Tara Murtha- Ode to Billie Joe review   Leave a comment

untitledLike many, I became enamoured with “Ode to Billie Joe” the first time I heard it. It was like nothing else I had heard as a child, and its languid pace and mysterious story forged a bridge between the teen noir songs of tragedy (“Teen Angel,” “Last Kiss,” “Leader of the Pack”) I had already embraced and the more expansive character studies and short stories in song I would come to appreciate from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Rachel Sweet, and Tom T. Hall, Bob Dylan be damned.

As an adult, I began to appreciate Bobbie Gentry when I read a review of Chickasaw Country Child in No Depression (or Uncut, maybe?) I devoured that album, having not realized previously how deep beyond “Ode to Billie Joe” Gentry’s music went. A couple or four years back, I purchased downloads of all the available Gentry albums, and they have been mainstays on my iThing since. Make no mistake, there is more- much more- to Gentry than a single, fabulous as it may be, song.

I don’t know if “Ode to Billie Joe” is the greatest song ever recorded, but it is certainly in the conversation. Tara Murtha has recently released an amazing little book called “Ode to Billie Joe” as part of the ongoing 331/3 series. It has so much to offer, including mentions of songs that I hadn’t known existed and have since spent some time attempting to track down. Much time has been spent watching YouTube as a result of Murtha’s referencing of television appearances, performance clips, and home movies. The portrait Murtha paints is of a dynamic and forceful artist who was (and perhaps, may still be- how are we to know?) determined to make her mark within the music industry.

It is a wonderful read, and my review has been published over at Country Standard Time: http://www.countrystandardtime.com/d/bookreview.asp?xid=60

Well worth consideration.

Thanks for reading Fervor Coulee. Donald


Posted 2015 February 19 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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