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"Bob Dylan lies a lot, but in this song he is as honest as I think he can be."

Nakhane Toure

YOU can find unique unsigned talent in the most unlikely of places, wiling away the hours, working minimum-wage jobs, and mentally writing melodies between stocktaking. To find Nakhane Toure, lover of harmonies, '60s and '70s soul music, the vivid art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and the literature of Toni Morrison and James Baldwin, we'd recommend looking in a little Christian book store in Jo'burg's West Rand. Here he compiles a mix called 'Napoleon is Weeping'. "It's a Tom Waits lyric, because most of these songs are weepers," he says.


NAKHANE TOURE - In the Darkroom

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"You cannot stay the same after you have heard an Ali Farka Toure song. Penda Yoro is no exception; the guitars go round and round, repeating the same riff for the entire five minutes and 25 seconds. But damn it, what a riff it is. Sometimes for one to truly understand the power of music he has to sacrifice the understanding of language, English or isiXhosa would have limited my love for this song. The harmonica, the ngoni, the calabash, the guitar solos (which are not to be underestimated). But what sets this song apart from the other perfect songs on the album is that it has a groove, and a sense of fun to it. ."

Available on: Savane

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CAT POWER - Metal Heart

"If the blues progressed from it was in the beginning (taking it way back to Africa where it really originates), and Africa was miraculously not tainted by colonialism, this is what I imagine they would sound like in the hands of a white girl visitor. Judt imagine: She escapes the western world and finds refuge in West Africa, where stringed instruments are played in cyclical rhythms, going and going then coming back to where they were to create some form of trance. She has brought her guitar with her, along with her despondency, she learns the forms, but cannot escape the grip of her context of music. And as much as she drags and drops the form, it still is dropped on an already shaped view of what music is. Metal Heart is classic Cat Power; it's shoddy, her guitar playing is somewhat messy, yet hits the right notes, and this shoddiness, this reluctance to be clean is an extension of what the song is basically about. She has never written a sadder song, but even though it sounds hopeless; listen to those drums (they drag, kick drum only comes in later, and every time it does it feels like a punch to an already raw stomach), there's hope. Midway she sings "I once was lost, but now am found". Those lyrics, as old as they are, are what the album Moon Pix is about: being found."

Available on: Moon Pix

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"In 1967 The Beatles released their psychedelic, baroque pop classic, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - it's a pretty album - and The Velvet Underground released The Velvet Underground & Nico. It's an album that can be pretty and damn ugly at the same time. Venus In Furs has both of these qualities, depending on how much you can stomach. The subject matter is sadomasochism; the music is dark and sinister (Tucker's simple primitive drumming, Lou Reed's grinding ostrich guitar). It's psychedelic, but not in the flower-child understanding of that genre, rather it sounds more like an acid trip gone really bad. One thing that hypnotises is John Cale's droning viola. It never stops, sometimes it sounds like it's out of tune. Is it? Is it meant to sound like it's out of tune? The song is dirty, it's lo-fi, and it is perfect."

Available on: The Velvet Underground and Nico

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BOB DYLAN - Fourth Time Around

"Blonde On Blonde is arguably Bob Dylan's best album. Where Highway 61 Revisited was harshly clever, beating you with his words, voice and harmonica, this album makes a slow incision into your consciousness. You can't feel it at first, but when the needle is taken out, whatever was left in your system stays in there for a very long time. There are better songs on the album, but Fourth Time Around (ripped-off by The Beatles on Norwegian Wood) is the only one that doesn't compromise its beauty for cleverness. A love song where the narrator does not paint himself as a saint, but shows how flawed he is. Bob Dylan lies a lot, but in this song he is as honest as I think he can be."

Available on: Blonde on Blonde

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"If Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac had a man-child, Tom Waits would have been him. Waits has the ability to write music that is both unbearably beautiful and downright frightening. Time falls under the 'beautiful' category. A song that paints a picture of a rainy, music-filled night. You can't help but be perplexed by the images Waits paints with his words. 'When she's on a roll, she pulls a razor from her boot and a thousand pigeons fall around her feet' ... 'their memories like a train you can see it getting smaller as it pulls away.' In all that beauty, he cannot hide the devastation that he sometimes hides within his complex lyrics."

Available on: Rain Dogs

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RADIOHEAD - You and Whose Army?

"There's a lot of 'us against the world' mentality in Thom Yorke's lyrics. Another example of this can be found in Exit Music (For A Film). But where that song is about an escape, in this one, the characters are not victims, but instead they're the aggressors. When it moves from the sparse voice and guitar beginning to the full band (another quality shared with ), one is taken up on those ghost horses Yorke sings about. Where in the beginning he taunted his enemy, the end shows an almost supernatural power (But why does he sound so defeated?). Gospel-influenced piano, ghostly harmonies, darkness, folk, rock; they are all in one song. Brilliance!"

Available on: Amnesiac

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BIG STAR - Nightime

"Alex Chilton's voice when paired with the right lyrics has the power to bring you to tears in one word. It's paper thin, but that lightness, which is almost child-like, has as much emotional depth as Antony Hegarty's brassy one. It's the forefather to Elliott Smith's voice. In Nighttime he doesn't waste a breath. With every phrase you fear he is going to burst into tears. Listen to how he sings "...and when I set my eyes on you". That crack in his voice is what this song carries with it; a sense of isolation in a cold night. Looking at people who cannot fill that void. Possibly one person can do that, but that person isn't there. What do you do? Alex Chilton sings: 'Get me out of here/I hate it here'."

Available on: Third - Sister Lovers

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