1

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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10

018 Sir Paul McCartney, ‘Distractions’

In which Jeff calls Sir Paul “the Prince of Plastic, the Sheikh of Shallow” (utter blasphemy!) and presents 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.

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5

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

The only #1 hit written by a sitting Vice President.
And it wasn’t Mike Pence or Spiro Agnew.

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5

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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0

055: Miles Davis/Gil Evans, ‘Concierto de Aranjuez’ (“Sketches of Spain”)

In which a jazz recasting of classical favorite trumps the classical original. Gil Evans and a taste of heaven.

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19

087: Bob Dylan, ‘Black Diamond Bay’

Here’s a less-known Dylan masterpiece, ‘Black Diamond Bay’ from the last of his great albums, ‘Desire’ (1976).
It’s a cinematic tour de force, a dreamed narrative from a movie that you’ve never quite seen, hovering just beyond the horizon of your consciousness. You know every cliché, even the ones you’re aware Dylan is inventing as you watch.

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8

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 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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10

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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