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Listen to the sounds of the Carolinas

It’s no breeze to sum up ever-evolving Charlotte in a playlist. But on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, it had to be done. Grab the ear buds and let’s go.

1. “Dueling Banjos,” written by Charlotte entertainer and guitar wizard Arthur Smith. It was made famous in “Deliverance.”

2. “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” James Brown. He came to Arthur Smith’s studio here to record one of his biggest hits.

3. “For the Love of Money,” The O’Jays. When we couldn’t find a snappy tune about banking, we settled for one of the funkiest riffs of all time.

4. “Coming From Where I’m From,” Anthony Hamilton. Charlotte’s Grammy-winning R&B artist captures hard times and hustle; a great song for a city that can take a punch.

5. “Chicken Shack Boogie,” Amos Milburn. We’re adopting this joyous stomp as an ode to our beloved take-out joint, Price’s Fried Chicken. Dance to this one while you wait in line.

6. “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” Earl Scruggs of nearby Cleveland County. This bluegrass classic appeared in the film “Bonnie and Clyde.”

7. “One of those Funky Thangs,” Parliament. George Clinton, the genius behind one of the great funk bands of all time, is from nearby Kannapolis.

8. “Feeling Good,” Nina Simone. The N.C.-singer with a haunting voice delivers a dreamy celebration with a luscious horn arrangement and crazy show-stopping finale.

9. “Cotton Mill Colic,” David McCarn. The Charlotte region was once the center of textile production in America. Circa 1929, this Gastonia laborer’s lament captures the struggles of mill life with a satiric smile.

10. “Slight Figure of Speech,” The Avett Brothers. The band from Concord has enchanted a nation of music lovers with their quirky bluegrass infused country-punk.

11. “I love NASCAR,” Cledus T. Judd. We’re home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and stock car racing traces its roots to the mountains, where moonshiners outran the feds. This song isn’t subtle, but neither is racin.’

12. “Hillbilly Deluxe,” Brooks & Dunn. Charlotte likes to trade on it buttoned-down business image. But hillbillies outnumber bankers.

13. “Stay,” by Maurice Williams, who lives in Charlotte. Consider it a plea from a city that wants to be loved.

14. “How You Like Me Now?” The Heavy. You really do love us, right?

15. “Carolina in My Mind,” James Taylor. ’Nuff said.

The update

We gave you a list of 15 songs that captured the soul of Charlotte and asked for additions. You delivered:

“Radio Free Europe,” R.E.M. The band recorded their first album, “Murmur,” in Charlotte. Nominated by Rick Elkins.

“Take the Money and Run,” Steve Miller. Nominated by Dennis Easterling of Charlotte, who thought it might apply to a certain v-e-r-y large bank….

“Southern Voice,” Tim McGraw. It pays homage to Charlotte-born evangelist Billy Graham, Michael Jordan and No. 3 (Dale Earnhardt). Suggested by our good friends at NASCAR.

Two more from the Observer:

“Giant Steps,” John Coltrane, the jazz saxophonist who grew up in High Point. A perfect number for a city always thinking about the next big thing.

“Jolly Coppers on Parade,” Randy Newman. Isn’t it just a tad surreal to see those checkerboard, Chicago P.D. hats on the streets of Charlotte?

Roland Wilkerson

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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