Bobbie Gentry – Ode To Billie Joe

As much as I would love to be reviewing Jenny & Johnny’s new album, I’m Having Fun Now, tonight but I think I still need a day or two more to really decided what I think… gotta wait until the Honeymoon phase is over right? But don’t worry, it’s coming soon! But in the mean time I thought I’d give a quick shout out to my girl Bobbie Gentry who’s been keeping this southern girl company during the long and mind numbing hours of desk bound office time.

Bobbie’s a girl who know’s her roots and stuck with ’em through and through. Born in Chickasaw county Mississippi in 1944 (she’s still around by the way, but unfortunately not performing, at the ripe age of 66) This album especially is completely saturated with southern imagery like “Boll weevils in your cotton, And dirt-dauber busy building a nest” or “Sit on the riverbank after dark, Drop my line down a crawdad hole” and “I spend a lot of time pickin’ flowers up on Choctaw Ridge, And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge”. And that’s just the lyrical aspect of her songs. Her sparsely plucked, musky toned guitar and vocal styling/accent enhance the lyrical imagery in a way that if you play it while driving down a summer time country road with the windows down you’re just about transported back to the deep south in the 1940’s. I always find it remarkable when I find an artist that can do that. Of course not ever band has to have that effect on you to be good but you have to admit that it’s not common. I mean, when you listen to Death Cab where does it take you? Or how about more recent artist like Local Natives or The Morning Benders? There are times for The Fray and places for Beyonce but when you find that you want to mix things up a bit I say it’s time to give Bobbie a try.

With some old timey artists I would recommend getting some sort of best of album, and you may prefer that, but I personally fell in love with Ode To Billie Joe and I feel like it’s her best. Any album that’s good enough to beat out Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band on the charts certainly must have something to offer. So if you’re ever need a break from your normal jams and need to cleans your musical palette then I’d say spring for this album just to shake things up a bit. (TIP: She also goes well on a playlist with Ray LaMontagne, and Whiskeytown)

Now, if you’re a country music lover you may recognize some of her songs like “Me And Bobby MaGee” and “Fancy” which have been covered by the likes of LeAnn Rimes and Reba McEntire but they they’re popified country wannabe remakes at best so do yourself and familiarize yourself with the originals.

If you’re currently on the musical meat market and looking for a good way to blow your itunes budget then I highly recommend you making this album apart of your collection.


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Categories: Music Review

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