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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.]

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

2017, AUGUST 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, JIMMY DORSEY VERSUS HERB ALPERT)

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Yes, it's the 15th of the month and that means that it's time once again for 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB').
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Alright, let's get on it. Let's get ON this thing!...
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I associate the color orange with August because the eighth month is "the dog days of Summer" when it's hot... and the heat has gotten really old! It's like the Sun has gone from "happy yellow" to "just-leave-me-the-hell-alone orange". Also, those of us who were born in August are Leos, and lions are orange -- I ain't lyin' (sorry):
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And tangerines are not oranges but they're orange. And this brings us to my August BOTB song.
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I've always loved the melody of 'TANGERINE' and have been wanting to BOTB the song for quite awhile. Once, a couple years ago, I checked YouTube for recordings of it but didn't find any match-up that really appealed to me. But on August 1st I took a second look and then found what I felt were a good pair of Tangerines. Mmmm.... a pair of tangerines. You know wot I mean? Or do you want a picture?
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Wackypedia sez:
"Tangerine" ... was written by Victor Schertzinger, the lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The song was published in 1941 and soon became a Jazz standard.
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It was introduced to a broad audience in the 1942 movie, 'The Fleet's In', produced by Paramount Pictures, directed by Schertzinger just before his death, and starring Dorothy Lamour, William Holden, Eddie Bracken, singer Cass Daley, and Betty Hutton in her feature film debut.
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The song portrays a fictitious South American woman with universally recognized allure: "When she dances by / señoritas stare / And caballeros sigh." 
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As one of Mercer's biographers explained the initial popularity: "Latin America, the one part of the world not engulfed in World War II, became a favorite topic for songs and films for Americans who wanted momentarily to forget about the conflagration."
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The most popular recorded version of the song was made by the performers who introduced it in the film: the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra with vocalists Helen O'Connell and Bob Eberly. ... The record first reached the Billboard charts on April 10, 1942, and lasted 15 weeks on the chart, including six weeks at #1.
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The tune was featured as background music in the films Double Indemnity (1944) and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984).
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In 1976, All In the Family gave a nod to the song in the episode "Archie's Operation", when Archie Bunker burst into it repeatedly to interrupt son-in-law Mike's efforts to help pay for Archie's surgery.
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Alright, our first competitor is the original #1 Big Band hit. Have a listen:
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Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra 
with Bob Eberly & Helen O'Connell
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Contestant #2 is Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. Their version appeared on the popular 1965 collection 'Whipped Cream & Other Delights', which any "confident heterosexual" male can tell you sported one of the greatest album covers of all time!
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"Confident Heterosexual" Old West Gunfight

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OK, and now for your consideration...
[COOL FUN FACT: Notice the sign at the very end of the Herb Alpert video paying tribute to Tommy Dorsey's original 'Tangerine' hit!]
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Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
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Question: Will Jimmy Dorsey And Friends Win This Battle?
MAGIC 8-BALL sez:   "Yes definitely"
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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome you (whether I know "you" or notto vote for your favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other. 

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 blogs to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)


Voice Your Vote...

@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING' by clicking HERE
@ 'JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE' by clicking HERE.

As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 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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Friday, July 21, 2017

BOTB RESULTS FOR 2017, JULY 15 (Or, NAT KING COLE VS. SPANKY AND OUR GANG)

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STMcC’s Vote On '2017, July 15th: Battle Of The Bands' (Or, 'Nat King Cole Versus Spanky & Our Gang') And The Final Tally:
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"HOLY LOW-VOTER TURNOUT, BATMAN!", this was Blowout City. If you want to revisit the Battleground, you'll find it HERE. Although the word "Battle" is a bit of an exaggeration. Minor Skirmish or Bitch-Slap would better describe it.

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Yeah, sure, I expected NAT KING COLE to win because, well, Nat King Cole. His name is legendary. Yup, I knew that Spanky & Our Gang (S&OG) were the underdogs in this contest, and yet I expected this to be much, much closer than it was. I figured that the majority of voters might never have heard of S&OG before, and that even most of those who knew of the group would never have heard their recording of 'STARDUST'.
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I expected Spanky's version of the song to turn a lot of heads and wow a lot of newbies. It didn't happen.
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As for my vote: Regardless of the fact that Nat King Cole was my Pa's favorite singer and he has used Nat's music numerous times to contact me from "the other side" of Earthly life, I am not a King Cole fan. Sure, he's a great crooner, but "crooning" is not my kind of music. (The only "crooners" I really dig are Johnny Mathis and Bobby Darin.)
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I think the S&OG version of 'STARDUST' is my #1 choice. The only one that comes close is Willie Nelson's rendition. To begin with, I love choral groups, and S&OG were one of my very favorites, alongside The Beach Boys and The 5th Dimension.
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Secondly, the vocal arrangement of 'STARDUST' by S&OG blows me away! It was so creative, so complex, and so unique that no matter how many times I hear it, it never fails to fascinate me.
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The bottom line, however, is that only Arlee Bird and John Holton heard this Battle the same way I did:
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Nat King Cole = 11 Votes
Spanky & Our Gang = 3 Votes

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A sad blowout for me, but the MAGIC 8-BALL seems to be getting its mojo back. (Must be those fresh electrolytes I spilled on it last week. ...Oh, wait. That was Bacardi 151.)
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My sincere thanks to all of you who participated. I'll be back for another BOTB installment on August 15th, and hopefully it will be more competitive than this one was.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Saturday, July 15, 2017

2017, JULY 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, NAT KING COLE VS. SPANKY AND OUR GANG)

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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, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Band Vs. Band...
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'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB')
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Yes, it's time once again for 'Battle Of The Bands' ('BOTB').
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Alright, let's get on it. Let's get ON this thing!...
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EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
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My Pa's favorite singer was NAT KING COLE. My Pa passed away on April 10, 1996. That was two years and four days after I had an unexpected encounter with Jesus Christ and became a [Maverick] Christian.

Since then, many times, my Pa has used the music of NAT KING COLE to let me know he's still alive and aware of what's going on in my life. But, ironically, the first time he did this, he was "technically" still alive:

Pa had contracted some very rare disorder and was in an Intensive Care Unit in a Phoenix hospital. I was working at a health food store in Phoenix when I got a phone call in which I was told that Pa had slipped into an unconscious state and that I should probably get to the hospital ASAP. I left work immediately and began the drive to the hospital. 

While on my way to the ICU, suddenly the NAT KING COLE recording of 'SMILE' was played on the radio station I was tuned to. (The lyrics to 'Smile' were penned by the silent film star Charlie Chaplin.) I instinctively knew that this song was a personal message to me from my Pa, whom I loved dearly.

My Pa passed over to the other side about two days later, and since then, he has repeatedly used NAT KING COLE songs to let me know that he's still around and that I should... "Smile". (That's a message I can't hear enough!)

Below are just two of the many stories I could tell, that are equally surprising, in which my Pa has contacted me through NAT KING COLE songs. I have edited, paraphrased, and heavily condensed these stories from a Dream / Spiritual Notebook I kept for many years. In other words, these stories are not from memory, but from notes I typed up at the time the events occurred:
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GOODNIKS  VS.  NO-GOODNIKS
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(Monday) Feb. 26, 2001
Dear Ol' Pa got through to me again tonight. For 2 or 3 weeks I've intended to rent the movie 'THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP', to see if I still hate it as much as I did when I saw it in the theatre in 1982. (I did.) 

While meditating Saturday or yesterday, I suddenly heard an Inner Voice say very clearly, "I will see you Monday". I didn't know what to make of this. WHO will see me Monday? 

For the first half of the day, I intently watched and analyzed EVERYTHING I saw and heard, expecting to have some sort of Divine experience. But as the day went on and nothing unusual happened, I kind of forgot about the message.

Tonight [*Monday*], I finally got around to watching 'THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP', and at one point in the movie, suddenly [*through a car radio, if I recall correctly*] the NAT KING COLE version of 'There Will Never Be Another You' was played. ... A day or two earlier, Pa -- from the "other side" -- knew that I would be watching that movie on Monday and that the soundtrack contained a Nat King Cole song, and so, in a sense, he and I would be meeting -- we would "see" each other.

... I wish he had simply told me to save the time and money and skip watching 'THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP'. [*Yes, I'm ALWAYS snarkastic -- even in my own personal notebooks!*]

Feb. 17, 1997
I had not attended the Tuesday night 'A Search For God' group meeting for 3 or 4 weeks. Despite lack of sleep and a grueling 13-hour work day, I decided to force myself to go.

On my way there, I inexplicably decided to change my car radio station from KAHM to KOY. I'd been listening to KAHM for at least 3 uninterrupted months when I was incomprehensibly compelled to change it.

At the meeting, during the closing group meditation, I finally -- after much struggling -- slipped into the meditative state. And I saw myself standing in place with a stream of very sparkling, powdery substance shooting up around me and over me in erratic, circular motions, and then falling back down, softly, all around and over me.

I thought to myself: What is this?
And then my mind, independent of my own thinking, answered: "STARDUST". I had no idea what that meant.

The group meditation came to a close and we all said our goodbyes and left. 

As I went to start my truck, I suddenly had the idea that I was about to "see" my Pa. I put it out of my mind quickly because it seemed so ridiculous. How was I going to see my departed Pa? Was he going to appear in the truck's windshield or something like that? 

I started the truck (which my Pa owned until he passed away) and I drove several blocks when SUDDENLY the melody of the song, which had been playing at the moment I started the truck's engine, registered in my mind. 

The song was 'STARDUST'. (Songwriter Hoagy Carmichael's most famous song.)

The singer was NAT KING COLE.

Why had I decided to force myself to go to the 'A Search For God' group meeting, despite being exhausted and having missed the previous 3 or 4 meetings?

While driving to the meeting, why did I suddenly feel compelled to change the radio station I'd been listening to for months on end?

Why did I find myself mentally enveloped in "stardust" during the group meditation?

Why was I inexplicably overwhelmed with the feeling that I was about to "see" my Pa?

And why was KOY playing the Nat King Cole song 'STARDUST' at the moment I started up my Pa's old truck? 

Coincidences? Yeah, sure. Right. OKfine. Whatever ya say.

And that brings us to today's BOTB contest. Please evaluate the following recordings as individuals. Don't let the preceding stories color the way you vote. This Battle has NUTTIN' to do with my Pa, my Spiritual life, or your beliefs. It has NUTTIN' to do with the images in the videos. It is about NUTTIN' more than this: Which recording of this song do you, yourself, personally, as an independently thinking, intellectually honest person, like better? Because it makes no difference to me where your vote lands. I just want it to be honest! You know? Like, as in, "HONEST"?

Question: "Will Nat King Cole win this Battle?"
MAGIC 8-BALL sez:  "As I see it, yes"
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GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
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STARDUST by Nat King Cole
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzRWwQK5OQ0

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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN
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STARDUST by Spanky And Our Gang

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Oops! Sorry. Wrong "Spanky And Our Gang".
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I actually meant the great but mostly forgotten vocal group who scored the Top 20 hit 'Like To Get To Know You' in 1968, and who were better'n The Mamas & The Papas:
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyWYeCJQB6E

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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome you (whether I know "you" or notto vote for your favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other. 

After voting here, check out the other ongoing Battles and vice your voice... vote your vice... voice your vote...


@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ 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
@ 'JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE' by clicking HERE.

As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 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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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

BOTB RESULTS FOR JUNE 15, 2017 (Or, PHIL COLLINS VS. MERRY CLAYTON VS. FRANKY PEREZ)

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STMcC’s Vote On '2017, June 15th: Battle Of The Bands' (Or, 'Phil Collins Vs. Merry Clayton Vs. Franky Perez') And The Final Tally:
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Hokey-Smoke! I have a "SONGS TO BOTB SOMEDAY" list with so many match-ups on it, and many of them have been on the list since Day 1 of Battle Of The Bands. But sometimes an idea will occur to me and I will run with it on a whim, rather than using one of my match-ups that have been waiting patiently for years on my BOTB list.
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This was one of those instances where I went with an idea that popped into my mind suddenly -- inspired by the upcoming changing of the BOTB schedule for this blog. (From now on, one Battle per month, occurring on the 15th.) My mind jumped to the Bob Dylan classic, 'THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'', and I went to see what the potential cover versions had to offer, settling on three distinctively different treatments of the song.
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I figured that due to "name brand" familiarity, PHIL COLLINS was probably the favorite to win the Battle, with the all-Spanish version by FRANKY PEREZ being the underdog. I thought all 3 covers of this song were quite good and so I hoped for a tight race. But the Battle turned out even better'n I'd hoped for!
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After a total of 12 votes had been cast, the score was 4 to 4 to 4. You just can't even hope for a closer contest than that! With 16 votes in, Franky still had 4, while Phil Collins and MERRY CLAYTON had 6 each. And you know what that means? It means that MY OWN VOTE gets to determine the winner! This is my very favorite of ALL Battle Of The Bands potential outcomes. I love it when I get the final say! You can't beat that!
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Well, as I stated, I enjoy all three recordings, but my favorite is definitely that Black Gospel version by MERRY CLAYTON With The Brothers And Sisters Of Los Angeles. I truly dig that Gospel style and I own a fair number of albums in that genre -- heck, I've got 5 discs just by Mahalia Jackson alone!
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Phil Collins = 6 votes
Merry Clayton = 7 votes
Franky Perez = 4 votes

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For a BOTB contest that I just put together quickly on the spur of the moment, this one turned out to be a true gem!
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As always, I thank every one of you who took the time to listen and submit a vote. Y'all made this a really fun Battle for me! And I hope to see you all here again on JULY 15th for my next BOTB installment here at this blog. Thanks!
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

2017, JUNE 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, PHIL COLLINS VS. MERRY CLAYTON VS. FRANKY PEREZ)

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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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'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB')
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Shoop-Shooby -
Shooby-Duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah -
Buh-Doo-Wah!
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Yes, it's time once again for 'Battle Of The Bands' ('BOTB').
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Alright, let's get on it. Let's get ON this thing!...
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EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
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FIRST, A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:
For those of you who did not see my previous blog bit, beginning with THIS Battle, THIS blog is going to a new BOTB schedule: From now on, I will be constructing just 1 BOTB contest per month. My Battles will always appear on the 15th of every month, with my own vote noted and the Battle Result being announced on the 21st of each month.
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However, I want those BOTBers who decide to retain the old schedule of two Battles per month (the 1st and 15th) to know that if you make me aware of your First-Of-The-Month BOTB installments, I will continue to vote on them just as if I also had a Battle in progress at that same time (although I won't because the TIMES they have a-changed!)
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To commemorate "the changing times" of most BOTB participants who have decided to reduce their BOTB involvement to once-a-month, I decided to use the classic Bob Dylan song 'THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGING' in this round. It's unquestionably one of the most quoted songs of all-time and played a large part in Dylan being (justly) recognized as the greatest American song lyricist.
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Wackypedia sez:
"The Times They Are a-Changin'" is a song written by Bob Dylan and released as the title track of his 1964 album of the same name. ... Ever since its release the song has been influential to people's views on society, with critics noting the general yet universal lyrics as contributing to the song's lasting message of change. Dylan has occasionally performed it in concert. The song has been covered by many different artists ... [It] was ranked number 59 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
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(But then again, what would those tards at 'Rolling Stone' know?!).

This is a 3-Way Battle with each version being radically different in style from each other -- from Rock to Gospel to Spanish...
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GOODNIKS  VS.  NO-GOODNIKS
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PHIL COLLINS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reyjhbOcm04

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GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
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MERRY CLAYTON w/ The Brothers & Sisters Of Los Angeles
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2haiLrFRJqY

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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMA
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FRANKY PEREZ & Los Guardianes del Bosque
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c80OYHIcgFc

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Question:  Will someone win this Battle?
Magic 8-Ball:  "As I See It, Yes"
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That, almost certainly, means it will be a tie.
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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome you (whether I know "you" or notto vote for your favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other. 

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 blogs to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)


Voice Your Vote...

@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 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
@ 'JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.

As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bit on the 21st of each month to post my own vote and announce the winner in the comment section.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Sunday, June 11, 2017

HAUNTING OLD VIRGINIA CITY (Or, STINKY HULA GIRLS)

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It had been so long since I'd been on a real vacation that when I decided to drive up from Reno to Virginia City to spend the night, I was going to do whatever I damn well pleased, and the co$t? I would pay it no never mind. In the 2 years and 2 months I've lived here in Reno, I've driven up to Virginia City 6 or 7 times. But this time I decided to "get a room".

Why Virginia City, Nevada? Because that's home to me. As a recently freed Black slave and preacher of God's Word in the late 1800s, I moved to Virginia City. I may even be buried there. Am I joking? What do you think?

FUN FACT: Virginia City is where Samuel Clemens first began writing professionally (as a newspaper journalist) and where he became "Mark Twain". 

I stayed at the Silver Queen Hotel. No TV. No A/C. 1800s, baby!


And in the saloon at the Silver Queen, I paid 4 bits to the Ol' Miner to tell me my fortune.
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"I see a trip ahead in your near future and a great deal of money. Your life may take you to many distant lands, but you will always return safely again. I see much adventure for you! There will be a special letter awaiting you in the mail. Your future looks bright and promising. A bald man brings you luck, but beware of a young woman in a red sports car. Wearing a green stone will bring you peace of mind."

Got it! While in foreign lands, I'll be lucky if I can stay away from bald, red-headed women in green sports cars!

I'm reminded of the fortune I got in a cookie at the Hong Kong restaurant in L.A.'s Chinatown in the 1980s:

"Your road to glory will be rocky, but fulfilling."

OK, the "rocky" part has been fulfilled. Now when is the "fulfilling" part fulfilled?

After an unfulfilling breakfast (good coffee though!) I had a great meditation session at Miner's Park. Then it was time for some "Evidence", some "Clam Chowder", some "Rub-Of-The-Brush". In other words, it was time to wet my whistle with liquid refreshment at the Virginia City Brewery & Taphouse.
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Sadly, the brewery is no longer brewing. They're open but pouring beers from other brewers, and even their own 601 India Pale Ale is not their own. It's being made for them by another brewer and it's not the same.
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Then it was time to stroll up my favorite street in America to see what be happenin'.
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C  STREET,  VIRGINIA  CITY,  NEVADA
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In that photo above, if you look at the hillside in the background, toward the left you can see one somewhat oblong-shaped boulder by itself, clinging to the mountain. In all the years I've been coming up to Virginia City (the first time circa 1972) I've wanted to hike up to that boulder. Well, this time, on my last day, I "fulfilled" that rocky climb.

At times, I was down on all fours going up the mountain, hoping I wouldn't put a foot down on a rattlesnake or a hand down on a poisonous spider. I was surprised to find just how large and non-oblong-shaped that boulder really is. It's not a boulder at all, but an outcropping of dark rock. I also found the remains of an old 1800s mine up there.

In coming back down from the "boulder" I discovered a couple of paths that I could easily walk. That is to say, all of that "down on all fours" to get up there had been unnecessary. Don't ya hate it when that happens?!
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On a couple of prior trips to Virginia City, I hiked up to the tip top of Mount Davidson above the letter "V" in this photo: 
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This time I was determined to explore that "boulder" at the other end of town.
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Again, I took a ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad to Gold Hill and back. I highly recommend it! The conductor / narrator has a wonderful sense of humor and relates a lot of interesting historical information on the 35 minute round-trip.
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In the early evening, I walked the one mile down C Street to Gold Hill to have a few drinks at one of my all-time favorite bars, The Gold Hill Hotel Saloon, founded in 1859. 
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And for the first time, I added a dollar of my own to their stapled collection on the ceiling and door.
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At the saloon, I had a shot of Beam & a Beer, and then after that, two "Yellow Jacket" Margaritas (which includes Grand Marnier). I like to live dangerously! Then I had to stumble up that steep, narrow, zig-zagging road with no sidewalks back to Virginia City. This should be attempted only by professionals! (God watches out for professional drunks like me.)
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The next morning I had a good breakfast at the Delta Cafe and then another excellent meditation session at Miner's Park. After that, I paid my respects to Virginia City's dead:
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I was originally planning to leave in the late afternoon or early evening on Friday, but I just wasn't ready to go yet. And since I'd promised myself that this time I'd pay no never mind to the co$t of anything, I checked in at the supposedly haunted Sugarloaf Mountain Motel. I've stayed here many times in the past...
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...but the first time was in 1986. My buddy Pooh and I were on an extensive road trip -- heading to Virginia City by way of Cheyenne, Wyoming. When we got to Reno, I wanted to stay one night but Pooh said, "I think we should keep going. I have a bad feeling about this place!" But would I listen? NO-oooooo! We got so drunk that we couldn't even find our motel afterwards. We were aimlessly wandering the streets of Reno, and nobody helps drunken cowboys in Reno! (The full story of that night and the following day and night is pretty damned hilarious, but I'm not telling it here.)

Well, somehow, "somehow" we woke up the next morning in our motel room -- neither of us could remember finding it the night before -- and we had hellacious hangovers! We walked to Harold's Club (now Harrah's) and I tried the "hair of the dog" cure -- one 7&7 strictly for medicinal purposes. Then we packed our shit stuffs and started driving toward Virginia City.

But while we were going up Geiger Grade, I could feel that 7&7 coming up, too. I told Pooh to pull over, and somewhere on the side of that mountain, I spilled one 7&7 and my soul. (I later memorialized that event and feeling in a poem titled 'Trying To Up-Chuck Your Life On Geiger Grade'.)

In Virginia City, we checked into the Sugarloaf Mountain Motel, and I had the worst hangover of my life. Imagine the worst hangover YOU'VE ever had. Now multiply it a godzillion and six times!! Now you're in the ballpark. It was probably about 10:00 AM and my day was already done. I spent the entire day in bed, on my back, staring at the popcorn ceiling.
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Pooh, meanwhile, went out drinking on C Street. Sometime that night, he came stumblin' & bumblin' into our room, fell face-forward onto his bed, kicked off one shoe and then passed out. I spent the whole night waiting for that other shoe to drop. 

To this day, that was the worst hangover of my drinking career. Experiencing something like that today would, I'm sure, literally kill me. Hell, it almost killed me even in my youth of '86.

Friday night, I went back to the Gold Hill Hotel Saloon for a couple more of those "Yellow Jacket" Margaritas. Upon entering, the first thing I said to the bartender was, "OK, I was a bit wobbly at the end of Round One. But I survived the round. Now, let's get it on! I'm here answering the bell for Round Two!"

The place was packed and Squeek Steele was there playing for the Hotel's New Ownership Party. Squeek is the "Guinness World Record Holder for most songs performed by memory on piano".

While at the bar, some woman was clearly showing extra interest in me. Then later I went into The Great Room where Squeek was playing, and I was there for only a few minutes when another woman walked past, tapped me on the arm and said to a group of women at a nearby table, "Now that he's here, our photos will be much better!" I laughed. But, seriously, can someone e'splain this to me? When I was young and lean, females rarely seemed to notice me at all. But now, at the age of Heinz-57 -- old, grey and softer -- the women around me are like flies on shit! ...Wait! That doesn't sound quite right.

Squeek Steele is the composer of the hauntingly beautiful 'Virginia City Waltz'. Something about that melody really stirs my soul:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-X1ZLb2T0Q


Just as I was about to walk up and request a song, Squeek got up from the piano and took an appetizer plate to a long table where a lot of her friends were sitting. So I walked up and slipping a $5. bill next to her plate, I said, "Excuse me, Ma'am. I have to leave now, but... later, would you play Ain't Misbehavin'? 

Squeek said: "I'll play it RIGHT NOW!" And she started to get up from the table.

But I waved her back down and replied: "No, no! Take your time. I don't need to hear it. Just so long as I know you played it." A number of people Ooh'd and Ahh'd as the mysterious cowboy (me) walked out of the Gold Hill Hotel and into the rainy, windy night.

(And speaking of wind and rain -- I'm sure glad I thought to bring my all-time favorite shirt with me. It came in handy, and Virginia City is probably the ONLY PLACE I would ever wear it in public these days. Somehow, it still seems right for Virginia City...)
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["Can You Wear Me Now?"]

The thing is, the first time I ever stayed in the supposedly haunted Gold Hill Hotel, I was with "The Countess", and AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' was "our song". Especially THIS version of it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I3P8uqCG_c


Another thing I did was take the Old Washoe Club haunted tour.
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THEY  SAY  SOMETIMES  THE  CREEPY  DOLL  ROCKS  HER CHAIR  BY  HERSELF.
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I was undoubtedly the only person on the tour who wasn't interested in the spooky stuffs. I was simply interested in hearing the history of the building and getting to see the previously off-limits 2nd and 3rd floor rooms of "The Millionaire's Club".

But if YOU are into all the supernatural haunting stories, you will find YouTube is filled with videos about the Old Washoe Club. Things like these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAeRxu5bz9U


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCEjsQMPeDE


Anyway, I had a terrific trip! "Chuck The Truck" ran great and I got to do and see every single thing I wanted! Definitely spent too much money but I stuck to my guns and, for once, I didn't let the co$t of anything interfere with what I wanted to do or buy.

In closing, as a veteran of a great many road trips, let me pass along to you a few tips that have always paid off well for me:

1: When packing for a trip, ALWAYS include a pair of good earplugs (preferably the highest Noise Reduction Rating of 33dB). Noisy neighbors in the hotel / motel won't be an issue if you can block out their partying / overly loud TV set, etc. Because I always travel with good earplugs, I have slept like a babe at times when my traveling companion(s) suffered from noisy neighbors or hallway activity late at night.

2: Bring along 3 or 4 safety pins. In a lot of hotels / motels, the curtains don't close sunlight tight. If you think you might want to sleep in and not be awakened by sunbeams sneaking in and/or reflecting off a mirror and into your face, safety pins will close up any curtain gaps.

3: Pack a plastic kitchen garbage can liner (or larger plastic trash bag for longer trips). You can put your dirty laundry into the bag, tie it closed, and even store it in your suitcase without any odor anywhere.

4: Always pack one extra shirt, pair of socks, and boxers (or "unmentionables" if you're a lady). You just never know when something might happen or plans change. If you've got "one more of those things" than you thought you'd really need, it could save ya.

A perfect example was this trip of mine. I only expected to need one change of clothing, but I brought along an extra shirt and boxers anyway, and I was sure glad to have 'em when I decided to stay an extra night and checked into the Sugarloaf Motel.

However, I accidentally neglected to include that one extra pair of socks. I thought I had put them in my suitcase. So, on Day 3, when I hiked up to that "fake boulder" on the side of the mountain, I was wearing my Hula Girl socks for the second day in a row. Damn stinky!
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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