“Barefoot In Baltimore” is the first song on side 2 (seventh track on the CD) from Strawberry Alarm Clock‘s 1968 album The World In A Sea Shell. As one of the songs on the LP whose music (but not words) was actually written by the band, it is one of the better and more heartfelt performances on the album, while retaining the gentle and playful air of the album in general.
Describing a character named Barefoot and his friends, the song’s lyrics have him walking around Baltimore and along the shores of Chesapeake Bay enjoying the street-party vibe (or, the actual street party) of the place. The Clock trots out its trusty xylophone and turns the song into a song that, although rather uninteresting, was seen as good enough by someone to be released as a single (it didn’t do very well in the charts).
However, “Barefoot In Baltimore”, underneath its lightweight veneer, does boast an interesting and unique structure: short, merry verses give quick little descriptions of odd, unconnected scenes (Fun cooks a meal on the stove while Barefoot strolls around town giggling at the sidewalk, for example), and the chorus, repeated throughout, is slower, more dramatic, and very short, barely a chorus at all but a recurring centerpiece of the song:
“Barefoot in Baltimore
Heel and toe with yooooou”
Nice of the lyricist to incorporate the listener into the scene! The band has complained about the silliness of the lyrics, particularly that line, since the single’s release, but I like them. They have a nice sound at that point in the song, though they are truly ‘meaningless’.
“Barefoot In Baltimore” is very short, as are all the album’s songs.
Having been released, advisedly or not, as a single, “Barefoot In Baltimore” is commonly anthologized on Strawberry Alarm Clock compilations.
LP: The World In A Sea Shell (1969)
45: “Barefoot In Baltimore” b/w “An Angry Young Man” (Uni 55076) (1969)
LP: The Best Of Strawberry Alarm Clock (1970 compilation)
CD: Incense & Peppermints (1990 compilation)
CD: Strawberries Mean Love (1992 compilation)
CD: The Strawberry Alarm Clock Anthology (1993 compilation)