A remarkable side project analog to Tara Murtha’s recently-published 33 & 1/3 treatise on the still-unsolved southern gothic murder mystery at the center of Bobbie Gentry’s eerie, Rosebud-like 1967 AM radio hit and the concert — an impeccable track by track live recreation of the album, with uncanny fidelity to the original recording — that celebrated the book’s publication at Underground Arts back in December. We’re gonna go out on a limb here and say this is not just worthy of the original, it’s actually BETTER — thicker, rounder, grittier, more here and now. The video, which documents the live-in-the-studio recording of this rendition in gorgeous high-contrast black and white chiaroscuro, matches the haunted beauty of the resulting recording. Here’s the press release that came with it:
It’s been 48 years since Bobbie Gentry released her landmark single “Ode to Billie Joe,” and decades since she vanished from the public eye. Yet fans still recall the sexy swivel of a Delta-born showgirl who became an international star singing about the third of June, another dusty Delta day.
What’s less known about Bobbie Gentry and “Ode to Billie Joe” is that after leaving Capitol Records, Gentry repeatedly claimed that she, in fact, produced the hit single, but didn’t get credit. Perhaps that’s part of the reason she slipped out of the spotlight after a whirlwind, record-breaking career—the only mystery bigger than what was thrown off the Tallahatchie Bridge.
To honor Gentry and her enduring tale of teenage suicide this third of June, musicians Jim Boggia (ukulele player extraordinaire/ yesteryear pop enthusiast), Allison Polans (powerhouse vocalist/songwriter), Sarah Larsen (strings/Hurricane Hoss boss) and Phil D’Agostino (bassist/producer/songwriter/X-factor) recorded this incredible interpretation of “Ode to Billie Joe.”
RELATED: Ode To Billie Joe 33 1/3 (Bloomsbury Academic) by Tara Murtha