Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from top: The Beatles, James Blake, Colin Meloy, Marisa Anderson
Courtesy of the artists
On this edition of All Songs Considered, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton travel through the decades for an eclectic mix of rock, folk, and, wait for it... disco.
Bob kicks off the show with a rare recording from a timeless band: The Beatles. This month the group will release On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2, which focuses on the band's early 1960s work. Hear a previously unreleased version of "Please Please Me."
Staying in the same decade, Robin shares a song from the soundtrack to the latest Coen brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis. The movie stars Oscar Isaac, who plays Llewyn Davis, a down-on-his luck folk singer couch-surfing and playing in Greenwich Village in the early '60s. Listen to the whole soundtrack now via our First Listen series.
Also on the show: Bob saw James Blake in concert recently and asked him about a song that changed Blake's life. Hear the young Brit's surprising answer and a track from one of his major influences.
Later, Bob and Robin are joined by NPR Music's Lars Gotrich, who brings a cut by Marisa Anderson, from Lars' list of five American Primitive guitar records from this year that would make guitar legend John Fahey proud. Finally, we close the show with a new single from the latest Broken Bells album, After The Disco. You can also hear the duo behind Broken Bells, James Mercer and Brian Burton (Danger Mouse), talk about how they made the record, and accidentally channeled the Bee Gees along the way.
- Song: Please Please Me
- from On Air: Live at the BBC, Vol. 2
This version of "Please Please Me" comes from the massive new On Air-Live at the BBC, Volume 2 collection. The set includes rare and previously unreleased songs from the early-to-mid 1960s.
- Song: Oscar Isaac, 'Hang Me, Oh Hang Me'
- from Inside Llewyn Davis Soundtrack
Guatemalan actor Oscar Isaac recorded all his own songs as the title character in the Coen brothers' new film, Inside Llewyn Davis. The full soundtrack is also streaming now on our First Listen series.
Oscar Isaac, 'Hang Me, Oh Hang Me'
- Song: Trouble Blues
- from Night Beat
When Bob Boilen asked James Blake about one song that changed the singer's life, Blake's response was the legendary rhythm and blues artist, Sam Cooke. Hear Cooke's "Trouble Blues," and how much inspired Blake's "Retrograde."
- Song: Retrograde
- from Overgrown
Host Bob Boilen revisits James Blake's "Retrograde," a goose bump-inducing and soulful cut that opens with a hummed line, inspired by Sam Cooke's "Trouble Blues."
Guitarist Marisa Anderson spent 15 years walking across the U.S., living in cars, tents and buses. She looks back at the remarkable journey with a collection of raw, unadorned audio postcards that show the complexities of American Primitive guitar music.
- Song: Natural One
- from Fellow Travelers
After nearly a decade as the guitarist of Okkervil River, Jonathan Meiburg left the band in 2008 to focus on his band Shearwater. Hear the psych-folk band's cover of the 1995 Folk Implosion song "Natural One," a song that Meiburg says signals the dark and sinister direction his band is taking.
- Song: Days
- from Colin Meloy Sings The Kinks
To choose a band for his latest covers record, Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy picked from a random selection of records from his personal vinyl collection. He wound up with The Kinks. Meloy's cover of the band's 1968 song "Days" leaves All Songs host Bob Boilen looking for a box of tissues.
- Song: Holding On For Life
- from After The Disco
In their half-hour interview with Bob and Robin, Brian Burton and James Mercer of Broken Bells shed light on the recording process for After the Disco, the group's new album, due out in January. "Holding On For Life" conjures up fuzzy memories of all-white suits and disco balls - even if that's not what the duo intended.