Great American Saturday Night
Bobby Bare, the most laidback of country legends, delivered hits throughout the 1960s and ’70s in a mellow, knowing baritone. Not primarily known as a songwriter himself, he sought out clever tunesmiths within the Nashville community and the folk scene, and eventually forged a partnership with the mischievous writer Shel Silverstein, who supplied Bare with entire albums’ worth of material. Great American Saturday Night was one that he recorded in front of a live audience in 1978 but never released—a droll collection of vignettes, very much of their time, about people’s behavior on the most freewheeling night of the week. “Goodnight Little House Plant” applies warped sentimentality to a substitute for human companionship, the lazy boogie “They Won’t Let Us Show It at the Beach” reels off scenarios ripe for public nudity, and “The Day All the Yes Men Said No” fantasizes about rank-and-file rebellion.