Song Stories

“Killing the Blues”

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss | 2007

Popularized by John Prine and also recorded by Shawn Colvin, as well as its original writer, Rowland Salley, "Kiling the Blues," with its laid-back melody and poetic verse, was cherry-picked by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss to be the linchpin of their collaborative project. "When you combine a melody that lifts you up with a lyric like that, it's a twisted thing," said Krauss. "When you get that combination that is really something."

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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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