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Reflections of a working writer and reader



The Tallahatchie Bridge

And Papa said to Mama as he passed around the blackeyed peas
“Well, Billy Joe never had a lick of sense, pass the biscuits, please.
There’s five more acres in the lower forty I’ve got to plow.”
And Mama said it was shame about Billy Joe, anyhow
Seems like nothin’ ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge
And now Billy Joe MacAllister’s jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

The Bridge collapsed in 1972:

But on the evidence of this song, Bobbie Gentry was quite a writer.

3 Responses to “The Tallahatchie Bridge”

  1. Pat Nurse says:

    Very interesting. I never knew it really existed never mind that it fell in ’72. I remember the song tho. Such great words and yes, what a great writer Bobby Gentry is/was?

  2. daniel says:

    I did an extensive search on the vast money trail of Bobbie Gentry’s classic Ode to Billie Joe. Six covers alone in 1967 and over 100 to date with 50 million in record sales. In 1967 blues instrumentalist, Lou Donaldson, was one of many who covered the song. His musical ‘ break’ in the session has become the most sampled piece of music in hiphop and rap. Everyone from Mary J. Blidge to Kanye West as sampled it- over 80 rap artists. When you add the huge sales, royalties and extensive movie rights from the film adaptation of 1976( it made 26 million after the theatre owner split on a 1 million dollar budget with B. Gentry owning a 10% stake) the song was generated revenue in excess of 100 million dollars in four decades.

  3. paisley says:

    So interesting. I love the lyrics and the sound – gives me goosebumps (in a good way).