To say she didn't have many hit singles, there are quite a few Bobbie Gentry compilations on the market. This is the best because it's got the most eclectic mix of her styles. Although there's nothing to indicate a remastering, the sound is very good AND it's also way cheaper than nearly all the others.
There are the obvious big hit singles - 'Ode To Billy Joe' and 'I'll Never Fall In Love Again' - plus the minor US hit 'Fancy'. The latter typifies Bobbie's own compositions in that it tells a poignant story; a young woman finds herself on the 'wrong side of the tracks' and uses her charms to better herself. The musical setting of the latter song is a cross between country and blues - what would be termed 'Americana' today.
Thrust into the Vegas and television show limelight it's no wonder she turned out so many cover versions. Some of these, which appear on her studio albums, are awful but here you get the pick of the good ones. 'Son Of A Preacher Man' equals the Dusty version and 'In The Ghetto' is hauntingly moving whilst 'You Made Me So Very Happy' shows that horns and strings don't necessarily mean easy listening.
The brilliant 'Girl from Cincinnati' brings us close to West Coast rock with its electric keyboards and rocky guitar. 'I Wouldn't Be Surprised' and 'Apartment 21' take us into singer-songwriter territory; the former has a similar piano riff to 'Go Now' and has a wonderful love lorn weariness to it. 'He Made A woman Out Of Me' and the final four tracks on the album bring us back to the south - gritty, funky rhythms and small town country life lyrics.
There is one cheaper compilation, 'The Very Best Of Bobbie Gentry' but it's got far too many naff cover versions and far too little of her more esoteric compositions. This, then, is the best purchase.
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