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An ode to life in the Deep South, Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete was under-appreciated following its release in 1968. Five decades later, indie veterans Mercury Rev enlisted an all-star cast of female vocalists to revisit what has become a cult classic. Daniel Dylan Wray finds out why


This year marks 30 years since the birth of Mercury Rev, and across that time they have traversed an eclectic and engulfing terrain of sounds. From earlier explorations in noisy psychedelic eruptions to later craft ing deft, tender and dreamy compositions, they even ended up as unexpected ostensible pop stars in the UK with the huge success of 1998’s Deserter’s Songs, a benchmark album that has retained such a degree of love and potency that 2018 saw them tour the album and play it in its entirety.

However, for their latest move forward the group have dipped back 50 years into musical history. In 1968, the country singer Bobbie Gentry followed up her No.1 album Ode To Billie Joe with The Delta Sweete, a concept album about life in the Deep South. Yet success didn’t follow, with the album never topping No.132 in the same Billboard chart she had previously knocked The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band off the top of with her debut. Mercury Rev have re-recorded the somewhat forgotten cult classic in full with a seriesof guest vocalists: a different woman singing on each of the 12 songs.

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About Long Live Vinyl

Issue 24 of Long Live Vinyl is now on sale! Join us as we uncover vinyl’s great lost albums – the 40 essential bootlegs and live records that never got an official release. From David Bowie to Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Kraftwerk, Amy Winehouse, Jay-Z and The Beatles, don’t miss our definitive guide. Elsewhere this issue, Mercury Rev tell us about revisiting Bobbie Gentry’s lost classic, The Delta Sweete, and we speak to Julia Jacklin and Fun Lovin’ Criminal Huey Morgan about their brilliant new albums. 1980s pop mastermind Trevor Horn talks us through the 10 records that shaped his remarkable career, we meet the punk labels who are redefining the future of vinyl, celebrate Warp Records’ 30th birthday, look back at the work of the great Andy Warhol, and pay tribute to our Classic Album – The Flying Burrito Brothers’ The Gilded Palace Of Sin. If all that’s not enough, you’ll find the most comprehensive range of new album, reissue and gear reviews anywhere on the newsstand.