Patchwork (1971) – Bobbie Gentry

More on Bobbie Gentry.

Junkie in the Attic

Gentry’s first collection of entirely self-written material, the fittingly titled Patchwork is a piecemeal work of country, gospel and show-tune motifs, not to mention filmic interludes. Sounds exhausting, but as ever Gentry is more than up to task. No dark narratives of prostitutes or suicides this time, but still THAT voice. She colours each genre with her effortless soul inflections that manage simultaneously a vibe of lazy and alert. It would be difficult to say which of her voice or words her biggest asset is; she often gets full mileage out of both, and whilst the lyrics are lighter on Patchwork, they are still enjoyable. “You may know my body/But you cannot know my mind” quotes Gentry from the archetypal stripper with a heart “Belinda”. Caricatures or counter-stereotypes is what she has gone for here; the traveller in “Benjamin”, the misunderstood rebel in “Billy The Kid”, the spiritualist in…

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