domingo, 18 de octubre de 2009
Bobbie Gentry: Patchwork (1971) / Fancy (1970)
This two-fer combo is a worthwhile roundup of two of Bobbie Gentry's more overlooked records. From 1971, Patchwork is by far the more artistically ambitious of the pair, as it consists entirely of original (and self-produced) material, whereas 1970s Fancy is mostly cover versions. Patchwork, oddly, ended up being the still-young singer/songwriter's final long-player, and found her Southern pop-country-folk-soul fusion going in a somewhat slicker, more orchestrated direction than her early work. That's part of the reason it's not one of the more impressive Gentry albums, another being that the songs don't rate among her very best, sometimes going off in unexpectedly bouncy or middle-of-the-road directions. Still, her singing remains fine, and some of the more serious and intimate songs ('Beverly,' 'Belinda,' 'Lookin' In,' and 'Marigolds and Tangerines') are fairly impressive. Fancy is an odd entry in her discography in that, though it features a self-penned title track, it's otherwise devoted entirely to outside material, recorded (à la several white blue-eyed soulstresses circa 1970) at Muscle Shoals. The title track is a "Billie Joe"-type story with a similar guitar figure; it also has a host of West Coast horns telling an unapologetic rags-to-riches story without regrets that mirrors Gentry's own. From here, Gentry, assisted or perhaps directed by producer Rich Hall, cuts a pair of Bacharach/David numbers ('Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head' and 'I'll Never Fall in Love Again'), James Taylor's 'Something in the Way He Moves,' Leon Russell's 'Delta Man,' Nilsson's 'Rainmaker,' Rudy Clark's 'If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody,' Laura Nyro's 'Wedding Bell Blues,' and a few others with full strings, horns, orchestras, and glockenspiels for accompaniment — along with a honky tonk piano, drum kit, and electric bass. As such, it was never going to be among Gentry's more distinguished efforts. But that's not to say it's not enjoyable, mostly for her superb earthy singing.
Bobbie Gentry sings 'Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head', 1971 :