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Bobbie Gentry
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IanWagner



Joined: 27 Jun 2007

Posts: 1736


PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:52 pm    Post subject: Bobbie Gentry If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Jill Sobule - Bobbie Gentry


Out in the desert where the skin slowly cures deep brown
She's got a little shack, a pickup truck
Parked out on the edge of town
It's just what I imagined, no one knows where'd she be
Maybe she's in heaven passing black-eyed peas

Where is Bobbie Gentry?

Up in Alaska hauling wood or maybe in Japan
I bet that she's too beautiful, goes barefoot everywhere she can
Does she still play guitar or write a song or two?
Maybe that was over; she's got better things to do

Where is Bobbie Gentry?
Where is Bobbie Gentry?

If I could just find you
I would love you and I'd leave you alone
If I could just find you
I would love you and I'd leave you alone
Alone

1967, Bobbie made it on the Billboard charts
Ten years later, disappeared and broke everybody's heart
Does she ever go to Chickasaw?
Ever go back on that bridge? (Ever go back on that bridge?)
Well, I was the baby
Who was thrown off the Tallahatchie Bridge
Yeah, I was the baby
Who was thrown off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Where is Bobbie Gentry?
Where is Bobbie Gentry?
Where is Bobbie Gentry?
Where is Bobbie Gentry?

B-O-double B-I-E G-E-N-T-R-Y
B-O-double B-I-E G-E-N-T-R-Y

Where is Bobbie Gentry?
Where is Bobbie Gentry?
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Mark Roberts



Joined: 27 Jun 2007

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Location: Covington, LA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:55 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Ian, any idea of what she looks like now? She's been a recluse since 1978, right?
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IanWagner



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:57 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Nope, there are no pictures of her since her retirement, New Year's Eve 1978/79.

A great bio from the Ode To Bobbie Gentry site, I couldn't do any better:

"I was born on my Granddaddy's farm in Mississippi," Bobbie Gentry says, "lived with my grandparents till I was old enough to go to school." Her parents divorced when she was very young, and she spent her early childhood living with her grandparents on their poverty stricken farm outside Woodland Community in Chickasaw County's "Mississippi Delta" country. "We didn't have electricity, and I didn't have many play things," she remembers, "my Granddaddy liked his possum stew, so whenever he caught one, he'd cut off the tail for me to play with."

Bobbie credits her Grandmother with helping her get started towards a career in music. "My Grandmother noticed how much I liked music, so she traded one of her milk cows for a neighbor's piano." Bobbie taught herself to play by listening to the church accompanist. She composed her first song when she was seven, entitled "My Dog Sergeant Is a good dog," which was later resurrected as a humorous part of her nightclub act. Bobbies Mississippi roots would be the inspiration for many of the songs she wrote.

Bobbie attended grade school in Greenwood, Mississippi, where her father lived. In the summer of 1957, she moved to California to live with her mother. She attended school in Arcadia for two years before the family moved to Palm Springs. During her early teens she taught herself to play the guitar, banjo, bass, and vibes. At 14, after seeing the Jennifer Jones movie, 'Ruby Gentry,'she decided she liked the sound of 'Bobbie Gentry,'and it later became her stage name. She began her performing career in a local country club while still in high school, where she was heard and encouraged by Bob Hope and Hoagy Carmichael.

After graduating from Palm Springs high school, Bobbie briefly supported herself as a dancer-singer in Las Vegas. She was part of a nightclub review called Folies Bergere. She moved back to California to pursue a degree in philosophy at UCLA, working as a secretary and performing in small night spots on weekends. She later transferred to the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music where she studied guitar, majoring in theory and composition. In her spare time she worked with several vocal groups doing arrangements. Around 1964 she recorded two duets, 'Ode to Love,'and 'Stranger in the mirror,'with rockabilly singer Jody Reynolds, of 'Endless Sleep' fame. They were probably her first recordings. At some point during this time Bobbie performed as part of Hawaiian musician Johnny Ukulele's troupe.

Early in 1967, Bobbie made a demo record of her songs which came to the attention of Capitol Records producer Kelly Gordon. He liked them and signed her to a recording contract. One of the songs on the demo, 'Mississippi Delta,' was to be her first single. On the flip side was 'Ode To Billie Joe,'which became the title track of her debut album. Originally over seven minutes long, the song was reduced to four minutes and seven seconds, and violins and cellos were added. Disc jockeys' decided they liked it over the A side, and started playing it.

The song's sparse sound and controversial lyrics struck a chord on the airwaves of 1967. Capitol's shortened version added to the song's mystery: what did Billie Joe and his girlfriend throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge, and why did Billie Joe commit suicide? Bobbie has said that the real theme of the song was indifference. "Those questions are of secondary importance in my mind. The story of Billie Joe has two more interesting underlying themes." she says, "First, the illustration of a group of peoples reaction's to the life and death of Billie Joe, and its subsequent effect on their lives, is made. Second, the obvious gap between the girl and her mother is shown when both women experience a common loss (first Billie Joe, and later, Papa), and yet Mama and the girl are unable to recognize their mutual loss or share their grief."

'Ode To Billie Joe' topped the US charts for four weeks, reaching number 13 in the UK, and selling 3 million copies. The song won Bobbie three Grammy awards, including Best Vocal Performance by a Female, Best Contemporary Female Solo Vocal Performance, and Best New Artist (she was the first Country artist to ever win in this category). The Academy of Country Music named Bobbie Gentry its Top New Female Vocalist of 1967 (her album of duets with Glen Campbell won Album of the year in 1968). Billboard, Cashbox, and Record World nominated her as Most Promising New Vocalist of the Year. She was so popular in 1967 that Nashville's 'Country Music Association' chose her to cohost its first awards show with Sonny James.

Bobbies next single, 'I Saw An Angel Die,' didn't do as well as expected but 'Okolona River Bottom Band,' from her brilliant but under-appreciated 1968 follow-up album, 'The Delta Sweete,' made it into the top 60. In 1968 she also released 'Local Gentry,' a mix of original songs (again inspired by her Mississippi roots) with some popular covers, as well as an album of duets, 'Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell.' Their single's 'Morning Glory' and 'Less Of Me'were only moderately successful, but 'Let It Be Me' reached number 14 on the Country charts in 1969. A year later they would have their biggest success with 'All I have To Do' going to number six on the country charts. Bobbie and Glen continued recording together throughout the 70's.

Bobbie made numerous guest appearances on TV shows hosted by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Andy Williams, Carol Burnett, and Bobby Darrin. In 1969 she released 'Touch 'em With Love,' her most critically acclaimed album, which gave her a number one hit in the UK with 'I'll Never Fall In Love Again.' She hosted her own series on BBC-TV in London, which was later widely shown in Germany, Holland, Australia, and elsewhere around the world. Later that year she married Desert Inn Hotel manager Bill Harrah, but Bobbie's career provided a conflict that couldn't be resolved and they divorced after three months.

She became a regular headliner in Las Vegas, starring in her own $150,000 nightclub review, with a million-dollar contract. "I write and arrange all the music, design the costumes, do the choreography, the whole thing," she reported. "I'm completely responsible for it. It's totally my own from inception to performance. I originally produced 'Ode To Billie Joe' and most of my other records, but a woman doesn't stand much chance in a recording studio. A staff producer's name was nearly always put on the records."

In 1970 she released the album 'Fancy,' with about half the songs, including the title track, being produced by Rick Hall of Muscle Shoals fame. The single 'Fancy' reached number 26 on the Country chart and 31 on the pop chart. In 1971 Bobbie would release 'Patchwork,' arguably her finest effort and a favorite among fans. Sadly, It would turn out to be her last original album. Capitol Records rereleased two of her previous albums that year, renamed 'Sittin Pretty' and 'Tobacco Road.' Her renditions of 'Scarlett Ribbons' and 'Away In A Manger' were included on 'The Sounds Of Christmas,' a compilation put out by B. F. Goodrich.

In June of 1974 CBS aired 4 episodes of 'The Bobbie Gentry Happiness Hour' (aka 'Bobbie Gentry's Happiness') as a summer replacement show on Wednesday nights, but did not develop it into a series. Also in 1974, Bobbie wrote and sang 'Another Place, Another Time,' for her friend Max Baer's film 'Macon County Line.' In 1976, Bobbie's song 'Ode to Billie Joe' inspired Max Baer's movie of the same name, starring Robby Benson and Glynnis O'Connor, with Billie Joe throwing a ragdoll over the bridge and the controversial suggestion that he killed himself because he couldn't come to terms with his homosexuality.

In 1978(?) Bobbie was briefly married to singer-songwriter Jim Stafford, who had a string of hits in the 70's as well as his own TV show in 1975. They divorced eleven months later after the birth of their son Tyler. Around this time Bobbie retired from all recording and performing, and possibly started working behind the scenes in television/film production.

Though Bobbie retired from show business over two decades ago, her songs still have the power to fascinate and inspire. In recent years, Megan Mullally from TV's 'Will & Grace' recorded covers of two of Bobbie's songs, 'Fancy' and 'Ode To Billie Joe.' Pocket Size recorded Bobbies beautiful 'Jessye'Lizabeth,' and Reba McEntire had a major hit in 1991 with her dramatic remake of "Fancy." In 1999, Gentry's legendary 'Billie Joe' once again became the focus of a movie, in Kelly Reichardt's black and white film entitled 'Ode,' a haunting narrative on gay sexuality, repression, and teen suicide. The song 'Ode to Billie Joe' has been covered by many artists including Sinead O'Connor, Tammy Wynette, Ike & Tina Turner, Patti Smyth with Tom Scott. The song was awarded the Grammy Hall Of Fame Award in 1999.

Quite a lot of Bobbie's music is currently available on CD, inluding most recently Raven Records 2002 compilation "An American Quilt 1967-1974," Capitol Records 2000 compilation "Ode To Bobbie Gentry," as well as several other greatest hits collections that continue to sell well.

Though there is much speculation and rumor about her present day activities and whereabouts, as well as many fans hopes that she make a comeback, Bobbie prefers a private lifestyle these days. She did, however, leave a timeless musical legacy that is more than enough to satisfy her present and future fans.
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Becky



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:35 am    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Love her.
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dauntless9



Joined: 28 Jun 2007

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Location: Providence, Rhode Island

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:05 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

This thread is useless without photos.

Must let go... must let go...

Hhhmmm.. What thread was that photo in?

Wink
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peerke



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:17 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

I have made a twofer with her first two albums on it: Ode To Billie Joe / Delta Sweete.
I think they belong together (same producer, same arranger). They work better together then the pairing of Delta Sweete / Local Gentry that was released some time ago.

You can see her as the female Tony Joe White: that same mix of blues, soul and country. Simply awesome. I love her.

Now if only I could lay may hands on Fancy and Patchwork.
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Summ-a-Briz'



Joined: 27 Jun 2007

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Location: Somerville, MA - land of mystery

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:34 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

the Southern Scott Walker.
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IanWagner



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:37 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

The Southern Ray Davies!
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Summ-a-Briz'



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Location: Somerville, MA - land of mystery

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:38 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Well, Bobbie kind of has the same supernatural control over the material she performs.
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IanWagner



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:55 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

True! But I find her storytelling, which focuses on what is between the lines, what isn't said, the sum total of the feeling you get rather than what you get from analysing each line, very similar to davies. Not to mention her empathetic chracterisation, storytelling, and simultaneous fondness and realistic ambivalence towards past and gone societies, and the modern and well-off. Her late-period first-person confessionals, Lookin' In and Apartment #9, remind me a lot of the exhaustion and nakedness of the Muswell Hillbillies/Lola Kinks period as well.

But a similar argument could be made re Scott as well. Hell, she's both, she's that good.
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Summ-a-Briz'



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:58 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

The similarity to scott also comes from the caberet element, which Bobbie possesses. She makes a real menagerie of the seemingly dissassociated material she touches.

With Ray, make no mistake--HE'S the writer. I don't think Scott and Bobbie give you that.
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IanWagner



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:06 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

Hmmm, whenever I think of Bobbie, I think of her material, not the cover tunes. Even more so than Scott.
But I see what you're saying about Scott and Bobbie making cover material part of their own universes through their own very distinctive styles. Less interpreters than soul stealers (in a good way).
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Jake



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:35 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

I’ve been wanting to get into her music for awhile now. Where is the best place to start? I'm more of an album than compilation fan...one of the twofers?
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IanWagner



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:46 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

The Delta Sweete will do it.
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IanWagner



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:08 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote


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