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Genre: A 33 1/3 Series – New Books on ’70s Teen Pop and Krautrock

Next month we’re adding two new books to our Genre series: ’70s Teen Pop and Krautrock. If you’re not yet familiar with this series, think of Genre as your guide through musical sub-genres that have intrigued, perplexed, or provoked listeners. Much like the original 33 1/3 series, each book offers new perspectives, song recommendations, little-known tidbits, personal stories, and above all, ways of thinking about music.

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Have Yourself a Cooke-ian Little Christmas

benevolence are on display in a special wing of life’s museum. The wing is accessible all the year ‘round, but it attracts the most visitors during the season of Yule. There’s a soundtrack that doesn’t feature at the rest of the year—unless you fire up A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector and The Nutcracker in April, as I do—and everything just feels different. Good different.

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Image of Jude Johnstone

The Saddest Song on Everyone’s Album

Jude Johnstone began writing songs at the piano as a child growing up in Hancock, Maine. She was technically “discovered” by Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band, who met her on a plane, listened to some demos she later sent him, and flew her to New Jersey, where she witnessed Springsteen recording The River. In 1979 she traveled with the band to Los Angeles, locus of the American recording industry, and established herself as a professional songwriter for artists from Johnny Cash to Bette Midler and Trisha Yearwood.

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Image of Jorja Chalmers

Midnight Train

For a decade or so, Jorja Chalmers has been performing saxophone and keyboards with Bryan Ferry. She’s a dazzling presence on stage, as befits Ferry’s carefully curated and casually sophisticated image, plus her contributions to his concerts can be outsized. During a recent, pre-Covid performance at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles I attended, the backup singers on the iconic song “Avalon” lost their way in the final section. Ferry looked wide-eyed at Chalmers, who swiftly crossed the stage to guide the singers back in sync. Ferry, clearly grateful for Chalmers’s cool, shrugged off the misstep.

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Image of Donna Summer in her waitress outfit

Working Hard For The Money

In the classic track from Once Upon a Time “Working The Midnight Shift”, Donna Summer’s Cinderella character hits rock bottom. Forced to take on demeaning (but never specified) labour, the song manages to evince a post-Fordist nightmare where the singer has lost control of agency of her body. Her breathy vocals are detached, signifying perhaps an out-of-body experience as she observes her body grinding away, the relentless music suggesting hands in busy, unceasing motion. Tucked away in the middle of the Side 2 suite, it was probably one of the last tracks that would have been considered as having single potential. However, over the years it has demonstrated a lasting cult appeal, attracting covers from Holy Ghost! and occasional Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante.

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An Interview with 24-Carat Black’s Saxophonist and Road Manager

Zach Schonfeld in conversation with Jerome Derrickson While researching and reporting my 33 1/3 book about 24-Carat Black’s progressive funk masterpiece Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth, I tracked down and interviewed ten surviving members of 24-Carat Black. (Some from the group’s original lineup, others from the group’s Chicago-based second lineup.) These interviews were long and fascinating, full

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Bob Mould Week – Day 3: Interview with Cordon Simons of the Gentlemen Rogues

To celebrate the recent release of our 33 1/3 on Bob Mould’s Workbook, we’re pleased to bring you the third installment of Bob Mould Week by authors Walter Biggins and Daniel Couch! An interview with Cordon Simons of the Gentlemen Rogues Though Workbook is Bob Mould’s debut as a solo artist, it’s by no means

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