Bobby Gentry

Ode To Billy Joe

Bobby Gentry

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Ode To Billy Joe

	  		           F7 
It was the third of June 
        Cm7                 F7 
Another sleepy, dusty Delta day 
      F7 
I was out choppin' cotton  
       Cm7                 F7 
And my brother was bailin' hay 
       Bb7 
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat 
         F7 
And Mama hollered at the back door 
       Cm7                   F7 
"Y'all remember to wipe your feet 
         Bb7 
Then she said, "I got some news this mornin' from Choctaw Ridge 
      F7 
Today Billy Joe McAllister 
       Eb7                  F 
Jumped off the Tallahatchee Bridge 
 
Chord Progression the same: 
 
Papa said to Mama, as he passed around the black-eyed peas 
"Well, Billy Joe never had a lick o'sense, pass the biscuits please 
There's five more acres in the lower forty I've go to plow." 
And Mama said it was a shame about Billy Joe anyhow 
Seems like nothin' ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge 
And now Billy Joe McAllister's jumped off the Tallahatchee Bridge. 
 
Brother said he recollected when he and Tom and Billy Joe 
Put a frog down my back at the Carrol Country picture show 
And wasn't I talkin' to him after church last Sunday night 
I'll have another piece of apple pie, you know, it don't seem right 
I saw him at the sawmill yesterday on Choctaw Ridge 
And now you tell me Billy Joe jumped off the Tallahatchee Bridge. 
 
Mama said to me, "Child, what's happened to your appetite? 
I been cookin' all mornin' 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 an' Billy Joe was throwin' somethin' off the Tallahatchee Bridge." 
 
A year has come and gone since we heard the news 'bout Billy Joe 
Brother married Becky Thompson, they bought a store in Tupelo 
There was a virus goin' 'round, Papa caught it and died last spring 
And now Mama doesn't seem to want to 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 Tallahatchee Bridge. 
 
 
  
 

		  

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