.
Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!
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This is 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings of the same song and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 15th of each month and six days later, on the 21st, I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.
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Friend? Foe? Stranger? No matter, ALL are welcome. So pull up a chair, pour yourself 24 oz. of 'DOG BITE High Gravity Lager' (or the poison of your choice) and turn it up to Eleven!
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[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

'LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO HATE' (Or, 'I AIN'T GOT THE TIME')

Republican Vs. Democrat, Male Vs. Female, War Vs. Peace, Light Vs. Dark, Good Vs. Evil, Man Vs. Machine, Love Vs. Hate, Dog Vs. Cat, Sun Vs. Moon, Brain Vs. Brawn, Oscar Vs. Grammy, Angel Vs. Demon, Laurel Vs. Hardy, Beer Vs. Wine---

No! Wait! Stop!
It's not the first or the fifteenth of the month, so this CAN'T be a new installment of 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS'.

It was my friend Robin (“The Girl Wonder”) who said to me, “It is my fervent hope that you will continue to blog beyond BOTB.” This blog bit is my way of sayin', “OK. Your wish is my command... just like in that dream.”

As you all know, my friend FAE and I conspired to use Willie Nelson (against Sarah Vaughan) in our last 'BOTB' blog bits. And then the other day I was involved in a discussion about music concerts with my friend Arlee Bird. In that blogversation I said that the three best concerts I'd ever been to were the three times I saw Waylon Jennings on stage. One of the things that made his shows so special were the funny stories he would tell between songs about the times he was hanging out with Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.

Well, thinking about Waylon and Willie naturally made me think of Todd Snider.

Who?”
You don't know 'bout Todd Snider?

I didn't know about him either until my friend LC turned me onto him some years ago. (Yeah, I have A LOT of friends because I'm so friendly. If you want friends, be friendly; if you want good times, keep a positive attitude; if you want a relationship with God, pray to Him; if you want a lot of money... rob liquor stores.)

Todd Snider is the guy who, in 1994, released 'SONGS FOR THE DAILY PLANET', which is quite possibly the greatest debut album by anyone anywhere anytime.
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To be honest, I do not at all like the direction Todd Snider and his career took. But those first several albums were absolutely outstanding and proved that Snider was the best songwriter since Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. And he was funny like Waylon, both on record and in concert.

Below is a track from Snider's first live album. Most of the running time is Snider telling the story of how he came to write the song 'BALLAD OF THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE TAVERN', and it's really funny (a la Waylon Jennings in concert). Be forewarned though that Snider drops the “F-bomb” a few times. If that doesn't bother you, then you'll find this story-song very entertaining:

'The Story Of The
'Ballad Of The Devil's Backbone Tavern'
~ Todd Snider



If you're looking for a wine that pairs well with Todd Snider's music, I recommend this one:
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Until the next 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' installment on October 1st, this is STMcC sayin', “Yak later...”

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.

Monday, September 15, 2014

'BATTLE OF THE BANDS: 2014, SEPTEMBER 15' (Or, 'SARAH VAUGHAN VS. WILLIE NELSON')

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Republican Vs. Democrat, Male Vs. Female, War Vs. Peace, Light Vs. Dark, Good Vs. Evil, Man Vs. Machine, Love Vs. Hate, Dog Vs. Cat, Sun Vs. Moon, Brain Vs. Brawn, Oscar Vs. Grammy, Angel Vs. Demon, Laurel Vs. Hardy, Beer Vs. Wine, TV Vs. Radio, Pitcher Vs. Batter, Paper Vs. Plastic, Reality Vs. Fantasy, Yeshua Vs. Beelzebub, Conservative Vs. Liberal, You Vs. Me, House Vs. Senate, Offense Vs. Defense, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Spy Vs. Spy, Fischer Vs. Spassky, W.C. Fields Vs. Sobriety, Harold Gimpy, Jr. Vs. Sheldon J. Pismire, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Islam Vs. Everything, Singer Vs. Singer, Band Vs. Band...
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THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (‘BOTB’) 
. 
. 
Shoop-Shooby –
Shooby-duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah – 
Buh-Doo-Wah! 
. 
Yes, it’s time once again for ‘Battle Of The Bands’ (‘BOTB’) 
. 
Alright, let’s get on it... 
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EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
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As you'll recall, my longtime friend Arlee Bird used the great 'SEPTEMBER SONG' in his last 'BOTB' installment, featuring Anjelica Huston and Lou Reed. I got to thinking: I wonder what would happen if someone used 'SEPTEMBER SONG' with singers? (Don't hate me, Lee. You know that sarcasm is like oxygen to me and without it I would die.) 
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'SEPTEMBER SONG' really became something personal to me in September of 1992. I knew that in early October I would be moving out of state, and that would end the five-year relationship I'd had with an old flame. At that time I owned an album that included 'September Song' and I listened to it often in that last month, experiencing the deep melancholy of those lines: 
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...the days grow short 
When you reach September 
When the Autumn weather 
Turns leaves to flame … 
Oh, the days dwindle down 
To a precious few … 
And these few precious days 
I'll spend with you 
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Just reading and hearing those lyrics makes me sad all over again. 
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So, I give you 'SEPTEMBER SONG', first with Sarah Vaughan. She was an American jazz singer, described by music critic Scott Yanow as having "one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century." 
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Sarah Vaughan, nicknamed 'Sassy' and 'The Divine One', worked with some of the most renowned musicians from the classic Jazz era and her name is frequently mentioned in the same breath with Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dinah Washington (which is a pretty healthy breath, but I've tested it and it can be done).
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According to Wackypedia:
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Fellow jazz singer Mel Tormé said that Vaughan had "...the single best vocal instrument of any singer working in the popular field." Her ability was envied by Frank Sinatra who said that "Sassy is so good now that when I listen to her I want to cut my wrists with a dull razor." The New York Times critic John S. Wilson said in 1957 that Vaughan possessed "what may well be the finest voice ever applied to jazz."
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“Her voice had wings: luscious and tensile, disciplined and nuanced, it was as thick as cognac, yet soared off the beaten path like an instrumental solo... her voice was a four-octave muscle of infinite flexibility...” 
~ Gary Giddins 
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Vaughan recorded 'September Song' more than a couple times during her career, but here is my favorite of them:
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SARAH VAUGHAN – 'SEPTEMBER SONG' 
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJBlG3V2B_w 
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GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
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In 1976, Country “outlaw” Willie Nelson, in conjunction with Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser, released the collection 'Wanted! The Outlaws'. It became Country music's first certified platinum album. 
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So when you've got a really good thing going you play it safe and stick with it, right? Not if you're a “Country Outlaw” and not if you're also Willie Nelson! 
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A year later, Willie had made up his mind to record a collection of American pop standards. Here's what Wackypedia sez about 'Stardust' (1978):
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Willie Nelson asked his neighbor Booker T. Jones [of the great R&B/Soul group 'Booker T. & The MGs'] to arrange "Moonlight In Vermont". Pleased by the results, Nelson later asked Jones to produce an entire standards album for him. Nelson selected his ten favorite pop songs from his childhood. [He] also picked for the album "Georgia On My Mind", "Blue Skies", "All Of Me", "Unchained Melody", "September Song", "On The Sunny Side Of The Street", "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and "Someone To Watch Over Me". The executives of Columbia Records were not convinced that the album would sell well, because the project was a radical departure from his earlier success in the outlaw movement.” 
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It was recorded in just nine days. ... Nelson won a Grammy Award for "Georgia on My Mind". 'Stardust' was on the Billboard's Country Album charts for ten years - from its release until 1988. The album also reached number one in New Zealand and number five in Australia in 1980. In 2003, the album was ranked number 257 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was originally certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in December 1978. In 1984, when it was certified triple platinum, Nelson was the highest-grossing concert act in the United States. In 2002, the album was certified quintuple platinum. 
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Not too shabby for an album that some "observers predicted ... would ruin his career", eh?
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'Orange Coast' praised Nelson's performance of the standards: "Willie Nelson is perhaps the finest male singer in Country music [...] his phrasing and sense of understated drama have caused him to be compared with the best jazz singers. [...] 'Stardust' [is] a pleasurable showcase of his considerable artistry as a vocalist. 
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Nelson uses a variety of music styles to create his own distinctive blend of country music, a hybrid of jazz, pop, blues, rock and folk. His "unique sound", which uses a "relaxed, behind-the-beat singing style and gut-string guitar", and his "nasal voice and jazzy, off-center phrasing", has been responsible for his wide appeal. 
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You know this concept of contemporary music stars like Linda Ronstadt and Rod Stewart putting their stamp on Pop Standards? Well, this is where that idea got its start. Take it away, 
Wee Wrinkled Willie: 
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WILLIE NELSON – 'SEPTEMBER SONG' 
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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN
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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome EVERYONE to vote for their favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other. (NOTE: Comment Moderation is activated. All submitted comments that do not transgress "Ye Olde Comment Policy" will be posted as soon as possible. Thanks for taking the time to comment.) 
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After voting here, I suggest - actually I insist - you pop over to the blogs of the other 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' participants to see which songs they have chosen and vote there also. (If their ‘BOTB’ blog bits aren’t posted yet, pour yourself two shots of ‘Grand Marnier’ over ice – do it twice – and then return to their blogsto vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.) 
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Voice Your Vote @ ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘DISCCONNECTED’ by clicking HERE.
@ 'A WRITER'S LIFE IN PROGRESS' by clicking HERE.
@ ‘CREATIVE OUTLET OF STRATPLAYER’ by clicking HERE.
@ 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE. 
@ 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ALEX J. CAVANAUGH' by clicking HERE. 
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As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month to post my own votes and announce the winners in the comment sections. 
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy 
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YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.

Monday, September 1, 2014

'BATTLE OF THE BANDS: 2014, SEPTEMBER 1' (Or, 'MANFRED MANN VS. MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND')

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Republican Vs. Democrat, Male Vs. Female, War Vs. Peace, Light Vs. Dark, Good Vs. Evil, Man Vs. Machine, Love Vs. Hate, Dog Vs. Cat, Sun Vs. Moon, Brain Vs. Brawn, Oscar Vs. Grammy, Angel Vs. Demon, Laurel Vs. Hardy, Beer Vs. Wine, TV Vs. Radio, Pitcher Vs. Batter, Paper Vs. Plastic, Reality Vs. Fantasy, Yeshua Vs. Beelzebub, Conservative Vs. Liberal, You Vs. Me, House Vs. Senate, Offense Vs. Defense, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Spy Vs. Spy, Fischer Vs. Spassky, W.C. Fields Vs. Sobriety, Harold Gimpy, Jr. Vs. Sheldon J. Pismire, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Islam Vs. Everything, Singer Vs. Singer, Band Vs. Band...
. 
THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (‘BOTB’) 
.
.
Shoop-Shooby –
Shooby-duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah –
Buh-Doo-Wah!
.
Yes, it’s time once again for ‘Battle Of The Bands’ (‘BOTB’)
.
Alright, let’s get on it...
.
EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
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MUSIQ QUIZ: Who wrote the song that included the following lines in a verse?:
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A cat’s meow and a cow’s moo
I can recite ’em all
Just tell me where it hurts yuh, honey
And I’ll tell you who to call

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If you guessed Bob Dylan or Tom Waits, give yourself a pat on the back! The correct answer is Bob Dylan, but Tom Waits is worth half a point because he's probably the only other songwriter who "might" have written that verse.
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All of my high school years were spent at "Samohi". A lot of famous folks have come out of that school - at least 8 of them were there during my 3 years (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Monica_High_School).
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I was involved in the Theatre Department (got the year-end awards for 'Best Body' and 'Shyest' - when did those two ever go together before or since?) I was on the Varsity Wrestling team and I played football with Dennis Smith (later with the Denver Broncos) and with Rod Allen (later drafted by the Chicago White Sox and who played on the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers team).
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Wackypedia sez this about Rod Allen:
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He hit a pair of home runs against the Seibu Lions in the 1991 Japan Series and set a Japanese regular season record with four home runs in four consecutive at bats during his time in the league. He is infamous for charging the mound after Kazuhiko Daimon from the Yokohama Taivo Whales hit him in the back with a pitch, and subsequently chasing the pitcher across the entire field with both teams' benches in tow. 
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I know you're dying to see that, and I believe in the slogan "Give The Peoples What They Want", so here it is:
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MLkIwnQIw4
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But what I enjoyed most while at "Samohi" was the 'Rock Poetry' class I took my senior year in 1977. It was in that class where I first learned about the great band Traffic, and where I was seriously introduced to the songwriting of Bob Dylan, particularly his album 'Blood On The Tracks' and the recordings from 'The Basement Tapes' with the band The Band.
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Basement_Tapes
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The Basement Tapes” consisted of songs that Dylan and The Band recorded while he was recuperating from a motorcycle accident. They were not released as an album until 1975, but for years bootleg copies of the songs had circulated.
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Apparently the British group MANFRED MANN ('Do Wah Diddy Diddy') heard the song 'QUINN THE ESKIMO (THE MIGHTY QUINN)' on a bootleg recording and cut a cover of it which they released. In 1968 their cover of this mostly unknown Dylan original climbed all the way to #10 on the Billboard music chart.
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It is believed by many that Dylan's inspiration for the song was a 1960 movie called 'The Savage Innocents' in which actor Anthony Quinn played the part of an Eskimo.
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'QUINN THE ESKIMO (THE MIGHTY QUINN)'
Manfred Mann
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This Top 10 hit starts out with a flute intro, and has a very Folk music feeling to it. There is background "ahhh-ing" and the final verse is included but it's altered, excising the "Cat's Meow" and the "Cow's Moo".
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GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
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'QUINN THE ESKIMO (THE MIGHTY QUINN)'
Manfred Mann's Earth Band
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Recorded live for their 1978 album 'WATCH', it has a very orchestral-like beginning. (It leaves out entirely the final "Cat's Meow / Cow's Moo" verse from the Dylan original.) There are multiple tempo shifts and midway there is some synthesizer / electric guitar interplay; toward the end the synthesizer mimics the flute sound found in the intro to the "original cover" of the Manfred Mann studio recording. Overall, this is Manfred Mann's Earth Band's "ProgRock" take on this song. It's definitely BIGGER-sounding, but is it "better-sounding"? That's what you are here to help us decide:
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. 
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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN
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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome EVERYONE to vote for their favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other. (NOTE: Comment Moderation is activated. All submitted comments that do not transgress "Ye Olde Comment Policy" will be posted as soon as possible. Thanks for taking the time to comment.)
.
After voting here, I suggest - actually I insist - you pop over to the blogs of the other 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' participants to see which songs they have chosen and vote there also. (If their ‘BOTB’ blog bits aren’t posted yet, pour yourself two shots of ‘Grand Marnier’ over ice – do it twice – and then return to their blogsto vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)
. 
Voice Your Vote @ ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ by clicking HERE. 
@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE. 
@ ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ by clicking HERE. 
@ ‘DISCCONNECTED’ by clicking HERE. 
@ 'A WRITER'S LIFE IN PROGRESS' by clicking HERE. 
@ ‘CREATIVE OUTLET OF STRATPLAYER’ by clicking HERE. 
@ 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE. 
@ 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING' by clicking HERE.
.
As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month to post my own votes and announce the winners in the comment sections.
. 
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
. 
YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.