198: Buffalo Springfield, ‘Rock and Roll Woman’

Buffalo Springfield was a flimsy amalgam of superegos, whose main common attribute was a group identity crisis. But, oh, what music they made on the way to their dissolution.

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020: Esperanza Spalding, ‘I Know You Know’

I had the very good fortune to see Esperanza Spalding perform last week. Even though her hair was bandana’d, she was a knockout. Here’s a piece I wrote a while back about her, her music, sexuality in female performers, and a quirky taxonomy of people who make music with their voices.

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197: Paul Simon, ‘Hearts and Bones’

Hearts and bones. The soft and hard, that which can only feel pain, and that which can only be broken. The vital and the inflexible, the palpitating and the rigid. The pulsating, quivering, throbbing passions within us, and the structures and strictures and scaffoldings that hold it all up. It’s about how they cohabit within us – intimate, interdependent, synergetic, yet profoundly and inherently separate. Like a married couple.

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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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195: Hoagy Carmichael, ‘Skylark’

Earworms, Oliver Twist (the dance), crazy loons, the will o’ the wisp, a gypsy serenading the moon, all these and more! Especially the elegant and passionate songwrighting of Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer.

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114: Luciana Souza, ‘Morrer de Amor’

‘Morrer de Amor’ as sung by Luciana Souza – the lyrics of this song are in a language I don’t understand, and I know almost nothing about its background. But the rendition is of such utter beauty and unspeakable perfection that its emotional eloquence transcends any need for explication. I’m just going to turn off my analytical brain, close my verbose mouth, and hope that you’ll be as moved by it as I am.

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194: The Rolling Stones, ‘Not Fade Away’ (1964)

My buddies Vocal Line are going to back The Stones on stage in Copenhagen. While pretending to not be jealous, I remember The Stones as I saw them on their first tour of the US, in 1964. You can’t always get what you want, but that memory does Not Fade Away.

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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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