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Country - Released September 21, 2018 | Capitol Records Nashville

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
More than eight and a half hours of music! Bobby Gentry absolutely deserves such a generous celebration, even though her glory years only really lasted about a decade. Retiring in the early 1980s into total anonymity, this great voice of the 1960s and 1970s is presented here in a deluxe selection. Across 8 records, 177 tracks are brought together: her six studio albums for Capitol (Ode to Billie Joe from 1967, The Delta Sweete and Local Gentry from 1968, Touch ‘Em With Love from 1969, Fancy from 1970 and  Patchwork from 1971), the record she made with Glen Campbell in 1968 and over 70 unreleased tracks including alternative takes, demos, BBC live recordings and all kinds of rarities! Hidden behind the mystery of her premature retirement and the cult following which has only grown with time remain these songs. Bobbie Gentry was more than just a simple country, folk and pop singer like so many others of her generation. Only Bobby could’ve written hits like Mornin' Glory, Fancy, Okolona River Bottom Band, Chickasaw County Child and most famous of all, covered the world over, Ode to Billie Joe, the fascinating story of the suicide of the mysterious Billie Joe McAllister who leapt from Tallahatchie Bridge. In France, Joe Dassin would go on to put a French spin on the song: Billie Joe became Marie-Jeanne and the Tallahatchie Bridge became the bridge over the Garonne…There is class, freedom and striking sensuality in Bobbie Gentry's voice. There are also brilliant arrangements and an instrumentation that line up perfectly with the songs, from slightly kitschy lounge strings (but they're so cool) to a simple guitar that clings to the contours of her voice. Bobbie Gentry was never fully country, fully pop, fully soul or fully folk. She was Bobbie Gentry. Full stop. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Country - Released August 21, 1967 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Gentry's debut LP, which went to number one on the pop charts, was a promising but not wholly satisfying disc, with the singer penning all but one of the songs. Inevitably, the title track dwarfed everything else by comparison, but a greater problem was that several of the other tunes recycled variations of the "Ode to Billie Joe" riff. On the other hand, "Mississippi Delta" is gloriously tough, throaty swamp rock; few other women pop singers have sounded as raw. Other good cuts were "I Saw an Angel Die," an effective mating of Gentry's country-blues guitar riffs and low-key orchestration, and the jazz waltz-timed "Papa, Woncha Let Me Go to Town With You." Her vocals are poised and husky throughout the record, on which she was definitely on the right track -- one that she was quickly diverted from, into more MOR-oriented sounds. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Country - Released February 5, 1968 | Capitol Records

Bobbie Gentry seized the opportunities afforded her by a smash debut single by designing her second album as a quasi-autobiographical portrait of the American South. Gentry nodded at her ambition by naming the LP The Delta Sweete, a title that suggests a set of interconnected songs, if not quite a concept album. The Delta Sweete doesn't deliver a unified narrative, it's a collection of short stories offering variations on a particular theme -- namely, the peculiarities of the South. It's no coincidence that Southern eccentricities flourished on "Ode to Billie Joe," her runaway 1967 hit. In a sense, The Delta Sweete functions as an explicit sequel to "Ode to Billie Joe," trading upon keenly observed vignettes and languidly funky rhythms, elements that underpin the LP's 12 songs, whether they're written by Gentry or not. A quarter of the album is dedicated to covers, and they're not left-field choices, either. "Big Boss Man" is a Jimmy Reed tune that had just been recorded by both Charlie Rich and Elvis Presley, the blues standard "Parchman Farm" became a '60s standard after being adapted by Mose Allison, John D Loudermilk's "Tobacco Road'' was turned into a garage rock standard by the British group the Nashville Teens, and Doug Kershaw's "Louisiana Man" was well on its way to becoming a country classic in 1968. Gentry doesn't replicate the original arrangements of these at all, she breaks them open and expands them in a fashion that exists somewhere between psychedelic pop and Las Vegas revue. The Delta Sweete occupies that place as a whole, alternating between showstopping extravaganzas and genuinely trippy looks inward. This curious blend didn't find an audience in 1968; it nearly upended Gentry's career, failing to generate a hit and stalling at 132 on Billboard's Top 200. Belonging neither to the mainstream nor the counterculture, The Delta Sweete is a beguiling oddity that's simultaneously ornate and spooky. Over the years, it deservedly found its cult. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released February 5, 1968 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Bobbie Gentry seized the opportunities afforded her by a smash debut single by designing her second album as a quasi-autobiographical portrait of the American South. Gentry nodded at her ambition by naming the LP The Delta Sweete, a title that suggests a set of interconnected songs, if not quite a concept album. The Delta Sweete doesn't deliver a unified narrative, it's a collection of short stories offering variations on a particular theme -- namely, the peculiarities of the South. It's no coincidence that Southern eccentricities flourished on "Ode to Billie Joe," her runaway 1967 hit. In a sense, The Delta Sweete functions as an explicit sequel to "Ode to Billie Joe," trading upon keenly observed vignettes and languidly funky rhythms, elements that underpin the LP's 12 songs, whether they're written by Gentry or not. A quarter of the album is dedicated to covers, and they're not left-field choices, either. "Big Boss Man" is a Jimmy Reed tune that had just been recorded by both Charlie Rich and Elvis Presley, the blues standard "Parchman Farm" became a '60s standard after being adapted by Mose Allison, John D Loudermilk's "Tobacco Road'' was turned into a garage rock standard by the British group the Nashville Teens, and Doug Kershaw's "Louisiana Man" was well on its way to becoming a country classic in 1968. Gentry doesn't replicate the original arrangements of these at all, she breaks them open and expands them in a fashion that exists somewhere between psychedelic pop and Las Vegas revue. The Delta Sweete occupies that place as a whole, alternating between showstopping extravaganzas and genuinely trippy looks inward. This curious blend didn't find an audience in 1968; it nearly upended Gentry's career, failing to generate a hit and stalling at 132 on Billboard's Top 200. Belonging neither to the mainstream nor the counterculture, The Delta Sweete is a beguiling oddity that's simultaneously ornate and spooky. Over the years, it deservedly found its cult. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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R&B - Released March 11, 2019 | Old Stars

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Country - Released August 1, 1969 | Capitol Records

Touch 'Em With Love is Bobbie Gentry's finest studio effort, a fascinatingly eclectic and genuinely affecting record that broadened her musical horizons far beyond the limitations of the Nashville sound. Its unexpectedly gritty, soulful production makes it something of a spiritual twin to Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis, also released in 1969 (both even feature renditions of "Son of a Preacher Man"): Gentry's husky, sensual delivery proves as ideally suited for the Southern-fried funk of the opening title track as it does for the bluegrass-flavored "Natural to Be Gone," deftly moving from genre to genre to encompass everything from faux-gospel ("Glory Hallelujah, How They'll Sing") to lushly orchestrated pop ("I Wouldn't Be Surprised," the disc's centerpiece). Even more eye-opening is that Gentry's originals stand tall alongside material from composers including Burt Bacharach ("I'll Never Fall in Love Again," which earned her a chart-topping single in the U.K.) and Jimmy Webb ("Where's the Playground, Johnny") -- her folky "Seasons Come, Seasons Go," an acute tale of lost love, offers Touch 'Em With Love's most profoundly beautiful moment. A truly great and tragically under-recognized album. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Country - Released March 23, 2015 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Country - Released January 1, 2005 | EMI Gold

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Country - Released May 1, 1971 | EMI Catalogue

While Patchwork is not Bobbie Gentry at the peak of her powers, it's nonetheless mysterious that this would be her last album, although a few singles did follow in the 1970s. For the singer/songwriter obviously seemed to have much left to give, composing or co-composing all dozen tracks as well as producing the record herself. Like many another long-playing record in the late '60s and early '70s, it's given a quasi-concept aura via the device of half-minute "interludes" that link seven of the tracks. There doesn't seem to be a definite thematic concept at work here, however, other than quite a few of the songs being character sketches -- not that this was anything new for Gentry. It's not among her more rootsy records, however, and is arguably too slick and heavy on the orchestration from the production end. Sometimes it sounds kind of like Nancy Sinatra might have had that star begun writing material under the influence of her producer, Lee Hazlewood. Sometimes it sounds a little closer to the kind of jaunty, slyly tongue-in-cheek observational style of singer/songwriters like Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman than it does to Bobbie Gentry. At its most middle of the road, it seems like there might be some Jimmy Webb worming its way into her approach as well; "Somebody Like Me" even sounds a bit like the Fifth Dimension. None of these songs really rank among her very best (or certainly her earthiest), and it's more something to be enjoyed by committed fans than recommended as the first or second stop for someone who wants more than a best-of collection. Still, some of the charms particular to Gentry -- her husky voice, and her fusion of country, folk, and pop -- remain in force, the most serious and intimate portraits ("Beverly," "Belinda," "Lookin' In," and "Marigolds and Tangerines") being the most impressive. © Richie Unterberger /TiVo
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Country - Released May 1, 1970 | Capitol Records

Fancy is a wild ride through all the contradictions that are Bobbie Gentry. After her breakthrough smash, "Ode to Billy Joe," with its haunted guitar figure and cipher meaning, the Mississippi singer/songwriter became the embodiment of backwoods in the eyes of the American public. But on Fancy, Gentry told the truth of what she aspired to. The title track is a "Billie Joe"-type story with a similar guitar figure; it also has a host of West Coast horns telling an unapologetic rags-to-riches story without regrets that mirrors Gentry's own. But it only begins here. From here, Gentry, assisted or perhaps directed by producer Rick Hall, cuts a pair of Bacharach/David numbers ("Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again"), James Taylor's "Something in the Way He (sic) Moves," Leon Russell's "Delta Man" (sic), Nilsson's "Rainmaker," Rudy Clark's "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody," Laura Nyro's "Wedding Bell Blues," and a few others with full strings, horns, orchestras, and glockenspiels for accompaniment -- along with a honky tonk piano, drum kit, and electric bass. What it makes for is even more of a mystery than "Ode to Billie Joe." Gentry's voice, with its smoke-tinged husky contralto, is ill-suited to this material. But that in itself is what makes this such a fascinating listen. None of it works, yet as a result, it's kind of a shambolic masterpiece. Not for the weak, but a compelling experience if you can make it through. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 1968 | Capitol Records

Bobbie Gentry would soon become a regular guest on Glen Campbell's genial television variety show, where her pantsuited, beehived country-pop bombshell image belied her delicate, sweet voice and smart, blues-tinged songwriting. Sadly, the latter is under-represented here, as only her minor "Mornin' Glory" makes the cut (compared to two of Campbell's own songs and a sweet but slight duet remake of his signature song, John Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind"), but Gentry's special vocal blend with Campbell -- the pair's voices harmonize utterly delightfully -- is the real highlight of this set. The song selection is pop-oriented, featuring surprising cover choices like Simon & Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" and, even better, a winning version of Margo Guryan's "Sunday Morning" that's surprisingly well-suited to Kelly Gordon and Al DeLory's countrypolitan production. However, Bob Russell's "Little Green Apples" is smarmy mush no matter who records it. This album is well worth seeking out for fans of both singers. © Stewart Mason /TiVo
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Country - Released October 1, 1968 | Capitol Records

Local Gentry is an exquisitely wrought collection of character studies steeped in the myth and lore of Southern culture -- from the funeral parlor director portrayed in "Casket Vignette" to the titular "Ace Insurance Man," Bobbie Gentry etches a series of revealing, well-observed narratives populated by folks both larger-than-life and small-time, adding up to something not unlike a country-pop Spoon River Anthology. A subtle, primarily acoustic effort, the record's sound and sensibility are steeped in Gentry's Mississippi upbringing, but despite the music's warmth and humanity, the effect is neither nostalgic nor saccharine -- instead, Gentry wistfully and wryly evokes a colorful rural culture populated by soldiers, widows, and traveling medicine shows. The five original compositions here rank among her most literate and personal, while covers like the Beatles' "Fool on the Hill" and "Eleanor Rigby" add to the roll call of misfits, eccentrics, and beautiful losers. Like all of Gentry's efforts, it's ripe for reissue. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2000 | Parlophone Catalogue

EMI/Zonophone's 2000 release Ode to Bobbie Gentry: The Capitol Years was the first CD-era compilation to make a serious attempt at summarizing Bobbie Gentry's remarkable recordings for Capitol during the late '60s and early '70s. Gentry didn't quite fit into any category. She was a singer/songwriter with a strong talent for folk narratives, but she had a husky, sexy voice and a predilection for blues and R&B. Her productions were slick and bright, perfect for AM pop radio, but she was pitched in a country direction. She wound up having success in many of these markets -- most notably with the Grammy-winning number one single "Ode to Billy Joe" -- but her music got increasingly idiosyncratic and her sales got increasingly smaller. Years later, her legacy seemed down to "Ode to Billy Joe," particularly since her Capitol catalog wasn't widely available, but Ode to Bobbie Gentry went a long way to restoring that reputation. It's not perfect by any means, however. It has a weird duality in that it favors her pop side yet leaves off many of her American chart singles: "Okolona River Bottom Band," "Louisiana Man," "Mornin' Glory," and the Glen Campbell duets "Let It Be Me" and "All I Have to Do Is Dream" are all missing. Yet it also tends to bypass stark, eerie mood pieces like "Casket Vignette" that are at the core of her cult legend in some quarters, since these prove how deeply her work could cut. So, this compilation winds up following compiler Dean Rudland's whims, which means it emphasizes material that plays up her pop and soul sides, including covers of "You've Made Me So Very Happy," "Son of a Preacher Man," "In the Ghetto," "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," and "Big Boss Man." This may not be the most unique of Gentry's work, even if it still bears her unique vocal style, and given the lack of compilations on the market, it's hard not to wish that these were left behind for some original work. Still, Ode to Bobbie Gentry has considerable merit, particularly in light of Raven's subsequent An American Quilt compilation. Where that disc focused on her quirkier material -- exactly the songs missing from here -- this is pitched at the mainstream that she most certainly played a part in during her peak. So, even though there's overlap with the Raven title, Ode to Bobbie Gentry certainly has its own character, one that's lighter and fluffier, but still quite appealing; for those who like the sound of Gentry's records, this is the preferable introduction (those who want her riskier material should turn to An American Quilt), but most listeners will need both. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2007 | Parlophone Catalogue

At two discs -- one devoted to original compositions, one to covers -- Zonophone's 2007 collection The Best of Bobbie Gentry: The Capitol Years (its subtitle is unintentionally amusing, as Gentry only recorded for Capitol) is the most comprehensive Bobbie Gentry set yet released, which isn't the same thing as the best. Not that this compilation is bad -- far from it, actually, since it does have all her hits and the great majority of her best tracks, plus a handful of rarities to lure in diehards. The problem is, it's too exhaustive to act as an introduction, especially with three terrific single-disc sets on the market (EMI's 2000 Ode to Bobbie Gentry, Raven's 2002 An American Quilt, Shout! Factory's 2004 Chickasaw County Child: The Artistry of Bobbie Gentry), and if you're already part of Gentry's cult, you'd be better served by getting Raven's pair of two-fers of original albums. That said, anybody who picks up this Best of Bobbie Gentry will hear plenty of wonderful music, so it's hardly a bad purchase; it's just that there are better options out there. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

Country - Released June 21, 2019 | Vintage Jukebox

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Pop - Released August 26, 2021 | SOFA - AV Catalog PS

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Ambient/New Age - Released September 25, 2020 | SOFA - AV Catalog PS

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Pop - Released August 30, 2021 | SOFA - AV Catalog PS

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Pop - Released August 29, 2021 | SOFA - AV Catalog PS