Bare and the band share vocal duties. It’s an uptempo start which sets the tone and establishes the order of things.
It’s fair to say the co-credit on this album isn’t just for show. Bare is the main attraction here, but The Hillsiders are very present. Aside from Bare’s Find Out What’s Happening, the band very audibly performed on all the tracks. The band’s two recordings in which they take the lead, Goin’ Home and Blue Is My Lonely Room, are memorable recordings; It is clear to see why they backed many a country great. Their vocal blend is gentle and pleasant, without drifting into Easy Listening territory; The guitars are twangy, with a touch of beat thrown in; Bare’s familiar all-American vocal delivery adds an extra piece of authenticity to the sound.
Among the tracklisting, there are many compositions which are more known as hits for other artists. Hearing the collaboration take on Release Me, later a hit for Engelbert Humperdinck is a strange experience but it works. Other interesting interpretations include Dave Dudley’s Six Days On The Road and Tom T. Hall‘s I Washed My Face In The Morning Dew.
The production is straight out of the 1960s, with the heavy use of the stereo field. Instruments are spread across, with backing vocals tending to favour the left channel while Bare sits firmly in the centre. It is an effect that isn’t too noticeable when listening on speakers but can be a bit disconcerting on headphones if it’s unexpected. In terms of the digital remastering present in this edition, each track sounds clear and crisp; Any eccentricities in the sound were probably already present in the original recording.
This album brings together a legend of Country and a well-revered group of musicians who made a splash in their musical genre. The result of the union between these two acts on record is a pleasant collection of songs that mixes the strengths of all concerned. It isn’t the sentimental Nashville sound and it isn’t quite the outlaw sound, it’s just a nice in-between. Bare rarely turns in a bad vocal performance. further enhanced by the competent backing that sounds authentic yet with a tinge of British flavour. Those coming to this album for Bare may just leave with a thirst for more Hillsiders material. The English Country Side is featured in a multi-album reissue from BGO Records.
- You All Come (Y’all Come)
- Find Out What’s Happening
- Love’s Gonna Live Here
- I Love You Drops
- I Washed My Face In The Morning Dew
- Goin’ Home
- The Great Snow Man
- Blue Is My Lonely Room
- Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)
- Sweet Dreams
- Six Days On The Road