Bobbie Gentry’s archivist explores colossal ‘Girl from Chickasaw County’ box set

Session archivist Andrew Batt examines “The Girl From Chickasaw County — The Complete Capitol Masters,” an eye-opening 8-CD box set surveying Bobbie Gentry, the song weaver behind “Ode to Billie Joe.” Meanwhile, it’s the Chickasaw County Child attired in her Sunday best: Cascading brunette locks and orange threads permeate this dazzling July 1968 profile of a 23-year-old Gentry arriving in London for her debut television series for the BBC. The first female songwriter to host a series on the venerable network, six half-hour episodes were filmed annually for a total of 18 shows spanning 1968, 1969, and 1971. Image Credit: BBC / BobbieGentry.org.uk / Courtesy of Andrew Batt

Bobbie Gentry’s sole chart-topping album Ode to Billie Joe dropped on Capitol and dethroned the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in August 1967. A singer-songwriter waxing Americana decades before the genre was in vogue, the Mississippian’s sensuous, smoky vocals and mini Martin acoustic guitar riffs powered the LP’s mysterious, swampy…