Bobbie Gentry: The Delta Sweete/Local Gentry (Raven/EMI)

 |   |  <1 min read

Bobbie Gentry: Mornin' Glory
Bobbie Gentry: The Delta Sweete/Local Gentry (Raven/EMI)

Gentry is the US country singer best -- and probably only known by many -- for her 1967 hit Ode to Billie Joe, that song about Billie Joe McAllister tossing something off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

In terms of a mainstream career that was about it for Gentry who, after a few albums, married casino owner Bill Harrah in late 69 (she was 25, he was 58) and, although they divorced soon after, she never quite recovered her momentum.

She played in Vegas but by the late 70s had dropped out of sight.

Three years ago Raven, an independent Australian label, put out a terrific Gentry compilation An American Quilt 1967-74 which scooped up tracks from various albums -- but this single disc is the first time her two albums The Delta Sweete (a sort-of concept album about the South) and Local Gentry (which finds her in ballad mode and knocking off a few Lennon-McCartney standards) have been available.

What is clear is that Gentry was well ahead of her time: she is sassy in a sexy come-hither Southern manner, deals out some Southern swamp-funk like Tony Joe White, drawls in a manner halfway between a satisfied post-coital yawn and honey dripping down a hickory stick, and stakes out an area between kitschy and country that is mighty appealin'.

Things are more uneven on the second album, but The Delta Sweete is a treasure, if only for her oozing Southern charm and playfulness, and sultry sexuality on songs like Big Boss Man and Mornin' Glory.

Steamy stuff.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What (Hear Music)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What (Hear Music)

One of the things Paul Simon is seldom given credit for is his sense of humor. He too often comes off the kind of earnest New York Jewish singer-songwriter you imagine reads Dostoevsky at night but... > Read more

Lizz Wright: The Orchard (Verve)

Lizz Wright: The Orchard (Verve)

We aren't short of soulful women singers right now, but few deliver with such blues gravitas and sensual authority as this Georgia-raised New Yorker whose two previous albums on Verve announced her... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Indian Classical Music (2014)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Indian Classical Music (2014)

Elsewhere makes judiciously considered entries under its Essential Elsewhere albums, and we avoid the obvious (no compilations, greatest hits and so on). Those are easy options and anyone with a... > Read more

GUEST WRITER JAMES BLICK wonders what he will be when he grows up . . . in Spain

GUEST WRITER JAMES BLICK wonders what he will be when he grows up . . . in Spain

I left New Zealand just over a year ago. Probably permanently. And as I suspect is the case for many expats, moving overseas became an opportunity for personal reinvention. Flying out of... > Read more