Welcome to another installment of Novelty Song Friday. Today I’m encouraging anyone who has a neat novelty song to post it in the comments section.
I like this song, but I like the singer as much if not more. He’s been around for awhile, and he’s still going strong!
Robert Joseph Bare Sr. (born April 7, 1935), aka Bobby Bare, is an American country music singer and songwriter, best known for the songs “Marie Laveau”, “Detroit City” and “500 Miles Away from Home”. He is the father of Bobby Bare Jr., also a musician.
In the 1950s, Bare repeatedly tried and failed to sell his songs. He finally got a record deal, with Capitol Records, and recorded a few unsuccessful rock and roll singles. Just before he was drafted into the United States Army, he wrote a song called “The All American Boy” and did a demo for his friend, Bill Parsons, to learn how to record. Instead of using Parsons’ later version, the record company, Fraternity Records, decided to go with Bare’s original demo. The record reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, but Fraternity erroneously credited Bill Parsons on the label. The same track, with the same billing error, peaked at No.22 in the UK Singles Chart in April 1959.
Bobby Bare has had a long musical career, which you can learn more about at wikipedia and elsewhere. The following are highlights I found interesting.
In January and February 2012, Bare joined up with Petter Øien at the 2012 Melodi Grand Prix to choose Norway’s entry to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, in May. His song “Things Change” got through to the Norwegian final where Øien and Bare finished third.
From 1983 to 1988, Bare hosted Bobby Bare and Friends on The Nashville Network which featured him interviewing songwriters who sang their hit songs on the show.
In 2005, he released his first new album in two decades, The Moon Was Blue, produced by his son Bobby Bare Jr., who is also a musician. He continues to tour today.
Bare would be a 2013 inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
After being inducted in the 1960s but gradually drifting away, Bare was reinstated as a member of the Grand Ole Opry on April 7, 2018 by Garth Brooks.
“Marie Laveau” is a 1974 live recording by Bobby Bare. His 34th single to hit the country charts, it was his only number one and final top ten country hit. It was written by Shel Silverstein and Baxter Taylor. “Marie Laveau” went to number one for a single week and spent a total of 18 weeks on the country charts.
The song is about a fictitious and ugly witch who lived in the Louisiana bayous in a hollow log with a one-eyed snake and a three-legged dog, having the same name as the famous New Orleans voodoo priestess, and who could make men disappear with a horrific screech.
The first released recording is by Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show on their 1971 album Doctor Hook. Another version is by Girl Trouble, released on Thrillsphere (1990) and Blue Dogs (Music for Dog People, 1991). Earlier recordings of the song exist. In 1954, Oscar “Papa” Celestin sang a different composition titled “Marie Laveau” in one of his last recordings.
The most famous of the voodoo queens that ever existed
Is Marie Laveau, down in Louisiana
There’s a lot of weird ungodly tales about Marie,
She’s supposed to have a lot of magic potions, spells and curses….
Down in Louisiana, where the black trees grow
Lives a voodoo lady named Marie Laveau
Got a black cat’s tooth and a Mojo bone
And anyone who wouldn’t leave her alone
She’d go another man done gone
She lives in a swamp in a hollow log
With a one-eyed snake and a three-legged dog
She’s got a bent, bony body and stringy hair
If she ever seen why’all messing round there
She’d go another man done gone
And then one night when the moon was black
Into the swamp come handsome Jack
A no good man like you all know
He was looking around for Marie Laveau
He said Marie Laveau, you handsome witch
Give me a little a little charm that’ll make me rich
Give me a million dollars and I tell you what I’ll do
This very night, I’m gonna marry you
Then It’ll be another man done gone
So Marie done some magic, and she shook a little sand
Made a million dollars and she put it in his hand
Then she giggled and she wiggled, and she said Hey, Hey
I’m getting ready for my wedding day
But old handsome Jack he said goodbye Marie
You’re too damned ugly for a rich man like me
Then Marie started mumbling her fangs started gnashing
Her body started trembling and her eyes started flashing
And she went another man done gone.
So if you ever get down where the black trees grow
And meet a voodoo lady named Marie Laveau
If she ever asks you to make her your wife
Man, you better stay with her for the rest of your life
Or it’ll be another man done gone
Songwriters: Baxter Taylor / Shel Silverstein