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115: Astor Piazzolla, “Tango: Zero Hour”

Quiz: For which artist do you need to ask the salesman, “Where do I find CDs by this guy, in Jazz, Pop or Classical?” Astor Piazzolla, of course. He reinvented a folk genre as an art form – the Tango Nuevo, a remarkable style of a popular art music demanding the precision of a fugue, the inventiveness of jazz, the passion of matinee singing, the dexterity of Argentinean football, and the heat of a jalapeno.

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116: Van Morrison, ‘Tupelo Honey’

There’s a fine line between the sublime and the silly. Dissected, ‘Tupelo Honey’ hasn’t a single defensible element. But it’s such an inspired and inspiring gescheft that the best thing a guy could do would be to shut up and take his own personal honey by her hand, pull her close and give her a gentle, loving whirl on the dance floor to one of the most beautiful, romantic songs recordings ever made.

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284: Owen Pallett, ‘Oh Heartland, Up Yours!’

Owen Pallett is the most dazzling artist I’ve encountered in years. Think of Jacob Collier, Sufjan Stevens, and Van Dyke Parks!
If those names don’t ring your bells, come take a little walk with me.

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283: The Kinks/Lake Street Dive (Rachael Price), ‘Lola’

Q: Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is — do you, Mr Meshel?
A: Them genders can fluidify wherever they want. I’m sticking with Rachael Price. She make my heart go thumpity-thump-thump.

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112: James Taylor, ‘Yesterday’

There’s a song you’ve heard several million times called ‘Yesterday’ by Paul McCartney. Why is it that everyone who hears James Taylor’s bootleg version from 1970 says that it’s as if they’re hearing the song for the first time?

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282: Shuli Natan, ‘Jerusalem of Gold’ (Naomi Shemer)

The vibrations and the beauty that are so uniquely my Jerusalem.

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281: Carla Bley with Steve Swallow, ‘Lawns’

This is what love at 60 should be–the gentle, warm intimacy born of years of two very individual individuals living together, creating a world bigger than the sum of their own selves.

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135: Kaveret, ‘Medina Ktana’ (Little Country)

It’s Israel’s 70th birthday today. We get pretty tired of seeing ourselves on the front page of the NY Times every day. On the other hand, we also see ourselves as the center of the universe. Go explain it. Well, this 1974 song does it best – our wry perception of our very existence, our precariousness, our homey patriotism – ‘Medina Ktana’ (‘Little Country’) by Kaveret (Beehive).

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