Mercury Rev Share Two New Bobbie Gentry Covers Feat. Lucinda Williams and Susanne Sundfør | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Mercury Rev Share Two New Bobbie Gentry Covers Feat. Lucinda Williams and Susanne Sundfør

The Delta Sweete Revisited Due Out February 8 via Partisan/Bella Union; Listen to Covers of "Ode to Billie Joe" and "Tobacco Road"

Jan 23, 2019 Mercury Rev
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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 two more tracks from it: a cover of the album’s “Tobacco Road” featuring Susanne Sundfør and the album’s bonus track, a cover of “Ode to Billie Joe” featuring Lucinda Williams (the original was the title track to the album before The Delta Sweete). Listen to both tracks below.

Previously Mercury Rev shared the album’s first three singles: a cover of “Sermon” featuring Margo Price (it was one of our Songs of the Week), a cover of “Big Boss Man” featuring guest vocals from Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, and a cover of “Okolona River Bottom Band” featuring Norah Jones. The Delta Sweete Revisited also features guest vocals from Phoebe Bridgers, Vashti Bunyan, Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), Lætitia Sadier (Stereolab), Kaela Sinclair (M83), 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. Last 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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Daniel Reed Drown
January 24th 2019

I know it’s minor, but Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete peaked at #111 on the Billboard top 200 album chart.  I have all the Billboard magazines from that era and found it’s peak position. It went from #132 to #111 for it’s peak and had a three month run on the top 200 album chart. I guess it was a commercial disappointment compared to the monster 1.5 million sales of her debut album Ode To Billie Joe( only the second album by a female artist to sell a million copies, Barbara Streisand was the first) but compared to other female singer-songwriters of the era it had respectable sales. As an example, Buffy St. Marie, only had one of her albums chart higher than this in her entire recording career.