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Song Stories

“Race With the Devil”

Gene Vincent | 1956

With sung-mumbled lyrics about a drag race with Satan alongside lightning rockabilly guitar licks and bent notes from Cliff Gallup, Gene Vincent's "Race with the Devil" was chosen as the follow-up single to his smash "Be-Bop-A-Lula," but it barely charted. Producer Ken Nelson arranged to have Nashville session musicians on hand if Vincent's band couldn't play well. But as Vincent's manager Sheriff Davis (credited with Gene as co-writer of the song) remembered, "When they heard Cliff go off on all those runs, they turned to each other and went, 'Whaaat! Whaaat!'"

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Song Stories

“Bizness”

Tune-Yards | 2011

The opening track to Merrill Garbus’ second album under the Tune-Yards banner (she also plays in the trio Sister Suvi), “Bizness” is a song about relationships that is as colorful as the face paint favored by Garbus both live and in her videos. Disjointed funk bass, skittering African beats, diced-and-sliced horns and Garbus’ dynamic voice, which ranges from playful coos to throat-shredding howls, make “Bizness” reminiscent of another creative medium. “I'd like for them not to be songs as much as quilts or collages or something,” Garbus said.

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