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204: Bob Dylan, ‘Idiot Wind’ (NY Sessions)

Dylan, not as a kid pretending to be a cotton-picker in Greenwich Village; not him embarrassing himself as an Evangelist preacher; not as an old fool croaking standards–this is Dylan at his creative pinnacle.
It’s another side of Bob Dylan — unmasked, naked and vulnerable. We’re idiots, babe, it’s a wonder that we still know how to breathe.

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202: Laura Nyro, ‘The Confession’

In March, 1968, Laura Nyro wrote and sang about the joy of sex—not as a companion, an addendum, a decoration, but as a Woman–breaking the glass ceiling in popular music.

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201: Bob Dylan, ‘All Along the Watchtower’

Bob Dylan at his best. Which is to say the art of our time at its best. For time capsules, for satellites to distant universes, for future generations: this is what we had to offer.

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200: Bert Jansch, “Avocet”

Sometimes we need a soundtrack for real life – not great music, just sincerely good background music. Like life.

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199: Janis Ian, ‘At Seventeen’

Teenagers and popularity. Social status. Where you stand in the eyes of your peers and in your own mind. Letting others determine your sense of worth. That warped, cruel, numbered list of My Rank on The Ladder.

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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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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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