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Exclusive: John Legend and the Roots Go Acoustic

Watch the singer and band recast 'Compared to What,' which appears in electric form on their new album, 'Wake Up!'

September 21, 2010 4:25 PM ET

John Legend and the Roots have kindly given Rolling Stone this exclusive acoustic performance of Eugene McDaniel's soulful anti-war track "Compared to What," which appears in electric form on their new covers album, Wake Up!, which hits stores today. The track was recorded in the Roots' NYC rehearsal studio. "John Legend is modern R&B's classiest male singer, bringing old-fashioned suavity to hip-hop soul; the Roots are the world's most versatile (and maybe best) band," Jody Rosen writes in his Rolling Stone review of Wake Up! , which earns four stars. "Together, they have made a brilliantly conceived and executed album, reviving music from the Nixon-era heyday of politically engaged R&B."

Earlier: John Legend Talks Lending Songs for Education Reform

Video: The Roots and John Legend on their soul LP 'Wake Up!'

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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