Song Stories

“Make My”

The Roots | 2011

“Make My” was the first single on the Roots' Undun album, which was centered around the story of a fictitious man named Redford Stephens who died at the age of 25. “The very first song is this person at the end of his life at the moment he pretty much gets murdered,” Questlove explained. “So when we were listening to the song, I said, ‘Well, I don't get the feeling that his spirit is leaving his body. I want to know that he is really dying.’” Hip-hop artists Big K.R.I.T. and Dice Raw collaborated on this tune.

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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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