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"Teaser and the Firecat" was released by Cat Stevens in 1971. It contains some really excellent songs including the hit singles "Morning Has Broken", "Moonshadow" and "Peace Train". The album had a run of 93 weeks in the UK album chart. However, my favourite track is "Rubylove". The song most definitely relates to his Greek origins with one verse sung in the language - it is catchy, instantly remembered and sung with Cat's usual simple charm. It was a delight to have it included on the album, which I bought primarily for the hit singles referred to above, and now in the 21st century, Yusuf's lovely "Rubylove" still makes me feel good. A really lovely song.

Steven Demetre Georgiou was born on the 21st July 1948 at Marylebone, London. Originally known by his former stage name Cat Stevens, he is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator and philanthropist. Stevens converted to Islam at the height of his fame in 1977, and adopted his Muslim name, Yusuf Islam, the following year. In 1979, he auctioned all his guitars away for charity and left his music career to devote himself to educational and philanthropic causes in the Muslim community. He has been given several awards for his work in promoting peace in the world, including 2003's World Award, the 2004 Man for Peace Award, and the 2007 Mediterranean Prize for Peace. In 2006, he returned to pop music with his first album of new songs, "An Other Cup", in some 28 years. He now goes professionally by the single name Yusuf. "Roadsinger" was released in May 2009. Both albums charted briefly in the UK album chart.

Georgiou began to perform his songs in coffee houses and pubs. At first he tried forming a band, but soon realised he preferred performing solo. Thinking that his given name might not be memorable to prospective fans, he chose a stage name Cat Stevens, in part because a girlfriend said he had eyes like a cat, but mainly because he said, "I couldn't imagine anyone going to the record store and asking for 'that Steven Demetre Georgiou album'. And in England, and I was sure in America, they loved animals." In 1966, aged just 18, he impressed manager/producer Mike Hurst, formerly of British vocal group The Springfields, with his songs and Hurst arranged for him to record a demo and then helped him get a record deal. His first singles were hits. "I Love My Dog" charted at no. 28, and "Matthew and Son", the title song from his debut album, went to no. 2. "I'm Gonna Get Me a Gun" reached Britain's Top 10, and the album "Matthew and Son" itself was asuccessful chart entry. The original version of the The Tremeloes cover hit, "Here Comes My Baby", was written and recorded by Stevens. However, his December 1967 album "New Masters" failed to chart in the United Kingdom. The album is now most notable for his song "The First Cut Is the Deepest" which became a massive hit for P.P. Arnold.

Over the next two years Stevens recorded and toured with artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Engelbert Humperdinck. The music business had not yet begun targeting specific audiences, so he frequently toured with what now would be considered an unusual array of celebrities. Stevens was considered a fresh-faced teen star, placing several single releases in the British pop music charts. Some of that success was attributed to the pirate radio station Radio/ London, which gained him fans by playing his records. In August 1967, he went on the air with other recording artists who had benefited from the station to mourn its closure.

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Michelangelo Antonioni's 1970 "underground" feature film "Zabriske Point" isn't to everyones taste. The music featured in the film was composed, in the main, by Pink Floyd. However, somehow this classic Roy Orbison performance found its' way into the sountrack of the film too. I know it did! I say that because just about everywhere, the "Exploding" climax to the movie features just Pink Floyd's instrumental piece. I remember clearly sitting there in the cinema thinking to myself "what on earth was all that about!". Then the dulcet tones of the "Big O" filled the tiny cinema with "So Young". So it appears the greatest pop singer in the world has been airbrushed (or should that be "deleted") from the credits of the film. Who cares - it was a dreadful film anyway! And I've got Roy on CD singing this classy song anyhow!

I've said all I can possibly say about my favourite singer of this or any age - "So Young" just adds to his untouchable reputation in my eyes.

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"Guitar Town" was the debut album from singer/songwriter Steve Earle, released on 5th March 1986. It topped the Billboard country album charts, and the title song reached no. 7 in the US country singles charts. A year later, Earle was also nominated for two Grammy Awards - Best Male Country Vocalist and Best Country Song, for the title track. The album was recorded in late 1985 and early 1986 in Nashville, Tennessee, at Sound Stage Studio. Overdubs were later recorded at Nashville's Emerald Studios. It was one of the first country music albums to be recorded digitally. Each of the album's ten tracks were either written or co-written by Earle.

Earle was born on 17th January 1955, at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. He is the eldest son of Jack Earle, an air traffic controller, and Barbara Earle. Although he was born in Virginia where his father was stationed in the military, the family returned to Texas before Earle's second birthday. They moved often during his childhood, primarily within Texas, but he spent several of his formative years in Schertz, Texas. He dropped out of school in the 9th grade to move to Houston and learn more about the music business.

Earle's early work as a recorded performer was in the rockabilly style, and can be heard on the "Early Tracks" album. "Early Tracks" was recorded for Epic Records, but the company dropped Earle, only releasing the album in 1987 after he found success with MCA Nashville. Earle had to wait until 1986 before his first album, "Guitar Town", was released by MCA. It was a critical success and was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The follow-up albums "Exit 0" in 1987 and the certified-gold "Copperhead Road", 1988, built on this success.

Earle had been a recreational drug user since an early age and was addicted to heroin for many years. By the time of his 1990 album "The Hard Way", it started to become clear that the drugs were seriously affecting him. By 1992, his drug problems resulted in him effectively stopping performing and recording for two years, a period he refers to as his "vacation in the ghetto". He eventually ended up in jail on drug and firearms charges. Kicking the drug habit while in jail, Earle came out a new man and released two albums within 18 months of his release in late 1994. His comeback album, "Train A Comin'", was nominated for the Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy Award in 1996. The album was a return to the country blues-influenced folk of Earle's early career and drew on his older catalogue of unrecorded material.

There is something earthy and truly original about Steve Earle's work and I acknowledge his talent by placing the single "Guitar Town" here at no.63 in my Top 100.

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One more track from my favourite group of all time! Dennis features "Years From Now" in most of his tours, often bringing his set to a close with it - to the great delight of his loyal fans. It is typical Hook ballad material which nearly always showcased Dennis as the lead vocalist. It charted briefly in the UK in 1980, reaching no. 47. It deserved to go much higher. I just love this song so much.

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Pink Martini are MY golden discovery of the first decade of the 21st century. I love music - all forms of music - and since my record buying days started some 55+ years ago I can count on the fingers of my two hands the number of groups/artistes that absolutely wow me to bits. And in these first 10 years of the new millennium, there are but just two - Paolo Nutini and PINK MARTINI. Of course my tastes have changed, perhaps matured a little, over the years and I am always looking for something different, something slightly nostalgic and hey, maybe something refecting my advancing years and mellowing likes! But there didn't seem anything around that quite fit the bill. Then I discovered Pink Martini and the sublime, delicious China Forbes. OK, I was a bit late in this discovery as the ensemble had been around for more than a little while, but let's be honest - they hadn't hardly really been featured at all in the media I indulge myself in. Then early one Sunday morning my radio alarm had awoken me to Aled Jones on BBC Radio 2 playing a little tune which made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. For the first time in my life I'd heard the beautiful voice of China Forbes and the unique Pink Martini! I was soon to discover there was much, much more to them then "Splendor In The Grass" and I'd found, at long last, exactly what I was musically searching for. So how can I not include that little song here. Thank you Thomas, China, et al for adding so much to my musical enjoyment. Maybe one day I'll be able to see you all perform live - I'd just love that!

The least I can do is now repeat much of what is written on Wikipedia about Pink Martini.

Pink Martini is a 12-member "little orchestra" from Portland, Oregon, formed in 1994 by pianist Thomas M. Lauderdale. They draw inspiration from music from all over the world – crossing genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop. Band leader Thomas Lauderdale describes the band's sound as "music of the world without being world music. If the United Nations had a house band in 1962 hopefully Pink Martini would be that band." "My hope is that we’re creating exquisite musical wallpaper which can be turned up or down, and played on almost any occasion, from background music to a love affair to vacuuming around the house."

Pink Martini has twelve musicians (and sometimes travels with string sections), and performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Australia and New Zealand and North America. Pink Martini made its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 and its orchestral debut with the Oregon Symphony in 1998 under the direction of Norman Leyden. Since then, the band has gone on to play with over 30 orchestras around the world, including multiple engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Boston Pops, the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center and the BBC Concert Orchestra in London. Other appearances include the grand opening of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s new Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, with return sold-out engagements for New Year’s Eve 2003, 2004 & 2008; two sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall; the opening party of the remodeled Museum of Modern Art in NYC; the Governor’s Ball at the 80th Annual Academy Awards in 2008; and the opening of the 2008 Sydney Festival in Australia.

Thomas Lauderdale met China Forbes, Pink Martini’s lead vocalist, at Harvard. He was studying history and literature while she was studying English literature and painting. Actually neither of them really studied, they socialized … and late at night, they would break into the lower common room in their college dormitory and sing arias by Puccini and Verdi – and the occasional campy Barbara Streisand cover –thus sealing their creative collaboration. Three years after graduating, Lauderdale called Forbes who was living in New York City, where she’d been writing songs and playing guitar in her own folk-rock project, and asked her to join Pink Martini. They began to write songs together for the band. Their first song “Sympathique”– with the chorus “Je ne veux pas travailler”(”I don’t want to work”) – became an overnight sensation in France, and was even nominated for “Song of the Year”at France’s Victoires de la Musique Awards.

Pink Martini’s debut album "Sympathique" was released independently in 1997 on the band’s own label Heinz Records (named after Lauderdale’s dog), and quickly became an international phenomenon, garnering the group nominations for “Song of the Year” and “Best New Artist”in France’s Victoires de la Musique Awards in 2000. In October 2004, the group released its second album, "Hang on Little Tomato", and in May 2007, the group released its third album, "Hey Eugene!". Their next studio album, "Splendor in the Grass" was released on 27th October 2009. "Sympathique", "Hang on Little Tomato" and "Hey Eugene!" have all gone gold in France, Canada, Greece and Turkey, and Pink Martini's records have collectively sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.

On New Year's Eve 2005, Pink Martini performed live at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon. This performance was aired live on National Public Radio's Toast of the Nation, and in partnership with Oregon Public Broadcasting was recorded for a live DVD and later broadcast on US public broadcasting and French television. The DVD has been re-released to retail as Discover the World: Live in Concert, featuring not only the full concert, but several vignettes and a short documentary of the band's history. In May 2009, the band recorded three concerts with the Oregon Symphony under the direction of Carlos Kalmar for the band’s fifth album … a symphonic record which is slated for a 2011 release.

"Splendor in the Grass" was the fourth full-length album from the band Pink Martini. It was released in October 2009 on their own label Heinz Records. The album is named after its third track, and features songs in five languages (English, Spanish, Italian, French, and Neapolitan). Collaborators included National Public Radio correspondent Ari Shapiro singing on the track "But Now I'm Back" and Sesame Street performer Emilio Delgado on a cover of Joe Raposo's "Sing". Other covers included on the album are "Piensa en mí", written by Agustín Lara and his sister Maria Teresa Lara for the 1948 film Revancha; "Tuca Tuca", originally performed by Raffaella Carrà; and the Moondog song "New Amsterdam". The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and No. 100 on Top Independent Albums with 12,000 copies sold and was certified platinum in Greece. A unique and original album of Christmas songs, "Joy To The World" was released in December 2010. Another classy set of recordings by this wonderful group of artists.

China Forbes, born on 29th April 1970 was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her father is American of French/Scottish descent, and her mother is African American. She attended Phillips Exeter Academy, then studied visual arts at Harvard University, where she met fellow student Thomas M. Lauderdale, a classically-trained pianist. They became friends and met regularly to play music together. After graduating from Harvard in 1992, where she won the Jonathan Levy Prize for acting, Forbes worked as an actress for several years, performing off-Broadway in New York. She then became a musician, forming a band and recording a solo album. She sang the title song ("Ordinary Girl") for the late 1990s television series Clueless and the version of "Que Sera Sera" used over the opening and closing credits of Jane Campion's 2003 film In the Cut. Lauderdale, who by then was living in Portland, Oregon, asked her to sing with Pink Martini, a band he had assembled to play at political fundraisers in Portland. After three years, she moved to Portland in 1998 to work full-time with the band. Apart from her efforts with Pink Martini, Forbes has released two solo albums: "Love Handle" & "78".

Thomas Mack Lauderdale, born 14th July 1970 in Oakland, California was adopted by Kerby Roy and Linda Sue (Mikesell) Lauderdale. In 1972, the family moved to Indiana, where his father was pastor at Eel River Church of the Brethren. After church services, Lauderdale would go to the piano, and try to replicate the hymns he heard. His parents bought an upright piano at an auction and he began his formal musical studies at age six with Patricia Garrison of North Manchester, Indiana and later, Joyanne Jones at Indiana University/Purdue University in Fort Wayne. In 1976, his father resigned from the ministry and the Lauderdale family opened a plant nursery near North Manchester. The family moved to Portland, Oregon, in 1980, after his parents divorced and his father came out of the closet. In the 1990s, his parents went on several talk shows – including 20/20, Oprah, Jane Whitney, and Christina, to talk about what happens when a spouse comes out. Kerby returned to the ministry, and is the first openly gay pastor in his denomination. He performed the service when his former wife Linda remarried in 2000. In Portland, Oregon, Lauderdale began his studies with Sylvia Killman in 1982. Killman and Lauderdale remain close. Lauderdale won the Oregon Symphony's annual Corbett Competition in 1985, marking the beginning of a long association with conductor Norman Leyden. He graduated from Portland's Ulysses S. Grant High School in 1988, where he was student body president and editorial editor of The Grantonian. Lauderdale studied at Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in History and Literature.

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Richard Marx, born 16th September 1963 in Chicago, is an American adult contemporary and pop/rock singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. He had a string of hit singles in the late 1980s and 1990s, including "Endless Summer Nights", "Right Here Waiting", "Now and Forever", and my choice here, "Hazard". Although most of his major hit songs were slow ballads, many of his songs had a classic rock style, such as "Don't Mean Nothing", "Should've Known Better," "Satisfied," and "Too Late To Say Goodbye". Richard placed himself in the record books by being the first solo artist to have his first seven singles hit the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. His record sales worldwide exceed 30 million.

In 1991, Richard released his third consecutive multi-platinum album, "Rush Street". This album saw artists such as the late Luther Vandross and Billy Joel appear as backing vocalists and guest pianists. "Hazard" tells the story of an implied relationship of some kind between Marx's character and a woman named Mary. Mary is presumably murdered and Marx, shunned by many in the small town since his childhood, is immediately considered the main suspect. Marx, however, maintains his innocence throughout the song, and the question of such is left open to the listener's interpretation. It certainly is quite a disturbing song, but has a really unique character which keeps the listener on edge throughout. Maybe not in keeping with much of my hundred choices, "Hazard" is different, clever and very, very catchy.

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I consider this track to be of quite significant importance in the history of British pop music. It's a clever song and somehow it captures the essence of what ELO would become with just a nod towards mainstream 60's pop music. I really loved the song back in 1968 and I'm glad to be able to feature it here in my Top 100 of All-Time. The best I can do is to replacate what is written on various sites about the Idle Race - it is, without doubt, a most interesting tale.

The Idle Race were a British rock group from Birmingham in the late 1960s and early 1970s who had a considerable loyal following but sadly never enjoyed mass commercial success. In addition to being the springboard for Jeff Lynne, the band holds a place of significance in British Midlands' pop-rock history as a link between The Move, the Electric Light Orchestra, Steve Gibbons Band and Mike Sheridan and The Nightriders. The core of the group, rhythm guitarist Dave Pritchard, bass guitarist Greg Masters and drummer Roger Spencer, was relatively unchanged from 1959 until February 1972. The band went through several incarnations, names, lead guitarists and lead singers: first Billy King and later, more successfully, with Mike Sheridan, with whom they first rose to prominence and, in 1964, to a record deal with EMI. While Mike Sheridan and The Nightriders failed to crack the charts, the band's lineup during this period included a young lead guitarist and composer named Roy Wood, whose first commercial song "Make Them Understand," appeared on one of the band's B-sides in 1965. Wood left to join the then Brum 'supergroup' The Move in December 1965 and Sheridan left shortly thereafter.

The Nightriders soldiered on with a new lead guitarist, Johnny Mann, for a few months. When they placed an advert in May 1966 for a younger replacement, the winning applicant was Lynne, then a relatively unknown guitar prodigy from the Birmingham district of Shard End. The Nightriders recorded one single for Polydor, "It's Only The Dog/Your Friend", released in November 1966 with Lynne on lead guitar. Spencer sang lead on the former; the latter was written and sung by Pritchard. Eager to showcase Lynne's vocal and guitar skills as well as his growing cache of catchy Beatlesque songs, the group changed its name, first to Idyll Race, then Idle Race. Wood, now a major star as the Move became a successful chart act, helped arrange a partnership with pop producers Eddie Offord and Gerald Chevin for his old bandmates. In 1967, The Idle Race were the first major signing by the new British arm of Liberty Records which would soon merge with United Artists. The group were well-received by the music press for their melodies, whimsical lyrics, and inventive production. They often appeared on the same bill with such bands as The Spencer Davis Group, The Who, The Small Faces, Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Status Quo, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Yes, Free, and The Move.

During this period, Idle Race was also, as one member later termed it, a very "schizophrenic" band. While their records were awash in melodic hooks, paisley-pop backdrops and lilting harmonies, they were a much heavier act in a live setting. Lynne's early trademark around the clubs and colleges was his ability to coax an unusual "violin" sound out of his guitar, while Masters would occasionally take a bow to his Hofner bass. In addition to original material, their set list included extended covers of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild", The Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Purple Haze", Moby Grape's "Hey Grandma," The Lemon Pipers' "Blueberry Blue," The Doors' "Love Me Two Times", and an electric version of "Debora" by Tyrannosaurus Rex. Influential BBC disc jockeys such as John Peel and Kenny Everett were big boosters of the group. But despite critical respect and famous admirers such as The Beatles and Marc Bolan, Idle Race still failed to catch fire with the public.

Bad luck sabotaged efforts from the start. Their debut single on Liberty, a cover of Wood's "Here We Go 'Round the Lemon Tree", was scheduled for release and heavily promoted in September 1967. When the Move's version began getting national in airplay around the UK as the B-side of the hit "Flowers In The Rain," Liberty abruptly pulled the single in the UK - although it was still released by Liberty in the United States. The record company replaced it with Lynne's crunching "Impostors of Life's Magazine" in October. With no promotion, "Impostors" received critical praise but this did not result in strong sales. "The Skeleton and the Roundabout" (February 1968) and "The End of the Road" (June 1968) suffered similar fates.

Work continued throughout the year on the Idle Race's debut album, the group commuting in from Birmingham to London on Sundays, when they were granted free studio time at Advision. The resulting "The Birthday Party" was released in October of that year to strong reviews but tepid sales. It was issued in the US on Liberty with a change of cover. Lynne and Wood's mutual respect and friendship deepened. The demo for the Move hit "Blackberry Way" was recorded in Lynne's front room and borrowed motifs from the Idle Race; the chorus of Lynne's 1969 rocker "Days of the Broken Arrows" lifted part of a riff from the Move's "Wild Tiger Woman". Wood and Lynne often spoke of working together on a project that would integrate classical instruments within a pop/rock idiom. Lynne received an offer to replace Trevor Burton in the Move in February 1969 but declined with hopes of steering The Idle Race to commercial success — and producing the band's second LP for Liberty. The self-titled album "Idle Race" was eventually released in November 1969 in the UK but not in the US. When the two Lynne-penned, Lynne-produced singles that preceded the LP, "Days of the Broken Arrows" (April 1969) and "Come With Me" (July 1969) also failed to chart, their composer's frustration mounted. In January 1970, Lynne accepted a second offer by Wood to join the Move, on condition that they would eventually retire that band and concentrate on a new venture, Electric Light Orchestra.

Lynne made two albums ("Looking On" and "Message from the Country") and a handful of singles with the Move, including the first version of "Do Ya", as work on the first ELO album continued in the studio throughout 1970 and 1971. The Move, now comprising just Wood, Lynne and drummer Bev Bevan, ceased touring in 1970 and adopted its ELO alter ego permanently in 1972. Meanwhile, Mike Hopkins (guitar) and Dave Walker (vocals) were hired to replace Lynne in The Idle Race. A cover of Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime" on Liberty in 1970 finally got them into the top 10 - in Argentina. A cover of Hotlegs' "Neanderthal Man" didn't fare as well, and in 1971 the band produced their final album, "Time Is" for Regal Zonophone. Pritchard and Spencer, later to become comic "Ollie" Spencer, left shortly thereafter. After Masters and Hopkins quit the group in 1972, the remnants became the Steve Gibbons Band.

So there is the history of what has become a really fascinating and significant episode in British pop music history - featuring some well-known, talented and important names of mid-to-late 20th century pop music. Maybe it was just a fleeting, passing phase in my journey through popular music at that time, but I remember "Skeleton" with much pleasure and more than a little affection.

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The second track from my "sophisticated" favourites of the 2000's is this lovely little song featured on the 2004 album "Hang On Little Tomato". It stands out as a perfect vehicle for China Forbes' smooth, enticing, warm vocals. Lovely to listen to and even better to watch on DVD, as Miss Forbes is a joy on the eye as well as the ear!! A tremendous track in every respect.

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A work song, "Pay Me My Money Down" originated among the Negro stevedores working in the Georgia Sea Islands. It was collected by Lydia Parrish and published in her 1942 book, Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands - "Pay me, Oh pay me, Pay me my money down. Pay me or go to jail, Pay me my money down". However, the melody is much older and used in other songs. Also known as "Pay Me" or "Pay Me, You Owe Me", it was performed by The Weavers during their influential 1955 Carnegie Hall concerts. It was further popularized by The Kingston Trio in 1958.

"Pay Me My Money Down" was the first single and video released from Bruce Springsteen's 2006 big band folk album, "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions". It was one of the most popular played on Springsteen's subsequent Seeger Sessions Band Tour, where it usually closed out the main set amidst much on-stage hijinks and repetitions.

"We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions", released in 2006, was the fourteenth studio album by Bruce Springsteen being his first and so far only album of non-Springsteen material and contains his interpretation of thirteen folk music songs written or made popular by activist folk musician Pete Seeger. The record began in 1997, when Springsteen recorded "We Shall Overcome" for the Where Have All the Flowers Gone: the Songs of Pete Seeger tribute album, released the following year. Springsteen had not known much about Seeger given his rock and roll upbringing and orientation, and proceeded to investigate and listen to his music. While playing them in his house, his 10-year-old daughter said, "Hey, that sounds like fun," which caused Springsteen to get interested in further exploring the material and genre. Via Soozie Tyrell, the violinist in the E Street Band, Springsteen hooked up with a group of lesser-known musicians from New Jersey and New York, and they recorded in an informal, large band setting in Springsteen's New Jersey farm. In addition to Tyrell, previous Springsteen associates The Miami Horns as well as wife Patti Scialfa augmented the proceedings. This group would become The Sessions Band. The album was Springsteen's second consecutive non-E Street Band, non-rock music project. The critical reception to the album was very positive, with E! Online calling it his "best album since Nebraska and Allmusic labeling it "rambunctious, freewheeling and positively joyous". PopMatters called it a "a sonic transfusion on the order of the Mermaid Avenue records", which were Woody Guthrie songs recorded by Billy Bragg and Wilco. Seeger himself was pleased by result, saying "It was a great honor. He's an extraordinary person, as well as an extraordinary singer".

The subsequent Bruce Springsteen with The Seeger Sessions Band Tour took this musical approach even further. and in October 2006, the album was reissued as "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions - American Land Edition" with five additional tracks (the two bonus tracks from before and three new numbers that had been introduced and heavily featured on the tour), new videos, an expanded documentary and liner notes. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album at the 49th Grammy Awards held in February 2007.

I have come late to appreciate much of the Boss's music. There were many tracks on this "Seeger Sessions" album that challenged for the one spot in the 100 reserved for Springsteen but I chose this song as it really catches the wonderful spirit of the whole concert. My feet never keep still during it - and many others sung by this talented, much appreciated all-American performer. Great stuff!

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I repeat here that Roy was - and still is - my favourite singer of them all. He was so very special and we are indeed fortunate to have been able to appreciate his great talent on disc now for over half a century. One of 7 songs by Roy featured in my All-Time Top 100, "Only The Lonely" is, for me, where it all began. There were previously issued singles by Roy in the UK, but they weren't featured much at all on radio here, so it wasn't until the summer of 1960 that those incredible vocal chords were extensively heard for the first time here in Britain. I must admit, nearly every "London" record label release interested me. It was the very best of US records all in one place - Duane, the Everlys, Bobby Vee, etc. etc. And for me........... soon to be the "best of them all", Roy Orbison.

"Only The Lonely" was the 25th "45" single I bought - way back over half-a-century ago. That summer day when I picked up the single in Lock's Record Shop in Station Road and decided to spend my 6 shillings and 8 pence on "Only The Lonely" was the start of my lifelong admiration of "The Big O". What a shame that he isn't still here to appreciate what so many of us truly feel about him. Wonderful, just wonderful.

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This lovely little song, so typical of the much loved Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan, is a track from "Love Is Only Feeling" - the second album of his German RCA contract. It was released there in October 1981 and two years later in the UK. The title track was released in the UK as a single, with another track from the LP, "Lay Down Lassie", as the "B" side. Donovan Leitch was born in Glasgow on May 10th 1946. Emerging from the British folk scene, he developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended folk, jazz, pop, psychedelia, and world music.

Donovan came to fame in the UK in 1965 with a series of live performances on the TV series, Ready Steady Go!, and his popularity spread to the US and other countries. After signing with Pye Records in the same year, he recorded a handful of singles and two albums in the folk music vein. After extricating himself from his original management contract, he began a long and successful collaboration with leading independent record producer Mickie Most, scoring a string of hits in the UK, the US, Australia and other countries. His successful records in the 1960s included the UK hits "Catch the Wind" and "Colours" in 1965, while "Sunshine Superman" topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart the following year, and reached number two in Britain.
Donovan was one of the leading British recording artists of his day. He produced a series of hit albums and singles between 1965 and 1970.[1] He became a friend of leading pop musicians including Joan Baez, Brian Jones, Bruce Springsteen, and The Beatles. He influenced both John Lennon and Paul McCartney when he taught them his finger-picking guitar style in 1968. Donovan's commercial fortunes waned after he parted ways with Mickie Most in 1969, and he left the music industry for a time.

He continued to perform and record sporadically in the 1970s and 1980s, but gradually fell from favour. His gentle musical style and hippie image was scorned by critics, especially after the advent of punk rock. Donovan withdrew from performing and recording several times during his career, but he underwent a revival in the 1990s with the emergence of the rave scene in Britain. Late in the decade, he recorded the 1996 album Sutras with producer and long-time fan Rick Rubin and in 2004 released a new album, Beat Cafe.
"The Hills of Tuscany" is a gentle reminder of what Donovan does so very well. It leaves you in a comfortable, contented mood with the catchy tune staying with you long after its ending.

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Michael Bublé, originally from British Columbia, Canada, has had dual Italian-Canadian citizenship since 2005. His first album reached the top ten in Canada and the UK. He found worldwide commercial success with his 2005 album "It's Time", and his 2007 album "Call Me Irresponsible" was an even bigger success, reaching number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, the Australian Albums Chart and many European charts. Bublé has been described as having a vocal style similar to that of Frank Sinatra, even as being "an heir to Sinatra". To be absolutely honest, I was really not a great fan of Sinatra. I do appreciate he had great style and was also one of the most distinctive voices of the 20th century, but I actually prefer the vocal qualities of Nat Cole. However, when I first was introduced to the music of Mr Bublé, I just knew that here was a Sinatra-style singer that really did it for me personally.

It was Bublé's third studio album, "Call Me Irresponsible", chock full of great standards as well as superb new material, that finally persuaded me to become a fan of Michael This beautiful ballad "Lost" is, for me, the standout track on the album. Released as a single, it did very well in the British charts too. I am sure Michael has a long and successful career ahead of him and I look forward to many more releases in the future. I can say, too, that becoming a Bublé fan has also encouraged me to appreciate Sinatra more and more - and, in addition, Matt Monro too. I guess that's got something to do with my age!

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I "discovered" Rod in the late summer of 1970. Although not a major success (it peaked at no. 62 in the UK album charts) "Gasoline Alley" just blew me away. It was so raw - so very different from anything else being played on the radio. Well, it really didn't actually get many plays at all, but I, along with many others, was knocked out by the sound of the original, early, raw vocals of this charismatic young guy from the Home Counties. Thanks to dear old John Peel, Rod was becoming known to the masses both as a solo artist and as lead vocalist in The Faces, and the release of the album "Every Picture Tells A Story" the following year saw Rod finally attain the chart success he so richly deserved. It wasn't only as a solo artist that Rod was now achieving fortune and fame as the Faces too had a hit album, "Long Player" and several chart hit singles.

But it was "Maggie May" that propelled him to super-star status. A track from the afore-mentioned "Every Picture Tells A Story", "Maggie May " reached no. 1 in the UK & the USA as did the album at the same time - a unique "first" for Mr Stewart. However it is another track from that LP which is my favourite track of Rod's - "Mandolin Wind". Actually recorded by several other artists in the following years, this plaintive, gentle little song with a delightful instrumental accompaniment does it for me and I am more than happy to include it here in my 100 Favourite Tracks of All-time.
Rod has had a long and successful career and is still turning out the hits, but I have to be honest and say that it is that early period in the first part of the 1970's which holds the greatest affection I have for the man and his music. Oh, it was great stuff - really great - and I will never forget his appearance at the Taunton Gaumont Theatre with the Faces at that time! A wonderful evening - a fantastic memory to have of the magical Rod Stewart.

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GENE PITNEY

Backstage
1966

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75 75


JOHN BOUTTÉ

Tremé Song
2003

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76 76


ROY ORBISON

Crying
1961

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77 77


SAILOR

The Old Nickelodeon Sound
1975

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78 78


Dr. HOOK

When She Cries
1972

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79 79


ELLA FITZGERALD

Manhattan
1956

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BARBARA DICKSON

Caravan Song
1979

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