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Song Stories

“The Beast”

Laura Marling | 2011

Folk artist Laura Marling creates a sprawling, poetic tune that employs foreboding lyrics and the fuzz of a distorted guitar to allude to a nebulous beast character who lurks throughout her album, A Creature I Don't Know. "At some point it's me, at some points it's someone else, and at some points it's not even a thing--it's like a force," Marling said. "The Beast" is accentuated by guitar, which takes on a life of its own: "The electric guitar sound is like a character in the song, almost as important as the lyrics," Marling noted.

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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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