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196: Ray Charles, ‘You Don’t Know Me’

Ray pretty much invented soul and then cornered the market. Instead of leaving well enough alone, he went and invaded Nashville, dressing a string of Country and Western classics in his jazz/pop/soul style, but with fiercely personal interpretations. Something new under the sun. Something indelibly beautiful.

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193: The Band, ‘Rockin’ Chair’

“The Band” had a profound timeliness for 1969. But it also has a purity and timelessness, a music that evokes respect for what went before, a modesty and gravitas and resonance rare in popular art. The album is a gift.

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190: Bob Dylan, ‘Boots of Spanish Leather’

Kids, be careful! One little romp in the back seat, whoops, you’re a parent forever. One untimely text, you’re limping through the Pearly Gates at 21. Write a Protest Song at 22, you’re a Protest Singer forever.

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078: Paul Simon, ‘The Late, Great Johnny Ace’

John Lennon was murdered 39 years ago today. Paul Simon wrote a song around that event. Even today, my mind gets teary when it lights on John Lennon’s death. He appears in Paul Simon’s song only obliquely, because the song isn’t about John Lennon, and it’s not about Johnny Ace. It’s about Paul Simon, and about you, and about me.

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183: Love, ‘Alone Again Or’ (Bryan MacLean)

An obscure legend: the beautiful Bryan MacLean demo, of the indelible opening cut of Love’s “Forever Changes”, a gift that justifies all the mothers of the world cleaning out their garages and discovering their little boys’ lost treasures.

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182: The Shirelles, ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’

When seventeen-year old Carole King found herself pregnant, she wrote ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ for The Shirelles. Girls (and now also guys) have been singing it ever since.

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179: Tom Waits, ‘Ruby’s Arms’

If you’re embarrassed to cry in public, be careful where you listen to this.

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181: Linda Ronstadt & J.D. Souther, ‘Faithless Love’

Why did J.D. get the eye-conic cover girl and not me? Why, oh why?

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