It's Billie Joe McAllister Day 2018

I’ve got 5 more acres in the lower 40 to plow…

That sultry Bobbie Gentry video

It’s a shame about Billy Joe anyhow.

How should we celebrate the day?

Holy shit. This song is fucking amazing. (I’ve always known about it, I just have always thought it was fucking amazing.) SUCH tension created by those breezy dominant-seventh chords and the building strings. It’s like whoever created the instrumental arrangement had been influenced by a combination of Harry Nilsson and the Godfather soundtrack. Ingenious use of a story-song…actually, it might be among the only instances of such in all of pop music. (Not prog, not folk, but pop.)

Spend a lot of time pickin’ flowers up on Choctaw Ridge, and drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge?

(or into the nearest quarry, whatever)

I have no way to describe it in musical terms, to me it’s just a hauntingly somber yet beautiful melody.

If we were sitting at a piano, in about 20 minutes I could explain to you EXACTLY the harmonic concepts that go into creating that melody you describe as “haunting” and “somber” but beautiful. Anyone I’m teaching about music theory for the first time, I always make sure to emphasize: if you can describe a song in emotional terms (like “haunting”), then you already HAVE the intuitive knowledge of music theory concepts, all you need is the vocabulary to talk about them. And most of the important stuff (simple: the intervals of the major scale, the difference between major and minor; the sound of a major seventh versus a dominant seventh; the idea of a chord resolving or not resolving) could be explained in about an hour’s worth of musical training. If you are wanting to play rock or pop music, you are seriously 90% of the way there if you just understand the above. Jazz and classical is a very different story.

There isn’t a bridge close to me, so I can’t easily mark the day by throwing something off one. There is, however, a levee nearby, so I could throw something off that . . . but maybe that’s more appropriate for American Pie Day, which I believe is March 14.

Anyone know what’s up with brother? Is he still with that Becky Thompson girl?

Store went bankrupt when Walmart moved in. They’re on welfare now.

Social Security by now, I suspect.

Yeah, that too.


Brother is now sister. And yeah, she’s still with Becky. They got married right at the court decision. The reception was held up on Choctaw Ridge.

ETA: Pass the biscuits, please.

They already GOT married, back in the fifth verse. What was this, some kind of reaffirmation of their original vows?

No, no, for that one, you drink whiskey and rye with some good ol’ boys.

Singin’ this will be the day I get thrown off the Talahatchie Bridge.

Well, uhm, yeah, uhm, the original marriage was annulled after the change. Yeah, that’s the ticket! :slight_smile:

A year has come and gone since we… did a similar thread.

I would give my eyeteeth to hear the 7 minute version with the three (4?) extra verses.

But when the levee breaks, I have no place to stay. Mean old levee.

IIRC, Jimmie Haskel wrote the string sweetening tracks and Sid Sharp’s strings recorded it. I don’t know what studio did it, but I’ll bet it was somewhere in Los Angeles.

From here:

That’s somewhat of a Haskel signature lick.

I was lucky to work for Haskel in the 1970’s for at least one album (Cashman & West), although I wasn’t his regular copyist. I remember calling him up in the middle of the night (the session was planned for 9AM and I got the charts to copy sometime after midnight), and asking him about some musical shorthand he had written for the violins. I realized that if I had to write out every note of a chromatic sweep, it would take a lot of time, but Haskel told me to copy his shorthand and “the players will figure it out.” Damned if they did, the next morning.

I also asked him why he wrote such complete harmony for a string section, since everyone knows that the final outcome will be on a tinny transistor radio, where you won’t hear the cellos or violas. He said he did that because the recording musicians liked to sound good together even if they weren’t ever heard by the public.

Not to derail the thread, but why does he say whiskey AND rye? Rye IS whiskey!! As evidenced here: