Another vintage performance by Bobbie Gentry has been shared from the rich archives of The Ed Sullivan Show. The clip is from the edition of the famous, long-running variety show broadcast in Christmas week 1970, on December 27.
Backed by Phoenix, Arizona-based Goose Creek Symphony, her fellow signings to Capitol Records, Gentry performs a medley “But I Can’t Get Back,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “Put A Little Love In Your Heart.” The performance came at what can be seen as a pivotal moment in the career of the entertainer, as she was some four months away from releasing what became her seventh and final studio album, Patchwork. Gentry did not, however, announced her retirement from music until 1980.
The excerpt of “But I Can’t Get Back” is a preview of the sixth track (not counting frequent interludes) on Patchwork. Written by the artist with Kelly Gordon – the only track on the record not penned by Gentry on her own – the gentle and atmospheric piano ballad was strongly redolent of the emerging singer-songwriter style of the time, and of Carole King in particular.
The song was released as the first single from Patchwork in March 1971, a month ahead of the LP, but failed to make the charts. Indeed, the album fell short of the 200-position Billboard survey, despite highly enthusiastic reviews from the magazine and the rest of the trade press.
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