Posts Tagged: Song of the Day

Song of the Day: “Gin House Blues”

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Nina Simone’s troubles were highlighted in the recent gripping documentary by Liz Garbus, What Happened, Miss Simone? Though Simone had her fair share of challenges, it was her incredibly resonant voice and musical genius that contributed to the gradual accumulation of legends surrounding her. These talents are bursting from the seams of “Gin House Blues,” Miss […]

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Song of the Day: “Me and My Gin”

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Though the British blues-rockers The Animals recorded a gritty version of a song called “Gin House Blues” in 1966, the tune was originally released by Bessie Smith in 1928 under the name “Me and My Gin.” Smith, the storied blues singer of the Prohibition and Great Depression, did record another song a few years earlier that may have confused other […]

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Song of the Day: “Here In Spirit”

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In a review of Jim James’s newest album Eternally Even, Pitchfork writer Ryan Leas declares that the artist “goes all-in on a frayed, psychedelic-soul aesthetic” that is only hinted at in previous recordings by James’s mainstay band, My Morning Jacket. Though the bulk of his songwriting efforts have gone into that long-enduring Kentucky-based rock group over the […]

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Song of the Day: “Gin House Blues”

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Today, the so-called British Invasion of the ’60s is remembered primarily for its flagship band, The Beatles. Another English group called The Animals—widely known for their international hit version of the folk song “House of the Rising Sun”—are unfortunately obscured by the long shadow of the former, but their screaming fans knew and loved The Animals’s gritty rock. Their […]

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Song of the Day: “Let Me See That Ponytail Run”

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The Defibulators are the rootsiest bluegrass outfit to come stomping out of Brooklyn, New York, in a long time—perhaps ever. Named by VICE Music as “Brooklyn’s kings of alt-country, minus the ‘alt,’” The Defibulators’ sound has been described as truckerpunk, Americana, citibillie… the list goes on. While their lightning-fast strings and country shuffle will draw the crowd […]

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Song of the Day: “Have Some Love”

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The diversely talented Donald Glover has gained a following in almost every artistic arena, from stand-up comedy, to sitcoms, to film and music. First making a name for himself as a writer for the smart and funny NBC program 30 Rock, Glover went on to star in Community and the FX series Atlanta. Meanwhile, quietly and then not-so-quietly, he […]

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Song of the Day: “Paul”

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As 2016 draws to a close, it is a time for both endings and beginnings. The electric folk of Big Thief is well-suited to such introspective moments—tinged with sepia-toned nostalgia and a shy sweetness that suggests hope for the future. Their gentle, unhurried song “Paul”—off their critically welcomed record Masterpiece—perfects the dual flavors of sweetness and bitterness […]

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Song of the Day: “Back Door Santa”

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Soul—that mysterious orientation towards the world that seems to be frequently accompanied by a larger-than-life personality—is probably the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Clarence Carter, that bombastic and passionate artist whose timeless music still echoes across the airwaves and our collective memory. While his classic single “Slip Away” is arguably the […]

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Song of the Day: “The Frim Fram Sauce”

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One of the most entertaining things about the early days of recorded jazz music is the clever way musicians worked around the conservative mores of the time. The well-loved etymologist William Safire, in a 2002 article, diligently attempts to decode the playful gibberish sung so beautifully by Nat King Cole in his suggestive tune, “The […]

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Song of the Day: “We the People”

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If A Tribe Called Quest had to make one final statement, a boisterous, politically conscious, and funky record would be the most fitting way to do so. We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service was released on November 11, 2016, eighteen years after Tribe’s last album and only a few months after the death of founding […]

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Song of the Day: “Lord, Help the Poor and Needy”

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Maybe growing up with a father who was a Jehovah’s Witness caused Charlyn Marie “Chan” Marshall to develop a sensitivity to the plight of the unlucky and underprivileged. Then again, Marshall, who is widely known by her stage name Cat Power, might also have an artist’s innate empathy and receptiveness to others’ pain—something that we, as a nation, could […]

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Song of the Day: “Secret Life”

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The passing of songwriter Leonard Cohen last Thursday added another mournful chapter to an already difficult week. The prolific and underrated artist—most famous, perhaps, for his aching ballad “Hallelujah,” popularized by John Cale, Rufus Wainwright, and Jeff Buckley—had a long career of ups and downs. Cohen was 73 years old in 2009, when his album Live in London came […]

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Song of the Day: “Hurt”

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“I hurt myself today,” Johnny Cash sings in one of the last recordings he made, his poignant cover of the Nine Inch Nails song, “Hurt.” The song couldn’t be more appropriate now, during this week of confusion and heartache and regret. Cash chose to release it towards the end of his life, perhaps as a kind […]

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Song of the Day: “Helpless”

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Neil Young’s name has become synonymous with a special brand of rock music that came of age in the 60s, matured in the 70s, and burned on well past its contemporaries. From the laid back Buffalo Springfield, to the soaring harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, to his solo career, his songs and his […]

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Song of the Day: “8 (circle)”

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It takes courage and artistic vision to take risks with music that has already won you commercial success, but lasting artists persist in doing just that. Bon Iver’s third album, 22, A Million, supports this view. The familiarly warm and affecting melodies of song writer Justin Vernon’s earlier work are reinvented here, nested in a cocoon […]

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Song of the Day: “I Want You”

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Allegedly covered and sampled by musicians as diverse as Madonna and Diana Ross to Mary J. Blige and Robert Palmer, the innovative single “I Want You,” off Marvin Gaye’s 1976 album of the same name, branches out from the Motown sound that typified his earlier work and delves into uncharted territory. Recognizable instrumentation—the soaring strings, the hard-edged guitar, […]

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Song of the Day: “When the Tequila Runs Out”

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Dawes is one of a handful of groups, including peers like Wilco and Broken Social Scene, who have undergone personnel changes without losing the essential heart and soul that make them who they are. Their first manifestation in 2006 as the post-punk group Simon Dawes included the multi-talented guitarist and producer Blake Mills. Though Mills left the band shortly after, […]

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Song of the Day: “Black and Blue”

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Given the anarchic, traumatic, and deeply worrying events of recent months, some might begin to lose hope. However, music—and especially jazz, the most particularly American music—never seems to lose its power to soothe and calm us. Louis Armstrong, in a special song that might sound deceptively typical to the hasty listener, made a groundbreaking statement on race relations in […]

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Song of the Day: “The Heat Is On (Part 1 & 2)”

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Everyone knows funk music reached its heyday in the 1970s, but even legends like James Brown and George Clinton were hard pressed to compete with funk powerhouse The Isley Brothers in 1975. The title track “The Heat Is On (Part 1 & 2),” from their record of the same name, is a hard-driving, wall-shaking revelation that takes […]

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Song of the Day: “Burn the Witch”

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Radiohead is no stranger to anxiety. A tense tone—like a taut cord reverberating—runs through the high-energy opener “Burn the Witch,” from their latest record, A Moon Shaped Pool. Thom Yorke’s delicate wail floats over the brazen guitar and strings as the tempo speeds up and the anxiety mounts. His allusions to the Salem witch trials remind listeners that Radiohead has commented […]

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Song of the Day: “I’m Glad You’re Mine”

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The Reverend Al Green’s fifth album, I’m Still In Love With You, appears at the top of many critics’ rankings, including that of the Village Voice‘s longtime writer, Robert Christgau. And for good reason. The second track of this mesmerizing record is the silky smooth, organ-punctuated “I’m Glad You’re Mine.” Green’s drummer, Al Jackson, Jr.—who built his reputation […]

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Song of the Day: “One Mo’ Gin”

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In the pocket. It’s the only way to describe the slithery pulse of the bass and rhythm section in D’Angelo’s slow ballad “One Mo’ Gin,” off his explosive soul album from 2000, Voodoo. D’Angelo—otherwise known as the mild-mannered Michael Eugene Archer—keens with loneliness and nostalgia on “One Mo’ Gin,” layering his buttery falsetto over the […]

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Song of the Day: “Other People”

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In 2004, the indie group known as Beach House considered calling itself “Wisteria.” But once they “stopped trying,” according to guitarist Alex Scally, their ultimate name choice floated to the top, and “it was perfect.” Scally’s ability to let go and embrace the moment is a vital piece of the dreamy, atmospheric pop that he creates with vocalist and sole bandmate, […]

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Song of the Day: “Bugs Don’t Buzz”

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“I feel like [music] can serve functions that used to be served by things that were religious,” says electronic musician Devon Welsh. Compelling words from one half of the art pop duo Magical Cloudz, whose 2013 record Impersonator communicates a pious respect for the creative process. Welsh’s sentiment becomes more complicated when we listen closely to the darker lyrics […]

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Song of the Day: “You Never Know”

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Wilco’s long career, beginning all the way back in 1994, has taken a lot of twists and turns. The band’s identity has morphed at least a few times along the way, but the first single from their eponymous seventh studio album reached number one on the Billboard Triple A chart in 2009. The single, titled “You Never […]

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Song of the Day: “Chan Chan”

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The original Buena Vista Social Club was a members-only group that formed in Havana, Cuba, during the first half of the 20th century. The club became a cultural nexus for the city, drawing in musicians and artists who would perform at its events. Though widespread changes in Cuban society after the Revolution of 1959 resulted in […]

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Song of the Day: “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”

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Mournful is the best way to describe Leadbelly’s voice in the song popularized by Nirvana on their live album, MTV Unplugged in New York. While Nirvana’s version captured the attention of audiences, the original lament was recorded by a canonized blues artist whose given name was Huddie William Ledbetter. “My girl, my girl, where did you go,” keens […]

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Song of the Day: “Sweet Virginia”

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“Tryin’ to stop the waves behind your eyeballs,” Mick Jagger sings on “Sweet Virginia,” a determined country shuffle off their seminal 1972 record, Exile On Main Street, an album frequently mentioned on Best Of lists and widely hailed as one of the most influential of the century. The next line, “Drop your reds, drop your greens […]

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Song of the Day: “Luv N’ Haight”

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Sly and the Family Stone’s anarchic album There’s a Riot Goin’ On, released in 1971 following several tumultuous years in America, has been called “blunt and unflinching” and “very much informed by drugs” and “paranoia.” While the funk group’s creative dynamo, Sly Stone, had indeed been sidelined by drug abuse for months, his disillusionment with the […]

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Song of the Day: “Party Down”

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Soul guitarist Willie Hale is perhaps most widely-known for his head-bopping contribution to Betty Wright’s hit song, “Clean Up Woman,” and maybe just as widely recognized for his nickname, Little Beaver. He apparently received the nickname in honor of his prominent teeth. Little Beaver earned a reputation as a talented session musician in the 60s […]

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