[18] Bobbie Gentry, ‘I’ll Never Fall In Love Again’

Country girl turned pop crooner, Gentry took this tidy, sweetly judged Bacharach and David song to the toppermost of the poppermost. It’s a lovely mix of playground truth – “What do you get when you kiss a guy? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia” – and genuine heartbreak – “broken up and battered that’s what you get, a heart that’s shattered” – delivered with chin-jutting defiance that never quite convinces. I don’t suppose it’s meant to.
The final, hopeful piano chords, mimed by Junior in the back of the car this morning, suggest tentative steps into something new.

[20] Beth Orton, ‘Best Bit EP’

An acquired taste, Beth Orton’s voice, but Junior seemed to have some appetite. She swung jerkily from side to side, rather like a Go-Jo on an early Top Of The Pops, and clacked her castanets in time. I think we’ll introduce more accompanying instruments as this chart goes on.

We listened to ‘Best Bit’ itself (and a tiny bit of the lovely Terry Callier duet, ‘Lean On Me’). The lead track has the timbre and widescreen delta feel of Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Ode To Billie Jo’; it might also read like a sequel. Grand claims aside, it’s a fine piece of mood music that makes a decent fist of not going anywhere.

Two more things about our Beth before we go: she gave the most impressively drunk performance I’ve seen, at Glastonbury a few years ago; her name is a misplaced letter from greatness.