I think I’m developing a new fascination that I honestly never would have expected. Every day I’m becoming more and more interested in female country singers from the 60s and 70s. It started with hearing Ode to Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry on CBC radio and instantly becoming obsessed with the song. If you haven’t heard it you should go listen to it right now! It’s one of the most interesting pieces of storytelling I’ve ever heard. It can be interpreted a thousand different ways and presents a mystery that will have you wracking your brain for ages. I love it.
I was watching a video of Ode to Billie Joe on Youtube the other day. Youtube now has an autoplay feature that selects similar videos to play automatically after you finish the current one. Since I was watching a country music video from the 60s Youtube essentially created a playlist of great country classics all sung by women. Including Son of a Preacher Man, also performed by Bobbie Gentry, Delta Dawn by Tanya Tucker, Harper Valley P.T.A. by Jeannie C Riley, and Coal Miner’s Daughter by Loretta Lynn. I’ve heard all of these songs before because my older sister and parents used to play them quite often when I was younger. But for some reason they’re all just capturing my imagination now.
If you ever talk to me about music you’ll learn that I have a great dislike for most of the world of Pop Country music. I don’t feel like getting into it too much but pop music of all sorts can be very problematic. There are always issues of sexism and representation with the music industry. Not that these issues didn’t exist in music in previous decades, “classic” country included. However it seems that artists like Luke Bryan will sacrifice quality music in favour of sexism, as is the case with many other popular pop singers. So it is kind of refreshing to discover an era in music where women seemed well represented in a genre. As I read, listen to, and learn more I will probably discover some of the issues that existed. The 1960s were obviously not a feminist utopia, but at least there was a lot of really great music being created by some really talented women. All names that my family and I remember fondly. I’m looking forward to learning more about these women and the industry they worked in, and spending as much time as I can listening to some really great music!