Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Song of the Day: 'Fancy' by Bobbie Gentry

I was talking to my coworker Yogi about this vile case out of New Hampshire in which a lawyer who has worked with the Christian conservative Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) was convicted of child pornography charges related to her daughter, whom she prostituted out and videotaped in action. (She also filmed herself having sex with her daughter.) Yogi immediately said, "That's like that Reba song 'Fancy.'" I had no idea what she was talking about at first, but when I searched online for details, I immediately knew I was in for a treat when I saw the song she was referring to was actually written by the great Bobbie Gentry, whose 1967 debut, "Ode to Billie Joe," is a one of my all-time favorite songs. ("Fancy" is even on my "Ode to Bobbie Gentry" CD!) Wikipedia claims "Fancy" depicts its heroine's "overcoming poverty to become a successful courtesan," but with lines like "be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy, and they'll be nice to you," I think we all know what was going on ... Mama's gonna help her move uptown.

And Reba's over-the-top video for the song:


Michael said...

Wow! A blast from the past!

Mark from NYC said...

About 15 years ago, The Lady Bunny did Fancy in Thompkins Square Park at Wigstock. It was phenomenal. She intro'd it by saying, "A lot of people see me perform in drag and ask, 'How did you get this way?' Well, this is how..." and she launched into the song. Great, post-modern, transgressive moment. And really, really good drag number, of course!

Anonymous said...

Girl, tread lightly when you talk about my home gal Reba. Although, I do like both versions equally.

absolutrunnr said...

One year when Reba performed at the Houston Rodeo she started her show with Fancy. The video played on the big screens and she came riding in the arena in the car. It was a great entrance. I've spent many a night in the French Quarter and when I go out for the evening with friends, I have been known to say, "Just be nice to gentlemen Fancy and they'll be nice to you."

And you have to LOVE Bobby Gentry!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea this was a Bobbie Gentry song. I've always loved the Reba version.

Ruddigore said...

So, you're poor, Mama makes you a whore and you wind up with a good life. That's it? If you are going to do the story-song it needs a little drama. That's why "Ode To Billy Joe" worked so well - suicide, mystery and apathy. In "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" they hang an innocent man and little sis don't miss when she aims her gun, and "Dark Lady" would never turn a card up anymore.

Anyway, if I am going to watch 1968-70 era Bobbie Gentry I much prefer the Cajun campiness that is her cover of P.J. Proby's "Niki Hoeky": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dyo_xZnvsA

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