Roberta Lee Streeter, 27 July 1944, Chickasaw County, Mississippi, USA. Gentry, of Portuguese descent, was raised on a poverty-stricken farm in Greenwood, Mississippi, and was interested in music from an early age. She wrote her first song at the age of seven (My Dog Sergeant Is A Good Dog) and learned piano - black keys only! - guitar, banjo and vibes. By her teens, she was performing regularly and took her stage name from the movie Ruby Gentry. After studying both philosophy and music, she was signed to Capitol Records and recorded Mississippi Delta for an a-side. To her own guitar accompaniment, Gentry recorded for the b-side one of her own songs, Ode To Billie Joe, in 30 minutes. Violins and cellos were added, the song was reduced from its original seven minutes, and, as a result of disc jockeys reactions, it became the a-side. Despite competition from Lee Hazlewood, Gentrys version topped the US charts for four...
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