“Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry

Bobbie Gentry was the female answer to the ‘Outlaw’ Country artists like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, a voice of pure visceral artistic truth in an era when Nashville polish, while nowhere near as bad as it is now, still sometimes stifled the kind of rawness Gentry represented. This song is dark, depressing, and deliberately ambiguous, leaving the listener to draw his own conclusions about what motivated the title character’s suicide and what the narrator’s real relationship was to him. It’s a brilliant and disturbing piece of work, probably too disturbing for a lot of the Country music audience, but still as fascinating and evocative today as it was then.

Verdict: Good

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.