A celebration of the LP, the long-player, the album music format. Reviews, recommendations and discussion.

The Delta Sweete – Bobbie Gentry (1968)

So this weeks album of the week was The Delta Sweete, a 1968 release from the Mississippi country singer Bobbie Gentry.

If anyone read last week’s review of the Ike and Tina Turner album you may want to skip the rest of this as I’m afraid it’s going to have a very similar tone. So to the only question that matters….is it any good? Well it’s ok.

As with last week’s record there is nothing particularly wrong with this LP at all, unfortunately there isn’t that much right with it either. It is a perfectly acceptable 45 minutes of country pop with a little dab of folk on the side. I have mentioned previously that country music isn’t really my thing and so a lot of my apathy may be largely due to this but the sign of a good record is when it can rise above the genre and appeal to a wider audience. Or that’s what I think anyway.

So to the record itself we start off with a Gentry original (she wrote 8 of the 12 tracks here), the not-bad-at-all ‘Okolona River Bottom Band’ which I believe was a single at the time too. A pretty promising start with it’s husky vocals and nice brass arrangements. But for me this is a very early peak. What follows is a few rather dull covers (‘Big Boss Man’, ‘Parchman Farm’), the somnolent ‘Mornin’ Glory’, which unfortunately had exactly the same effect on me, and a handful of forgettable nondescript tracks which left no impression on me whatsoever.

The opening track aside one other song does standout. ‘Sermon’ is a very nice slab of fast tempo 60’s pop with Bacharachian strings to boot (I am aware Bacharachian is almost certainly not a word but I quite like it…..if I say it enough maybe it will catch on). But it is a rare slice of cake in an otherwise treat free diet.

There are a couple of tracks which given a bit of an overhaul could be good. ‘Reunion’ is probably the most interesting track on the album structure-wise but the playground song lyrics and the vocal performances tip it over into annoying. Something which is repeated on the cover of ‘Louisiana Man’.

As with all albums reviewed on allaboutthealbum I have stuck to the original release tracklisting, in this case the US release, but interestingly the UK release had only 10 tracks rather than the original 12. Two of the covers (‘Big Boss Man’ and ‘Parchman Farm’) were removed. I can’t help thinking this may actually improve the record.

So after listening to this record for the past week I would sum it up as being fine…..not bad, not great, just fine. Perhaps if Bobbie had made it a little more Bacharachian it would have been better.

Okolona River Bottom Band*
Big Boss Man
Parchman Farm
Mornin’ Glory
Tobacco Road
Penduli Pendulum
Jessye’ Lisabeth
Louisiana Man

* = standout tracks


One comment on “The Delta Sweete – Bobbie Gentry (1968)

  1. Daniel
    April 29, 2013

    Your intitled to your opinion but this album is a true work of art. Master jazz pianist, Bill Evans, took Bobbie’s lush composition, ‘Mornin Glory’ and turned it tinto a jazz masterpiece. The lead track off his important ‘Live In Toyko’ album, Bill performed the song as the opening number in hundreds of concerts before his untimely death. ‘Refractions’ is a stunning piece of gothic poetry. Bobbie’s close mic vocals. have a pure intimacy that stand the test of time. This album has given me constant pleasure for over three decades. Mojo magazine named it as one one of the top 500 of all time in 2000.

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