Mercury Rev Share a Cover of Bobbie Gentry's "Okolona River Bottom Band" Featuring Norah Jones | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Mercury Rev Share a Cover of Bobbie Gentry’s “Okolona River Bottom Band” Featuring Norah Jones

The Delta Sweete Revisited Due Out February 8 via Partisan/Bella Union; Also Features Margo Price, Hope Sandoval, Phoebe Bridgers, Rachel Goswell,

Jan 09, 2019
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Mercury Rev are releasing a new album, The Delta Sweete Revisited, on February 8 via Partisan and Bella Union. On the album they cover Bobbie Gentry's 1968 "country-rock opera" The Delta Sweete in its entirety, each with a different guest singer. Now they have shared a cover of the album's "Okolona River Bottom Band" featuring Norah Jones. Listen below.

Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donohue had this to say about the track in a press release: "While sipping concoctions from a coffee cup labeled 'Near Enough,' a brilliant mind once theorized that in any large enough system, even the most improbable event will occur. So, like bats in the moonlight, we pinged our sound out there and waited to see what bounced back...and then, much to our surprise what came back was Norah Jones singing the daylights out of our lil' pocket fantasia version of Bobbie Gentry's 'Okolona River Bottom Band.' Theorem proved."

Previously Mercury Rev shared the album's first two singles: a cover of "Sermon" featuring Margo Price (it was one of our Songs of the Week) and a cover of "Big Boss Man" featuring guest vocals from Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. The Delta Sweete Revisited also features guest vocals from Phoebe Bridgers, Lucinda Williams, Vashti Bunyan, Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), Lætitia Sadier (Stereolab), Kaela Sinclair (M83), Susanne Sundfør, Beth Orton, and others.

Midlake's Jesse Chandler joined Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper to produce, perform, and rearrange all the music on The Delta Sweete Revisited. The original The Delta Sweete was Gentry's second album and was released in 1968. It followed her 1967 debut album, Ode to Billie Joe, which was a #1 album, in part thanks to its hit single of a title track. The Delta Sweete, on the other hand, was much less of a success, only making it to #132 on the Billboard album charts. Mercury Rev's album includes as a bonus track a cover of "Ode to Billie Joe" featuring Lucinda Williams.

Margo Price had this to say about the album in a previous press release: "Bobbie Gentry is one of the greatest writers and performers of our time. She was the definition of country funk and southern soul. Her songs were well-crafted, literary masterpieces. Bobbie produced so much of her own work that she didn't get credit for. Her influence on my music has been massive and her influence on the music world in general is earth shattering. Bobbie is iconic, original, eloquent and timeless. She is an elusive wonder in a world of plain spoken, worn out cliques. She has remained a strong voice and an eternal spirit of the delta, wrapped in mystery, yet forever here."

Mercury Rev's last album, The Light In You, came out in 2015 via Bella Union. This year they celebrated the 20th anniversary of arguably their most acclaimed and beloved album, 1998's Deserter's Songs, via some tour dates where they performed the album.

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