The legend behind classics like “Ode to Billie Joe” and “Fancy” is so famously reclusive, the BBC even produced a documentary called Whatever Happened to Bobbie Gentry? several years ago.
In fact, she takes her privacy so seriously, even Reba McEntire’s never encountered her, despite taking her tale of a woman “born just plain white trash” to new levels of fame.
“I’ve never met her, I’ve never talked to her,” Reba reveals. “I’ve talked to so many people who have gotten to work with her and know her and do stay in communication with her.”
She continues: “I would say, ‘Hey, would you tell her that I’d really like to meet her sometime or talk to her or email or text or smoke signals or anything? I don’t care. I’d just really like to communicate with her.'”
Still, Reba’s requests have gone unanswered.
“I’d love to know, where did she get the idea of ‘Fancy’ and what was the thinking behind it?” Reba explains. “When she released it, then I fell in love with ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ and the albums, her duet album with Glen Campbell. I’m just a huge fan.”
“I think she’s a genius,” Reba adds. “Great songwriter, beautiful woman, great singer… She’s a mystery woman.”
While she admires Gentry’s ability to step out of the spotlight, it’s not something Reba could ever do.
“I’m a people person and I like to do what I do,” she reflects. “Dolly and I talked about it several times. I said, ‘Dolly, are you gonna retire?'”
“She said, ‘And do what? I’ve got the best job in the world. What would I do?'” Reba recalls. “… I’m with her a hundred percent.”
The 30th Anniversary Edition of Reba’s Rumor Has It album — featuring three different versions of “Fancy” — comes out Friday.
By Andrea Dresdale
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