By Reed Fischer
By Anna Gulbrandsen
By Jeff Gage
By Stacy Schwartz
By Natalie Gallagher
By Erik Thompson
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By Loren Green
8)-9) Penelope Houston with Pat Johnson, "The Pale Green Girl," from The Pale Green Girl (DBK Works) and Nancy Sinatra, "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" (Reprise) A slow, hesitating song with a quick, poppy chorus, right up to that point where guitarist Pat Johnson makes you lean forward and wonder what his few broken, abstract notes are saying, and Houston, in her most powerful moments since she broke up the Avengers in 1979, cracks the punk whip that's been hiding in the tune all along. I heard it on the radio immediately after Nancy Sinatra's shockingly avant-garde 1966 version of a Sonny and Cher hit, from the Kill Bill, Vol. 1 soundtrack. The Vol. 2 set would be better off with "The Pale Green Girl" than anything that's actually on it.
10) Jan Berry, 1941-2004 He treated everyone around him like something to kick out of the way, including the truck he crashed into 38 years ago and never really walked away from. He never apologized, except perhaps in that perfect moment in "Dead Man's Curve," after the Jag he's been racing has been totaled; a hand runs across the strings of a harp, and Jan finds himself not in his Stingray in heaven, playing a lute, but in the hospital, putting on a convincing show of humility--"Well, the last thing I remember, Doc, I started to swerve..."--but you can bet he's secretly grinning over every word.
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