Written by
Bob Stumpel

October 24

Ode To Billie Joe (Ft Clydie King)

Album 1968 BluesthingWith Clydie King

Album: It’s A Blues Thing, Monad B000003J7X, 1995 (1968).


F.l.t.r. Merry Clayton, Alex Brown, Gwen Berry, Clydie King at Newport Jazz Fest on July 7, 1968. From Michigan Daily 
(Jul. 13): “Charles is an unequaled musical institution. He closed 
his performance with High-Heeled Sneakers [= Hi Heel 
Sneakers], bringing the house down 8 times. One highlight of the 
remarkable afternoon was the performance of Ode To Billy Joe by 
Sister Clara [= Clydie] of the Raelets. The Ode will never 
sound the same.”

The Raelette singing this great song is “Sister” Clydie King. The tune first appeared on a bootleggish live CD, It’s A Blues Thing, released in 1995 (cf. Amazon). The concert was in 1968.
The studio version on the compilation CD Clydie King – The Imperial And Minit Years (EMI Europe, 2007; track #18) was probably recorded on an earlier date (February 22, 1968) than the live concert (also from ’68, but precise date unknown). Ray’s ad-libs on the studio version are barely hearable (session notes here).
In the liner notes of her compilation CD Clydie declared that Ray arranged the song for her.


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