Ode to Billie Joe

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King Curtis

Curtis Ousley (February 7, 1934 – August 13, 1971), who performed under the stage name King Curtis, was an American saxophone virtuoso known for rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, funk and soul jazz. He was adopted, alongside with his adopted sister, Josephine Ousley Allen. They both grew up in Texas, together. Variously a bandleader, band member, and session musician, he was also a musical director and record producer. Adept at tenor, alto, and soprano saxophone, he was best known for his distinctive riffs and solos such as on "Yakety Yak", which later became the inspiration for Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax" and his own "Memphis Soul Stew". more »


Year:
1971
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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"

'N' 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"
'N' 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

'N' 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"

'N' 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 'n' gone since we heard the news 'bout Billy Joe
'N' 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 wanna 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

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Written by: Bobbie Gentry

Lyrics © Spirit Music Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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    "Ode to Billie Joe Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 3 Dec. 2020. <https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/25557004/King+Curtis>.

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