27 Sep Bobbie Gentry – Ode to Billie Joe – Limited Edition 180 Gram LP
Out September 30th, 2022
Deluxe 180-gram reissue including original artwork.
Elemental Music together with Universal Music Spain proudly present a new LP reissue of Ode to Billie Joe, the debut album of American singer/songwriter Bobbie Gentry. Born and raised in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, Gentry remains one of the most interesting and underappreciated artists to emerge out of Nashville during the late ‘60s. She was one of the first female country artists to write and produce much of her own material, forging an idiosyncratic, pop-inspired sound that, in tandem with her glamorous, bombshell image, anticipated the rise of latter-day superstars like Shania Twain and Faith Hill.
The Southern Gothic masterpiece ODE TO BILLIE JOE, by American singer-songwriter Bobbie Gentry, would top the Billboard album chart in 1967. Its first single, the album’s title track, also topped the US pop chart for 4 weeks and received 8 Grammy nominations in 1967, resulting in 3 awards for Gentry (Best New Artist, Best Female Vocal Performance, and Best Contemporary Female Solo Vocal Performance), and one for arranger Jimmie Haskell (Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist or Instrumentalist).
Bobbie Gentry became an overnight sensation with her massive 1967 hit single, the hauntingly enigmatic “Ode to Billie Joe,” which was an immediate smash hit. In July 1967, with no special promotion, the song unexpectedly climbed up the charts past The Doors, Aretha Franklin and The Beatles, ultimately knocking “All You Need Is Love” out of the Number One spot. By August, the mysterious tale of Billie Joe McAllister jumping off the Tallahatchie Bridge was ubiquitous, the inescapable sound of the darkening days of the so-called “Summer of Love”. When the song exploded up the charts in July, Capitol decided to record the rest of what would become Gentry’s full debut album, and to get it in stores by August 21st. The foundations of most of the songs were on Gentry’s demo tape, with just some “sweetening sessions” scheduled at Capitol. When Capitol ordered 500,000 advance copies, Ode to Billie Joe became the most anticipated record in Capitol’s history, crushing the previous record of 100,000 copies ordered of 1964’s Meet the Beatles. The single was a number-one hit in the US and a big international seller. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 3 song of 1967. It generated eight Grammy nominations, resulting in three wins for Gentry and one for arranger Jimmie Haskell. “Ode to Billie Joe” has since made Rolling Stone’s lists of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and the “100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time” and Pitchfork’s “200 Best Songs of the 1960s”.
1. MISSISSIPPI DELTA (3:06)
2. I SAW AN ANGEL DIE (2:58)
3. CHICKASAW COUNTY CHILD (2:47)
4. SUNDAY BEST (2:45)
5. NIKI HOEKY (2:47)
(Jim Ford-Lolly Vegas-Pat Vegas)
1. PAPA, WONCHA LET ME GO TO TOWN WITH YOU (2:34)
2. BUGS (2:09)
3. HURRY TUESDAY CHILD (3:55)
4. LAZY WILLIE (2:42)
5. ODE TO BILLIE JOE (4:15)
BOBBIE GENTRY (vocals & guitar).
Original demo recorded by Bobby Gentry and Bobby Paris, early 1967. Overdub sessions made at Capitol Studio C, Hollywood, California, between May & July 1967.
Personnel: George Fields (harmonica & harp), Harold Diner, Barrett O’Hara (trombone), Jack Sheldon (trumpet), James Burton, Mike Deasy (guitar), Norman Serkin, Joseph Saxon, Jesse Ehrlich (cello & bass), Carl Nashan, Ralph Schaeffer, William Kurasch (violin), Dale Anderson (percussion) & Earl Palmer (drums).
Produced by Kelly Gordon
Arranged by Jimmie Haskell & Shorty Rogers
Conducted by Jimmie Haskell
Engineer: Joe Polito