Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Billie Joe ... Goes Soul

Three makes a crowd! Therefore, after the posts of the last days, here is still another version of Bobbie Gentry's »Ode To Billie Joe«. This time it's a »southern Soul«-version, taken from Joe Tex's album »Soul Country«.

Joe Tex (1933-1982) was during the 1960s an ever-present artist in the music business, and in the years 1966-1968 he was at the peak of his career (at least for the time being). Between 1965 and 1970 he had several LPs on Dial Records which were distributed (and actually also manufactured) by Atlantic Records. On the Dial/Atlantic LP # SD 8187 »Soul Country«, released in July 1968, Joe Tex re-interprets known C&W-tunes in the manner of Soul-tunes ... and this explains the ambi- guity of the album title: »Country made into Soul« or simply »Land of Soul«, i.e. »Soul Country«.

Now, Bobbie Gentry's »Ode To Billie Joe« is not really a C&W-song in the proper sense, but it still might be considered sufficiently »country« in order to receive the Soul-treatment on Joe Tex's LP. The result is worth hearing. On the other hand, I think that Bobbie Gentry's song cannot be topped, no matter which style you adopt or which adaptions you are about to make. But still ... listen here:

Joe Tex: »Ode To Billie Joe« from the Atlantic LP »Soul Country« (1968):


  1. I love Bobbie's original of this song, and Joe Tex did a good job as well. HOWEVER, I'm assuming you haven't heard Tina Turner's take on this song... Her version by far blows everyone else's out the water...NO LIE. It is pure undiluted S-O-U-L.

  2. Many thanks for this info. No, indeed, I can't remember having heard Tina's version of it ... have to look for it, you really made me curious!

  3. If u send me your email addy, I'd gladly email it to u.
    Tina really put a country-backwoods-stank on it. Packaged in simple funk!

  4. please do, couldn't track your e-mail, though! You'll find mine on my Profile page.