Ace in the Hole

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THE BEATLES: “Strawberry Fields Forever” (Take #4) Play this track

Another way to hear The Beatles’ gem … before the overdubs —Rock Stamberg

TERRY MELCHER: “These Days” Play this track

This radical take on a great song is a new discovery. —RS

RAY DAVIES: “A Place In Your Heart” Play this track

As good as any klassic Kinks song and it’s (mostly) not sung by Ray. —RS

GRATEFUL DEAD: “Brown-Eyed Women” (Live at Barton Hall, Cornell 5/8/77) Play this track

Recorded at the show many consider The Best One Ever. You decide. —RS

RY COODER: “Alimony” Play this track

Another day, another version of Ry Cooder playing “Alimony.” —RS

JACK BRUCE: “Sunshine of Your Love” Play this track

I’m a fan of artists revisiting their classic tunes, especially when they come at it from a different angle. I like something a bit more than the “unplugged” performance. In 2nd NHT we presented David Lee Roth doing “Jump” as bluegrass. The surprise was both startling and wonderful. I have a folder in my iTunes titled Replay for just such songs. This is one of my favorites. When Jack and Eric got together on record (which was not often post Cream) you kind of wanted them to do “Sunshine,” but not a retread. And you now you’ve got it. This includes a Latin beat and percussion, a relaxed performance, and Clapton licks and solos that weren’t phoned in. He listened and leaned into it. It’s the kind of song that forms the bedrock for what goes into an episode of NHT. If you go, “Hey I didn’t know this existed,” and then go, “but it’s kind of cool,” then our job is done and I’m taking the rest of the day off. —John Stix

SPANISH HARLEM ORCHESTRA: “Late in the Evening” Play this track

What a treat. This is a total reimagining of Simon’s longtime show closer, using all the vibrancy and energy of Latin big band vocabulary. It’s not surprising SHO leader Oscar Hernandez played a big role in Simon’s Broadway play The Capeman. —JS

PAUL SIMON: “Ace in the Hole” Play this track

A forgotten winner from Paul Simon’s forgotten film One-Trick Pony. That New York feel comes from Stuff members Steve Gadd (drums), Eric Gale (guitar) and Richard Tee (Fender Rhodes). You know that Rhodes piano sound from “Still Crazy After All These Years.” For years Richard Tee was a secret weapon in many of Simon’s live bands. His gospel opening to “Bridge” in concerts is legend. On this song he plays the vibes like electric piano and takes a rare co-lead vocal. Paul Simon is about as New York as an artist can get and this song is the personification of the New York groove. Songs like this is why we had to name it twice. —JS

The entire One-Trick Pony album is so underrated. Here’s proof. —RS

CORNELL DUPREE: Playing Telecaster Play this track

I was a regular at Mikell’s (97th and Columbus) when Stuff was the house band during the weekdays. Stuff were studio veterans Richard Tee (piano) Gordon Edwards (bass) Steve Gadd (drums) Eric Gale (guitar) and Cornell Dupree (guitar). I would go weekly and just groove. I met Cornell Dupree based on an interview I did for Guitar Player magazine. I’m a fan of his playing as it’s imbued with simplicity, melodic and rhythmic clarity and an authenticity that always draws me in. And at that first interview I asked him to play for me. I got lucky. And now so did you. —JS

CORNELL DUPREE: “Way Back Home” Play this track

I loved it when Stuff would play this Wilton Felder (Crusaders) tune. So I asked him for a chorus. After listening to this, you’ve got to be feeling better. Groove on me buckos. —JS

RICHARD THOMPSON: “She Twists the Knife Again” Play this track

Sharp tongue, sharper fingers. You try doing this. —RS

MONTE MONTGOMERY: “Come Away” Play this track

Monte falls into that John Mayer category of singer/songwriter/guitarist. The songs are key and the playing is killer. I shared this song on many a mixed tape. The rhythmic push is strong and the repetition in the lyric and melody drives the tune forward. There is a late song solo on his acoustic guitar, which he plays with the ferociousness of a guitar hero. —JS

PETE TOWNSHEND: “Communication” Play this track

I was looking for a companion to Monte’s use of repeated vocal phrasing as a rhythmic hook and thought of this baby from All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes (think Clint Eastwood). I love how this song alternates between barreling down the train tracks to moving forward in neutral. —JS

Such a white-hot track from solo Pete. —RS

BEE GEES: “Run to Me/World” Play this track

I love this little medley.

ROBERT PALMER: “Hey Julia” Play this track

ROBERT PALMER: “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” Play this track

I’m picking up on my own clues. This NHT has a lot of bump-in-the-night rhythm playing, with this couplet of songs featuring rhythms from players in Little Feat and Stuff. And I mean literally those players! Nice way to present a debut album wouldn’t you say! Alright, stop tapping your toes and get back to work. —JS

Anything Robert Palmer did was unique. These two joined-at-the-hip tracks are from his first album. He was already there. —RS

VAN MORRISON: “Autumn Song” Play this track

This is sort of a bonus track in that we didn’t talk about it.  But at this time of year, “Autumn Song” does it for me.  Van paints a serene picture both lyrically and with the music. “Autumn Song” beckons you in and invites you to stay for a while.  It’s like a relaxing exhale. So get comfy and let your cares drift away. —JS

John’s last-minute track addition is a real beauty, isn’t it? —RS