Most folks know Southern songwriter Bobbie Gentry as the singer of the spooky 'Sixties hit, "Ode To Billie Joe," which soared to the top of the Pop charts in 1967, and went Top 20 on the Country charts. She had a few other Country hits, mostly duets with Glen Campbell, but her success came mainly as a pop stylist, and the success of her first single eluded her afterwards, in part because she was just so dynamically innovative and outside the box that her work defied easy categorization and promotion. Anyhoo, here's a quick look at her work...
Bobbie Gentry "Greatest Hits" (Curb, 1989)
For a long time, this was the standard-issue CD best-of set... It's out of print now and definitely has been superseded by the fancy new retrospectives listed below...
Bobbie Gentry "The Golden Classics Of Bobbie Gentry" (Collectables, 1998)
Bobbie Gentry "Greatest Hits" (EMI, 2000)
Bobbie Gentry "Chickasaw County Child: The Artistry Of Bobbie Gentry" (Shout Factory, 2004)
This impressive 23-song collection will be a real eye-opener for folks unfamiliar with the totality of Gentry's career. The grand, sweeping, orchestrations and dense pop arrangements stand in contrast to her sultry, plainspoken, vocals, which often dip into bluesy soul-drenched phrasing. Gentry comes off a bit like Dusty Springfield on the magnificent Dusty In Memphis album, except that Gentry didn't just sing these songs -- the wrote all of them as well! It's an impressive body of work, consistently creative and outside of the well-defined boundaries of the rock, pop, soul and country traditions she draws on... This is a great collection, artistically rich and consistently engaging. Recommended!
Bobbie Gentry "The Best Of The Capitol Years" (Capitol Nashville, 2007)
An expansive, 40-song, 2-CD retrospective that even includes some unreleased stuff from the vaults... Could this be the ultimate Gentry best-of set? Well, I'm still kinda partial to the well-programmed Chickasaw County collection, but this one's definitely a good deal as well!
Bobbie Gentry "Ode To Billie Joe" (Capitol, 1967)
Bobbie Gentry "The Delta Sweete" (Capitol, 1968)
Bobbie Gentry "Local Gentry" (Capitol, 1968)
Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell "Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell" (Capitol, 1968)
Bobbie Gentry "Way Down South" (Capitol, 1968) (LP)
Bobbie Gentry "Touch 'Em With Love" (Capitol, 1969)
Bobbie Gentry "Fancy" (Capitol, 1970)
Bobbie Gentry "Patchwork" (Capitol, 1971)
Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell "All I Have To Do Is Dream" (Capitol, 1983) (LP)
Hick Music Index