Bobbie Gentry Top 5 Music Obsessions

Top 5 Music Obsessions featuring Bobbie Gentry

Its been awhile. Writing has been hard lately, but not writing may have been harder. My anxiety has been turned up high, sleep has been a struggle (except for the last two nights), and worry has consumed nearly every waking moment (and sleepless moments, too). But, I’m still here and I’m still listening, and obsessing, over music. And, I’m trying to make my way through a live music review, work on editing some chapters (and maybe writing a new one), and keep my hope and belief in love, and good things happening, intact. None of it is easy right now, but I need to keep trying, regardless.

Music always helps get me through. Writing, too. I’m not giving up on love or hope, writing or music. Not now, or ever. Believing makes all the difference, at least to me. Even when all this anxiety and worry, and rough times, is playing havoc on me, triggering all kinds of insecurities and concerns. Hope, belief, love, music, and writing, they are my shield and sword. So, I’m going to turn up the volume and get back to writing. Again.

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Top 5 Music Obsessions – Tuesday, October 24, 2018

Listen via Spotify and YouTube

1. “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry
from the album, The Girl From Chicksaw County – The Complete Capitol Masters (2018)

Bobbie Gentry Ode to Billie Joe Top 5 Music Obsessions Song 1

“And mama said to me,
child, what’s happened to your appetite?
I’ve been cookin’ all morning,
and you haven’t touched a single bite.
That nice young preacher, Brother Taylor, dropped by today.
Said he’d be pleased to have dinner on Sunday,
oh, by the way.
He said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you,
up on Choctaw Ridge,
and she and Billie Joe was throwing somethin’ off the Tallahatchie Bridge.”

In August 1967, Lyndon Johnson announced that he was sending 45,000 more troops to Vietnam. Black power advocate Stokely Carmichael called for violent revolution in the streets. Beatles manager Brian Epstein died from an overdose of sleeping pills. But around water coolers, the hot topic was what Billie Joe McAllister and his girlfriend threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge. (from Performing Songwriter)

I’ve been a fan of Bobbie Gentry since I was a young girl. My aunt had her albums on 8-Track. My mom had a few on vinyl. I remember being fascinated by Billie Joe’s Ode, imagining what it was that they threw off that bridge. Wondering if it was whatever that was that caused Billie Joe’s suicide. And why did no one really seem to care, except, of course, the girl who Bobbie is singing as?

She’s still there throwing flowers off the bridge. Are they for Billie Joe? For herself? For what they threw off that bridge years before?

I love story songs like this. The ones that don’t tell you everything, but sing to you just enough story to have you wanting, and imagining, more.

2. “All Through the Night” by Cyndi Lauper
from the album, She’s So Unusual (1984)

Cyndi Lauper All Through the Night Top 5 Music Obsessions Song 2

“Oh, the sleep in your eyes is enough.
Let me be there,
let me stay there awhile.”

She’s So Unusual was one of my favorite albums in 1984. I wore the record out, and especially loved this song, and “When You Were Mine”. This track always felt like a lullaby for grownups. For lovers. A song to sing to each other, or to play when you miss someone you love.

Listening to it now, I’m reminded of how much I love waking up next to the man I love. How even on sleepless nights, when my insomnia is at its worse, it still helps to have him asleep next to me. He feels like home to me. Home, and forever love.

3. “Dance With Me” by Nouvelle Vague
from the album, Bande A Part (2006)

Nouvelle Vague Dance With Me Top 5 Music Obsessions Song 3

“Burning like an angel,
who has heaven in reprieve.
Burning like the voodoo man,
with devils on his sleeve.”

Nouvelle Vague covers are a favorite of mine. This track was originally by The Lords of the New Church, though I’m not familiar with the original. Only their cover.

Original – Lords of the New Church

4. “Skeleton Tree” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
from the album, Skeleton Tree (2016)

“Sunday morning,
skeleton tree,
pressed against the sky.
The jittery TV,
glowing white like fire.
and I called out,
I called out,
right across the sea.
I called out,
I called out,
that nothing is for free.”

Last Sunday we saw Nick Cave play live. I could have sworn that he played this song. A favorite of mine. But reviewing the set list while putting together the live review I’m writing, I don’t see it. Seems I imagined it.

Sundays are hard. Though they used to be my favorite day of the week. I’m trying to get back to those feelings, and not let my anticipated dread take over, as it sounds like that is making the day harder. I want to do everything I can to make it good, not add to anything on the flip side. I think together we can redefine the day, make it ours in small ways. Make it better. Together we make everything better, at least to me.

5. “Cry Me a River” by Julie London
from the album, The Very Best of Julie London (2006)

“You drove me,
nearly drove me out of my head,
while you never shed a tear.
I remember all that you said.
Told me love was too plebeian.
Told me you were through with me.
and now you say you love me.
Well, just to prove you do,
come on and cry me a river,
cry me a river.
I cried a river over you.”

Plebeian? Member of the Roman “plebs”, or common people. Not a word I’d expect to find in a love song/heartbreak song.

I’ve always loved Julie London’s version of the Arthur Hamilton penned song. And the video, with a ghostly London singing (from the film The Girl Can’t Help It), is priceless.

“The Girl Can’t Help It” trailer

Top 5 Music Obsessions – Week of October 22, 2018


One thought on “Top 5 Music Obsessions featuring Bobbie Gentry

  1. Wow. Some of these I’ve long forgotten about. I am sorry to hear about the anxiety, but you have one of the best medications that you don’t need a pill or prescription for. I hope you draw upon your vast music knowledge and love for music that I hope will pull you through. Good luck!

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