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Watch Bobby Bare’s Lively Grand Ole Opry Performance of ‘Marie Laveau’

Newly reinstated Opry member wasted no time bewitching audience members with his classic Shel Silverstein-penned hit

CountryMusic Hall of Fame member Bobby Bare was welcomed back last month as a member of another Nashville institution – the Grand Ole Opry. Having been part of the long-running radio show’s cast in the Sixties, when he was charting with such classics as “DetroitCity” and “500 Miles,” Bare’s membership would eventually lapse, although his stature as one of country music’s finest songwriters would only increase.

On April 7th, Bare was scheduled for an Opry performance when superstar Garth Brooks surprised him onstage informing him that he was being reinstated as an Opry member. Bare’s performance that night included his solitary Number One single as an artist, a song written by longtime friend Shel Silverstein and folk singer Baxter Taylor. “Marie Laveau” is the tale of a voodoo witch in New Orleans and the suitor who tries to get Marie to use her magic to make him rich by promising to marry her then breaking that promise – a move that proves to be his undoing. The memorable tune incorporates a bewitched scream (executed by Silverstein on Bare’s hit version) followed by the line “Another man done gone,” and has in the past 45 years since its release become one of Bare’s most popular tunes and a live concert favorite.

Silverstein and Bare, who first met at a party at songwriter Harlan Howard’s home in the late Sixties, would team for an entire album featuring Silverstein’s songs with 1973’s Bobby Bare Sings Lullabys, Legends and Lies, a Top Five LP which, in addition to “Marie Laveau,” included “Daddy, What If,” a Number Two single which featured Bare’s five-year-old son, Bobby Bare Jr.

Bobby Bare is among the artists celebrated in Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring ’70s, the extraordinary new exhibit which officially opens today at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, spotlighting country’s rebels and renegades who shook up the status quo through their left-of center music and an unwillingness to conform to Nashville’s Music Row-dictated norms. The “Armadillo” in the exhibit’s name is a reference to the iconic Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, the showplace for outlaw country’s greats and near-greats, with dozens of the venue’s posters on display. Among the items on display is Bare’s mink-skull-and-snake skin-adorned hat, a gift to Bare from Willie Nelson.

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