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Song Stories

“Dear Mr. Fantasy”

Traffic | 1967

Steve Winwood had already had hits with the Spencer Davis Group and with Traffic's first album, but this title track from the group's follow-up is a career highlight, even though it wasn't even released as a single. The idea for the song first came about about when drummer Jim Capaldi was sketching out ideas for an album cover for the first album that had a Stature of Liberty-like figure and a short poem he composed, but he lost interest. The band found the poem and took over from there. "Jim flaked out and Chris [Wood] and I stayed up all night and we got the thing together," Steve Winwood said.

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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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