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032: Duke Ellington, “Take the ‘A’ Train” (Billy Strayhorn)

When young Billy Strayhorn played for him backstage, the legendary Duke Ellington was very impressed: “I’d love to have you in my organization. I’ll call you.” But no call came, so Billy, literally hungry, took the chance of showing up at the Duke’s door. Not wanting to go empty-handed, he took the note the Duke had written: “Take the ‘A’ train…”

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026: Andy Bey, ‘River Man’

The finest male jazz vocalist you’re never heard of, with a heart and a vocal range as wide as his 66-year professional career is long.

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023: Tommy Edwards, ‘It’s All In the Game’

Q: Who was the only sitting Vice President to write a song that became a #1 hit?
A: Gen. Charles Gates Dawes.

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006: Elvis Costello, ‘Accidents Will Happen’ (live)

In which Jeff maintains that Elvis Costello is as talented as John Lennon.
Duck, Jeff! Run for cover!!

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002: Buddy Holly, ‘Learning the Game’

Written and sung at 22 and a half, a month before he died. At that age, Lennon was recording ‘Love Me Do’ and Dylan had just finished his first album of original material. The heartrending, unadulterated version from ‘The Apartment Tapes’.

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018 Sir Paul McCartney, ‘Distractions’

In which Jeff calls Sir Paul “the Prince of Plastic, the Sheikh of Shallow” and points at the one song from Paul’s 30something post-Beatle CDs that deserves to be visited and revisited, because it’s .
uniquely mature, straightforward, honest and heartfelt. Utter blasphemy!

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008: ‘I’ll Keep It With Mine’, Fairport Convention (Bob Dylan)

An early, little-known gem of Dylan’s that he never quite figured out how to play. But it was nailed by Fairport Convention.

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048 Sam Cooke ‘Bring It On Home To Me’,

In which Jeff is reminded that Sam Cooke takes a back seat to no one, not even to Smokey Robinson; and that the sweetest fruits are often those closest to the roots.

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