Click on the song titles above for lyrics and songwriting credits
Bobbie’s third album Local Gentry was her second release of 1968. The quality of Bobbie’s songwriting remained exceptional with the sinister eroticism of album opener Sweet Peony, the chilled out high of Sittin’ Pretty and the comic small town intrigue of Ace Insurance Man, but the albums highlights are arguably two songs about death; the poignant Recollection about a young girl coming to terms with bereavement and the black humored Caskette Vignette one of Bobbie’s best compositions featuring an undertaker callously fast-tracking a bereaved fiance.
Nevertheless Local Gentry feels compromised by too many cover versions, with The Delta Sweete’s release only months earlier perhaps there hadn’t been time to write sufficient new material. The blues covers of the previous LP have been dispensed with in favour of folk /pop selections, and whilst Bobbie’s interpretation of Kenny Rankin’s Peaceful must surely be definitive, versions of Come Away Melinda and Papa’s Medicine Show feel oddly perfunctory. In addition, the choice of no fewer than three Beatles songs weakens the albums impact considerably; Fool On The Hill and Here, There and Everywhere are convincingly done, but only Eleanor Rigby with its story of small-town loneliness and death sits comfortably alongside Bobbie’s own compositions.
In America the album was re-issued in 1971 by Capitol as Sittin’ Pretty minus Come Away Melinda.
In 2000 a cd compilation called Ode to Bobbie Gentry contained a couple of previously unreleased recordings, although they were not listed as such on the sleeve. One of these, Skip Along Sam by Donovan was recorded at the Local Gentry sessions.