Long, borderline-offensive song titles and quirky remakes of saccharine Hillside Singers' standards have about as much a chance of making the Billboard Top 40 as a reissue of disgraced duo Milli Vanilli's "Blame It on the Rain." The beauty of Bobby Bare Jr. is that, by selecting "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" and "Flat Chested Girl From Maynardville" as the lead tracks on his OK I'm Sorry enhanced CD, he exhibits the sort of sense of humor that makes you sure he'd cover Fab and Rob's lost lip-synched classic live.
Anyone who caught Bare and his Young Criminals' Starvation League at the Duck Room as part of last year's Twangfest is fully aware of Bare's wink-wink proclivity. Fans will also be pleased to know that OK I'm Sorry is heavy on live tracks, the most impressive of which -- "I'll Be Around" and "Valentine" -- are culled from, in Bare's words, a "drunken show" at the Abbey Pub in Chicago this past May 25. Those two tracks also happen to be the video extras included at the tail end of the compact disc, and each features some wicked blood-on-the-tracks guitar solos from Chris Masterson Jr., whose rock-&-roll stage sneer both contrasts and compliments teddy bear Bare in live time. In all instances, Bare and his mates place a premium on fun over technical whiz-bangs and potential chart toppability, and the raw, economical OK I'm Sorry slams this refreshing attitude home -- and then some. (Local live note: Bobby Bare Jr.'s Young Criminals' Starvation League performs at Off Broadway on November 6).