I was a little girl when this song came out and I had two older sisters who would sing this song all the time. So of course, I learned the words at a very young age.
Today I was driving home from Jasper and this song came on the radio and you know what? I was still able to sing almost every word to the song! And it’s been a few years! How is that? How can a person remember so vividly, a song from, uh hum, many years ago?
Bobbie Gentry’s biggest hit was “Ode To Billie Joe,” in which the young narrator tells the story—against a backdrop of biscuits and small-town Mississippi gossip—of how Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge. It became Billboard’s No. 3 song of 1967
It was a pretty sad song and later, when they made the movie, Ode To Billie Joe with xx, I, of course, watched it several times.
Bobby Gentry’s “Ode To Billie Joe”http://performingsongwriter.com/bobbie-gentry-ode-billie-joe/
It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin’ cotton, and my brother was balin’ hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And mama hollered out the back door, y’all, remember to wipe your feet
And then she said, I got some news this mornin’ from Choctaw Ridge
Today, Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off 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
And brother said he recollected when he, and Tom, and Billie Joe
Put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show
And wasn’t I talkin’ to him after church last Sunday night?
I’ll have another piece-a apple pie; you know, it don’t seem right
I saw him at the sawmill yesterday on Choctaw Ridge
And now ya tell me Billie Joe’s jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge
And mama said to me, child, what’s happened to your appetite?
I’ve been cookin’ all morning, and you haven’t touched a single bite
That nice young preacher, Brother Taylor, dropped by today
Said he’d be pleased to have dinner on Sunday, oh, by the way
He said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge
And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin’ off the Tallahatchie Bridge
A year has come and gone since we heard the news ’bout Billy Joe
And brother married Becky Thompson; they bought a store in Tupelo
There was a virus going ’round; papa caught it, and he died last spring
And now mama doesn’t seem to want to do much of anything
And me, I spend a lot of time pickin’ flowers up on Choctaw Ridge
And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge