So, last week I chose the song “Cry Me A River,” a torch song popularized by Julie London in the 1950’s and recorded many times since, including the contestants from last week, Joe Cocker and Michael Bublé. Cocker’s version was done during the “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour in 1969-70 and was a blues-rock version arranged by Leon Russell, the guy in the green top hat in the video. Bublé’s was a Big Band version, sung with the appropriate Vegas-style bombast. I purposely didn’t give you any obvious choices, including Julie London’s original (which would have been my choice, as it is a classic, both for Ms. London’s vocal and Barney Kessel’s remarkable guitar playing) and Ella Fitzgerald’s version from the early 1960’s (she would have sung the song in Pete Kelly’s Blues, had they decided to keep it). I could have put Julie up against Ella with this, but chose not to; both women are remarkble singers, but their versions are not that different from each other.
This appeared, from many of the comments I received, to have become a contest between “NOT Joe Cocker” and “NOT Michael Bublé”. In the end, Not-Cocker beat Not-Bublé by almost a 2-1 margin. The tallies:
My own choice wouldn’t have made a difference, but I would have chosen Joe Cocker’s version. It was the first version I heard, he was backed by some of the best sidemen of the late 1960’s-early 1970’s (Leon Russell, Chris Stainton, Bobby Keys, Jim Keltner, Carl Radle) and a number of fine singers (including Rita Coolidge and Claudia Lennear), and it was an interesting take on the song. But I don’t give myself a vote.
Okay! So, we’ll see you back here on the first of next month. Rock on!