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1914 Blues Challenge: Marc Anthony Thompson Picks a Winner(s)

Friday, June 27, 2014

For our latest listener challenge, we asked you to record your versions of one of 1914’s hit songs, “Yellow Dog Blues” by W.C. Handy — and you came through. Now our guest judge Marc Anthony Thompson (a.k.a. Chocolate Genius) reveals two winners.

Listen to the top entries

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Activists at Work

Friday, June 27, 2014

The musician Salman Ahmad is known as the "Bono of Pakistan.” He discusses his current music and his activism in Pakistan, where he’s helping to bring the polio vaccine to people in rural areas. Plus: a round-up of local news, including the officially defunct soda ban, labor deals and the reunification of a group of independent Democrats with their fellow party members; homeless people in Los Angeles can now legally live in their cars; and an anonymous Kenyan LGBT-rights activist discusses his work.

Soundcheck

Everybody's Talkin' About Harry Nilsson

Friday, June 27, 2014

Writer and radio host Alyn Shipton chronicles the life story of enigmatic singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson.

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Soundcheck

Gig Alert: Benyoro

Friday, June 27, 2014

Six-piece Malian afro-pop band hits Meridian 23. Download 'Kaira.'

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Soundcheck

Blind Boys Of Alabama; The Forgotten Life of Harry Nilsson; Mutual Benefit

Friday, June 27, 2014

In this episode: Since the Blind Boys Of Alabama was founded in the 1930s, the group has been a gospel institution. All these years later -- and especially with the recent album I'll Find A Way -- the soulful singers continue to not only honor traditional gospel music, but push the envelope and expand the definition of the genre.

Then: In the early 1970s, Harry Nilsson was one of the most famous musicians on the planet -- due in part to songs like "Coconut" and Everybody's Talkin'." Yet by the time he died in 1994 at the age of 52, most people had forgotten the reclusive singer's name -- even if they never forgot his timeless songs. Writer and radio host Alyn Shipton chronicled his enigmatic story in a new book, Nilsson: The Life Of A Singer-Songwriter.

And: Mutual Benefit is the stage name of songwriter Jordan Lee and a rotating group of collaborators. Lee is an Ohio native, who has spent time in Austin, Boston and now Brooklyn, and the light touch at the heart of Mutual Benefit derives from Lee's restless travels across the country. Hear Mutual Benefit play songs from the resulting 2013 record, Love's Crushing Diamond

Watch Mutual Benefit perform in the Soundcheck studio below:

This is an encore episode of Soundcheck. 

Soundcheck

Blind Boys Of Alabama: Pushing The Boundaries Of Gospel

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hear Blind Boys of Alabama perform in the Soundcheck studio.

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Latin Roots: New Music From Cuba

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Billboard's Judy Cantor-Navas joins World Cafe to discuss how the end of a cultural embargo has made music better in Cuba and beyond.

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All Things Considered

'Teenie' Hodges, A Sculptor Of Al Green's Sultry Sound, Passes Away

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A key architect of Memphis soul passed away this week. Guitarist and songwriter Mabon "Teenie" Hodges helped create the smooth, sultry sound made famous by singer Al Green.

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Miguel Zenón And Dafnis Prieto On JazzSet

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Saxophonist Miguel Zenón (from Puerto Rico) and drummer Dafnis Prieto (from Cuba) have both resettled in the U.S., and are reworking the music of their islands in studios and on bandstands worldwide.

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Julius Rudel, Longtime Director Of New York City Opera, Dies At 93

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The conductor served as musical and administrative head of New York's second-largest opera company at a time when American talent was flowering.

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The Jonathan Channel

Mary Rodgers, Broadway Composer & Author, Dies at 83

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mary Rodgers was born into a musical family. The daughter of composer Richard Rodgers, she composed several musicals including: Once Upon a Mattress and The Madwoman of Central Park West. Also an accomplished writer, she authored several children's books, most notably Freaky Friday. She was 83 (January 11,1931 - June 26, 2014).

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A Catchy Synth-Pop 'Summer Jam' From Grimes

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The electronic musician Grimes, who has been working on an album, calls her new song, "Go," a summer jam that she couldn't wait to put out.

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Latitudes: International Music You Must Hear In June

Thursday, June 26, 2014

From unlikely marriages (J-pop and metal? K-pop and hip-hop?) to a case of intoxicated ecstasy, five songs you can't miss hearing.

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Fresh Air

Lana Del Rey's 'Ultraviolence' Has A Firm Grasp On Pop History

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lana Del Rey continues a time-honored pop tradition of developing a public persona that challenges fans to decide what's real and what's not.

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A New World Of Expression: Latino Identity Through Music

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Alt.Latino celebrates its fourth birthday with musicians from Winnipeg to Buenos Aires. Together, the selections reflect a new Latino identity, with sounds both new and traditional.

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He'll Be There For You

Thursday, June 26, 2014

On his new album, X, rising singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran turns the at times troubling idea of the "friend zone" into something safe and sustaining.

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Soundcheck

Doc Pomus: The Unknown Story Of A Songwriting Sensation

Thursday, June 26, 2014

He called himself Doc Pomus, and he wrote some of the most iconic songs of the 1950's and '60s; songs like “Viva Las Vegas,” “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “This Magic Moment.” But a new documentary called AKA Doc Pomus aims to share the story of the man behind the hits -- a disabled Brooklyn songwriter who succeeded in the music industry against all odds.

We talk with one of the film’s directors, Peter Miller, as well as Doc Pomus's daughter and the film’s producer, Sharyn Felder.

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Soundcheck

My World Cup Vacation: A Little Messi Magic Goes A Long Way

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Just when you might have been thinking, "Wow, you must need to be a real jerk to be a top soccer player," along comes Lionel Messi to show everyone how it should be done. All he does is score goals. Soundcheck's John Schaefer weighs in on the Argentina star and his two goals in yesterday's World Cup action.

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KCRW Presents: Dean Wareham

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A veteran of Galaxie 500 and Luna, Wareham has dabbled in film along the way. Now he has a fine solo career, which recently brought him to Morning Becomes Eclectic to perform "The Dancer Disappears."

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New Sounds

A Private Reel: Live on Soundcheck

Thursday, June 26, 2014

For this New Sounds, we raid the exclusive live performance archive from that "other" show John Schaefer hosts, the afternoon program, Soundcheck. We'll listen for tunes from pipa player Wu Man, Cuban singer Omara Portuondo, and the Italian percussionist Alessandra Belloni, to name a few.

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