Amazon Customer Review
1) You read (or read for your children) his million-selling children’s book “The Giving Tree”
2) You were a subscriber to Playboy Magazine in the 1960s and saw his cartoons and humor pieces
3) You actually knew who wrote the songs “A Boy Named Sue” for Johnny Cash or “Sylvia’s Mother” for Dr. Hook and his Medicine Show or
4) Like me, you owned a copy of the 1973 double LP “Lullabys, Legends and Lies” (even with the first word misspelled!) with Bobby Bare singing Silberstein’s songs.
For me, it was all three, and though I no longer have the first three items, I still own my Lp set.
So, I was thrilled when I saw that the German-based reissue label Bear Family Records – which always goes “first class” on reissuing deluxe boxsets of artists who deserve, but rarely get, attention, I knew I’d learn more about the two of them. Yes,, like most reading this review, I knew Bobby Bare from basically one other recording back in the 1960s from his hit single “Detroit City” (written by Nashville writers Danny Dill and Mel Tillis) but other than the “LLandL album”, I knew little. After spending (literally) hours with this EIGHT-CD (plus 128-page hardbound Lp-size book) box I feel I know both guys. Thanks to the capacity of a CD vs. vinyl, the original two discs fit on the first CD. Then we get the follow-up album “Hard Time Hungrys (another misspelled title!) where not all, but most, are penned by Silverstein. Tracks recorded though not on the original album are added. “Singin’ in the Kitchen” – with the whole Bare family joining in gets the same treatment. A brief break in the flow of issued releases fills the next two CDs, “Stray Bare Tracks” and “More Stray Bare Tracks” before we get to “The COMPLETE Great American Saturday Night” ,and finally two albums from the 80s: “Down and Dirty” and “Drunk & Crazy” which ends with “Desperados Waiting For A Train”, the Guy Clark song made famous by the late Jerry Jeff Walker.
The book has an essay on Silverstein and a new interview with Bare plus the lyrics to all 137 songs in the set.
No, this is not a box for the “casual” fan – it’s not inexpensive (but quality doesn’t come cheap) – but Bear Family love to do a job “complete” and this is about as complete as you can get. If you are a fan of Silverstein and want to hear more “Shel” songs than anywhere else, this is a box that will appeal to you.