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Song Stories

“Baby Please Don't Go”

Them | 1964

A bass that throbbed like a heartbeat, a piercing winding blues-rock riff and a snarling Van Morrison vocal made Them's cover of Big Joe Williams' country blues classic "Baby Please Don't Go" a big U.K. hit single. Although it has sometimes been reported or speculated that Jimmy Page was used as a session man to play lead guitar on the track, Them guitarist Billy Harrison has claimed it as his own work. "I played it for a year before it ever got on their record," he said. "What he basically did was, in chords, augment the bass playing."

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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