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David Sedaris and his ladies of song

August 20, 2009 |  6:15 am

Author David Sedaris lent his oh-so-recognizable radio voice to KCRW in Santa Monica for its Guest DJ Project. It broadcast Wednesday as part of Jason Bentley's morning show and now is available for download and streaming from the station's website.

So what does the self-deprecating humorist like to listen to? Classy ladies, heavy on the jazz. "I was never a big rock guy," he says on the show. Sedaris' playlist: Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln, Joni Mitchell, Betty Carter and Aretha Franklin.

"I always have to put myself in it, I always have to pretend, that, like, 'Until You Come Back to Me,' that's mesinging," Sedaris explains. "It's not Aretha Franklin. That's me. I don't look like her, I still look myself, I just have that voice, right? And my boyfriend left me, and then I'm singing this song and he sits in the audience, and he hears me and he says, 'God, how can I ever have left him?' ... I'm always imagining my place in the song."

The podcast is short -- less than 15 minutes -- mixing conversation with pieces of the songs. Perhaps the clips are mandated by downloading regulations. Or maybe the whole thing is designed as a tease; afterward, I both wanted to go out and hear some Abbey Lincoln and pick up the latest David Sedaris book, "When You Are Engulfed in Flames."

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times