Bobby Bare and Shel Silverstein struck a partnership in the '70s that yielded the number one hit "Marie Laveau" and a few concept albums, of which Hard Time Hungrys is one. Created during the mid-'70s' economic recession, the album takes a hard look at poverty and unemployment, tempered with touches of world-weary humor. The songs are preceded by interview segments in which everyday people tell Bare of their plights, while the back cover photo shows a man picking through an alley trash can. "Alimony" and "Back Home in Huntsville Again" were the album's two hits, but both were only moderately successful, perhaps because the country audience preferred escapism to stark reality. Another explanation is that Silverstein's songs are not quite up to the level of those on his first collaboration with Bare, 1973's Sings Lullabys, Legends & Lies, although the powerful subject matter and the talent of the principals make this an admirable and rewarding album.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Adams