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106: Joni Mitchell, ‘Cactus Tree’

Much of the little I understand of the female psyche I’ve learned from Joni Mitchell. I don’t take her to be emblematic of Womanhood. She’s an individual, with a unique vision of the world, but one that is profoundly female. She has thoughts and feelings and desires and disinclinations that seem to me engendered in that other side of the fence, visions and versions that would never cross my testeronic landscape.
‘Cactus Tree’, from her first and very elusive album, is a catalogue of her ex-lovers. She’s new to the city, untethered and unbridled, liberated, exploiting to the fullest the sexual freedom just becoming available to the fairer sex circa the spring of 1968. One thing I’ve learned with Joni Mitchell – the more you focus and dig and concentrate and delve, the more you discover. You always get more than your money’s worth.

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273: The Necks, ‘Sex’

Jeff’s Top Ten from the last fortnight–surprises, non-surprises, and Rachael Price going ‘Ooh-ooh–ooh’.

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103: Little Stevie Wonder, ‘Fingertips’

Little Stevie Wonder recorded ‘Fingertips’ at the age of 12 – a fledgling perhaps, but certainly not innocent. Rhythm and blues was born of the unholy coupling of gospel and the profane. There’s a fervor brewing here that may have begun on the altar in the church choir, but reached its pitch afterwards up in the balcony with some willing young soprano. The lad knows of whence he sings.

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022: Roberta Sá and Chico Buarque, ‘Mambembe’

So many readers enjoyed last week’s post about the chemistry between Vilray (a 5) and Rachael Price (a 17) that I’m sharing again with you my favorite May-December clip.
A man and a woman and the electricity between them.
Ah, Brasil…

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272: Vilray, ‘Do Friends Fall in Love?’ (with Rachael Price)

In a perfect world, the best girls would go for the most talented guys.
Vilray is a most talented guy. Rachael Price is definitely the best girl.
And here they are, singing together.

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104: Charles Mingus, ‘Myself When I Am Real’/’Adagio Ma Non Troppo’

In 1963, irascible, obstreperous bassist Charles Mingus recorded a beautiful, intimate solo piano album. It included a remarkably beautiful and cohesive improvised piece, ‘Myself When I Am Real’. In 1973 he scored this improvisation with full orchestration as ‘Adagio Ma Non Troppo’ (“kind of slow”). Two beautiful works with a fascinating evolutionary link between them.

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247: Perry Como, ‘Kol Nidre’

What do you use when words aren’t enough?
Music.

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096: Bill Evans (solo), ‘Easy To Love’

After bassist Scott LaFaro died, Bill Evans gave up music and focused on his voracious heroin habit. It was a bleak time. Six months later, Evans made an aborted attempt to record a solo album, a eulogy to LaFaro. The resulting four cuts are uneven, unfinished, unpolished. But they are a man’s soul speaking directly, without mediation, without technical obstacles: Evans, his pain, and the music: “I have always preferred playing without an audience.”

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