American indie rock band Mercury Rev have announced the release of Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete Revisited, available 8th February via Bella Union. The album is a reimagining of Bobbie Gentry’s forgotten masterpiece and features an incredible cast list of guest vocalists including Norah Jones, Hope Sandoval, Beth Orton, Lucinda Williams, Rachel Goswell, Vashti Bunyan, Marissa Nadler, Susanne Sundfør, Phoebe Bridgers, Margo Price, Kaela Sinclair, Carice Van Houten and Laetitia Sadier.
Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete Revisited is Mercury Rev’s committed and affectionate resurrection of an album that anticipated by three decades their own pivotal expedition through transcendental America, 1998’s Deserter’s Songs. From their recording lair in New York’s Catskill Mountains, the founding core of Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper with Jesse Chandler (previously in the Texas group Midlake) honour Gentry’s creative triumph with spacious invention and hallucinatory flair. And they are not alone. Gentry’s stories and original resolve are brought to new vocal life and empowerment by a vocal cast of women from across modern rock and its alternative paths: among them, Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval; Laetitia Sadier, formerly of Stereolab; Marissa Nadler; Margo Price, the fiery new country star with a punk-rock heart; and Norway’s Susanne Sundfør, who cuts through “Tobacco Road” with arctic-Nico poise as the Rev’s trademark technicolor orchestration sweeps us towards the penultimate poignant love lorn wash of Beth Orton’s “Courtyard” and into the melancholy mystery of “Ode to Billie Joe” from America’s other grand southern belle Lucinda Williams.
Those fans based in New York will not want to miss Ode to Bobbie Gentry: Celebrating a Living Legend which takes place on 30/10/2018 at the Bell House in Brooklyn. Hosted by Julie Klausner the show features Jill Sobule, Ted Leo, Laura Cantrell, Jean Grae, Tammy Faye Starlite, Eszter Balint, Nath Ann Carrera, Josh Kantor, Phil D’Agostino, & other Special Guests.
It’s sure to be a great night, and Tara Murtha who is producing the event will also be screening some of her rare Vegas footage of Bobbie, making this an unmissable night for fans! Tickets can be purchased here.
RIP Tony Joe White. Tony reigned supreme as one of the true masters of funky bluesy swamp rock. The singer/songwriter/guitarist unexpectedly passed away today aged 75.
Tony directly credited Bobbie’s ‘Ode To Billie Joe’ with turning him into a songwriter. Discussing the genesis of his first composition ‘Polk Salad Annie’ he recalled “I heard ’Ode to Billie Joe’ on the radio and I thought, man, how real, because I am Billie Joe, I know that life. I’ve been in the cotton fields. At that time I was doing a lot of Elvis and John Lee Hooker onstage with my drummer. No original songs, and I hadn’t really thought about it. But after I heard Bobbie I sat down and thought … well I know about polk because I had ate a bunch of it and I knew about rainy nights because I spent a lot of rainy nights in Marietta, Georgia. So I was real lucky with my first tries to write something that was not only real and hit pretty close to the bone, but lasted that long. So it was kind of a guide for me then on through life to always try to write what I know about.”
Tony and Bobbie later became friends and he guested on her 1971 BBC TV series. In one of his last interviews he said that some years later “she wrote me a letter and said, ‘We’ll still get together, maybe, and try to write the song we were talking about. But right now, I’m pulling away from the music business.’ I framed that letter. I still have it in my studio. Hand-wrote.”
It’s time to celebrate! A week after release, The Bobbie Gentry boxset The Girl From Chickasaw County has debuted at no. 1 on the official UK Country Music Chart in the compilation category. Thanks to all the fans that have supported this release!
At last the wait is over! The Bobbie Gentry boxset The Girl From Chickasaw County is out now. This major retrospective includes all seven of Bobbie’s studio albums sensitively re-mastered from the original tapes, supplemented by over 75 previously unreleased recordings, all housed in a beautiful package. For purchase and streaming options, head here!
Watch our trailer featuring rare BBC footage below.
More great reviews for ‘The Girl From Chickasaw County’
The Great reviews for ‘The Girl From Chickasaw County’ boxset continue!
Sunday Times: Must have re-issue ‘Her talent for richly detailed songwriting roamed far and wide, as this fascinating box set shows.’ The Times: 5/5 ‘One of the most underrated songwriters of the 20th century, This handsome box set is a fitting tribute.’ The Sun: 4 1/2 / 5 ‘This sumptuous, beautifully curated box set rounds up all of her releases. A hidden treasure’. Daily Mirror: 4/5 ‘This long overdue expansive eight-disc set shows her legacy is so much more than ‘Ode To Billie Joe’. Daily Mail: 4/5 ‘This eight-disc CD retrospective is a fitting tribute to her enigmatic talent.’ Record Collector: 5/5 ‘A powerhouse of a woman, and a wonderful compilation to celebrate that.’ HiFi Choice: 5/5 ‘Brings her legacy sharply back into focus; what emerges is a revelation.’ The Arts Desk: Re-issue of the week ‘The Girl From Chickasaw County amply makes it clear that Gentry is a significant artist and this essential box set renders Bobbie Gentry more fascinating than ever’. Shindig!: 5/5, ‘The box would be a formidable collection in it’s own right, but the rare and unreleased material make it unmissable – a stunning feat of excavation from compiler Andrew Batt’. Music Week: ‘A strong and intriguing collection. Gentry was a versatile performer, with pop, soul, swamp funk, jazz and blues influences.’ AllMusic: 4 1/2 / 5 ‘The rarities deepen her work and add to the mystery, making The Girl from Chickasaw County a box set as endlessly beguiling as Bobbie Gentry herself.’