Marvin Gaye

Julie Burchill: The unions have been demonised, so the bullies have

As I think I might have mentioned before, I come from a trades union family, and while my dad had the theory down and wasn't above a bit of secondary picketing, my mother lived and breathed the struggle for workers' rights. Or, as we call it today, Going Off On One Big Time.

Album: John Legend & the Roots, Wake Up! (Columbia)

Theres never a wrong time to revisit the core values of Seventies soul and funk, though it may have been more effective for John Legend & The Roots to release Wake Up!, a selection of politicised black covers from that era, during a previous administration's tenure, when the admonition was more pertinent.

Album: Laura Nyro & Labelle, Gonna Take A Miracle (Rev-Ola)

Singer-songwriter Laura Nyro was renowned for blue-eyed soul standards such as "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Wedding Bell Blues" when, in 1971, she decamped to Philadelphia International studio to record this album of soul covers with the PI production team of Gamble & Huff, taking along her new friends Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash.

Ways to say goodbye

Corinne Bailey Rae's new album is suffused with sorrow over the death of her husband. Vini Reilly has recorded apaean to Factory Records legend Tony Wilson. The pain of bereavement can be heard in music, says Chris Mugan

DVD: Flight of the Conchords: Series Two (15)

If you've not heard "Business Time", a song vaunting the pleasures of getting it on in as hormone-pumping a manner as Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On", then check out the second outing from New Zealand's fourth most popular folk parody duo.

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Rivals open playlists in bid to rock the presidential vote

There would be little joy for either John McCain or Barack Obama if they were to mistakenly trade iPods. Only one musical artist has appeal for both of them: Ol' Blue Eyes. Barack would surely wince at John's Abba. And who knows what John would do on hearing Barack's "Yes We Can" by the hip hop musician

My Secret Life: Lennie James, Actor, age 42

The home I grew up in... was a bog-standard, turn-of-the-century terraced council house, converted into flats. My mother, brother and I lived upstairs, an Irish man lived downstairs, with a Jamaican family to our left and a Greek family to our right.