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039: Blind Willie Johnson, ‘Mother’s Children Have a Hard Time’

Willie was blinded at age seven when the lye his stepmom threw at his dad missed. He sang on the street corners of Beaumont, Texas and slept in a li’l church. When it burned down, with nowhere else to go, he slept there in a rain-soaked bed and caught pneumonia. And you think you got the blues?

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073: Erik Satie, ‘Gymnopédie No. 1’

Erik Satie hung out with Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc, Milhaud, Stravinsky, Cocteau, Duchamp, Picasso, Braque, Man Ray, Breton, Diaghilev and Rene Clair. But he seems to have annoyed most of them, and no one entered his apartment for the last 27 years of his life. After his death, in his wardrobe were found 84 identical handkerchiefs.
And he wrote influential, minimalistic, hypnotic piano music which I employ to massage my soul.

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206: Lake Street Dive (Rachael Price), ‘I Want You Back’

I tripped over this clip several weeks ago and am still floored. It’s the best music I’ve seen seen/heard in a month of Sundays. And vocalist Rachael Price is a wonder of nature.

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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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154: Laura Nyro, ‘Save the Country’

And yet again my city is being bombarded by Hamas missiles, half a dozen since last night. Thanks to the IDF’s Iron Dome for watching over me physically and to Laura for watching over me spiritually.

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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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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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