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Song Stories

“Seahorse”

Devendra Banhart | 2007

Regularly cited for his "freak-folk" sound, Devendra Banhart also shows his love of South American culture in songs such as "Seahorse," a tune with that spans eight minutes and has an almost literary arc. "There's something somewhat Blakean about it," Banhart said, citing the Romantic poet William Blake. "But musically, it’s the best thing I've ever ... it's the thing I'm most proud of." Going from acoustic lament to piano-driven shuffle, and with its climatic ending, "Seahorse" showcases Banhart in pronounced Jim Morrison mode: poetic and high on spiritual lust. And there’s even a flute solo.

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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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