Growing up in the Mississippi Delta gave Bobbie Gentry a deeply rooted sense of place which she channelled into her lyrics and music. What perhaps is less documented is her time as a young model in California. Work like this may be dismissed by some as inconsequential or superficial even but for Bobbie this must have given her some insight into how to use her own image for maximum effect. In her songwriting Gentry created characters and painted pictures of Southern life. She extended this attention to detail by designing many of the clothes she wore for her album covers and live shows. Gentry’s personal beauty and style helped to sell her music, long before social media and branding ever was even thought of. Continue reading “Bobbie Gentry: Fashion Icon”
Bobbie Gentry may have long ago disappeared from public life but thankfully her musical legacy lives on. On September 21st a new box set entitled The Girl From Chickasaw County will be released, much to the delight of her many fans. This eight CD collection will include all of her seven studio albums newly remastered, supplemented by over 75 previously unreleased recordings including her ‘lost’ jazz album, outtakes, demos, rarities and a disc of live performances taken from her celebrated series for the BBC (which was released on vinyl as part of Record Store Day earlier this year). Continue reading “News: New Bobbie Gentry Boxset Announced”
Since it’s the 3rd of June I thought we’d take a walk down to Tallahatchie Bridge and contemplate the influence of Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ on country music and beyond. I wrote about this song, and Bobbie herself, at length last year in my post ‘Bobbie Gentry and the Power of Mystery’ but today I wanted to focus on how she has inspired the songwriting of so many others.
‘It was the 3rd of June, another sleepy, dusty, Delta day,’ sings Bobbie Gentry in the opening of her most famous song Ode to Billie Joe, setting the scene for one of music’s most elusive mysteries. This song and the album of the same name is the topic of a book by Tara Murtha in her contribution to the 33 1/3 series about significant albums, published by Bloomsbury. Murtha explores both the recording and release of this album, alongside the life and eventual disappearance of Bobbie Gentry herself. Continue reading “Bobbie Gentry and the Power of Mystery”