Monday, February 18, 2008

Obsession of the Week: Bobbie Gentry

I'd never even heard of 60s singer Bobbie Gentry before, but they were playing one of her albums in a coffee shop where I was lunching a few days ago. I was immediately fascinated by her unique blend of country, r&b and folk, so I pestered staff to tell me what I was hearing. Apparently everyone but me knows Gentry for her fantastic song "Ode to Billy Joe," but the song wasn't familiar to me in the least. (It was apparently the basis for an unpopular film - one that does sound vaguely familiar.)

I also fell in love with what seems to be her second-biggest hit, "Fancy" (a song apparently used in an episode of Six Feet Under):

(For a night-and-day instruction in what's changed in music over the decades, compare that to the unintentionally campy video for the Reba McEntire cover.)

There's much more to Gentry's career than these two well-known hits. Having picked up a greatest hits cd, I'm already a big fan. And I haven't even scratched the surface of her acclaimed duets yet, many of which are available on iTunes.


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