163: Joni Mitchell, ‘For Free’

The albatross of fame and fortune. Young Joni crafting her disillusion into a gem, 1970.

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159: Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: ‘Ooh Baby, Baby’

In which Jeff indulges in gooey nostalgia, imbibes a few underage beers, ponders his life, and swills the unadulterated, luscious gush of emotion that is Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ ‘Ooh Baby, Baby’.

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165: Paul Simon, ‘Jonah’

Who would have thought that ‘feelings’, the notoriously amorphous and slippery quick of our inner lives, could be so precisely dissected, reconstructed, and formulated in a mere song? Paul Simon’s ‘Jonah’ will swallow you whole.

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166: John Martyn, ‘Bless the Weather’

The most brilliant self-destructive Scottish acoustic folk-jazz guitarist-singer you’ve never heard of.
Watch John burn.

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075: João Gilberto, ‘Chega De Saudade’ (Jobim)

RIP João Gilberto.
‘Saudade’ is more than just a word; it’s a mindset.
Here’s the song that started it all.

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158: Paul Simon, ‘Surfer Girl’

‘Surfer Girl’ is a schlocky, heartfelt ballad of unrequited teenage love, Brian Wilson clawing his way out of the gooey larva of his California pubescence. Paul Simon works his magic on it, tapping the genius that is Brian, elevating it to a work of great beauty.

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139: The Swingle Singers, ‘On the 4th of July’ (James Taylor)

This week we talk about the United States’ bar mitzvah, how we discovered Bach, the history of The Swingle Singers, the marvels of Scandinavian a cappella festivals, and older people falling in love.

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141: Joni Mitchell, ‘I Don’t Know Where I Stand’

Joni Mitchell’s songs can be deceptive, because they’re so darn attractive. But she is also a mistressful artisan who happens to possess a magnanimous soul. Her works aren’t merely moving – they’re also marvels of craft.

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