BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile)”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

It’s back! The Battle of the Bands has officially returned to The Sound of One Hand Typing!

A week ago last Tuesday, I featured Argentine saxophonist Gato Barbieri on my weekly Two For Tuesday, and played two songs from his 1976 album Caliente!. One of the songs was “Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile),” a song that Carlos Santana had written for his 1976 album Amigos. This sparked the interest of Stephen T. McCarthy, the person who came up with the Battle of the Bands idea, who said…

Good choices, JOHN! I always dug that ‘Caliente!’ album, and over the years I toyed with the idea of using Gato’s ‘Europa’ against the Santana original in BOTB. I’ve always shied away from it, though, figuring it would be a landslide victory for Carlos.

My response was…

There are a few videos of Carlos and Gato playing “Europa” together. It’s pretty amazing. Actually, I think you’d be surprised in a BotB between the two of them. But that’s up to you.

And he said…

It’s definitely a Rock and guitar-centric crowd, so I think Carlos and his guitar would pretty well clobber Gato and his saxophone. But, hey, if you like the idea of that match-up, consider it all yours. My gift to you to use whenever you want. Me, I’m too a-skeered to try and pull that one off.

You know what they say about fools rushing in where angels fear to tread, right?

Here’s Gato’s version.

Here’s Carlos’s.

And, just to make it interesting, here are Carlos and Gato together.

So, now it’s up to you. Give the three versions a listen, decide which you like the best, and vote for it in the comments, along with a brief explanation as to why you thought that was best. Then, stop by Stephen’s blog, where you’ll find his latest Battle of the Bands, as well as links to the other regular BotB participants (look in the right-hand column on his page, a scroll or two down). Vote in as many Battles as you can, and make your voice be heard. You needn’t be a contestant to vote, just someone with a reasonably good pair of ears and a few minutes to spare.

The lines are now open, and will be until next Saturday, when I announce the winner. To Carlos and Gato, “¡Buena suerte!

11 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile)”

  1. First of all your clip for Santana says it’s unavailable. I found this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot6pSrKT1oc

    This is a great song. Gato is a cool cat who can play a mean sax. However, for mean the gravelly wail of the sax doesn’t tap into my vision of how the song should sound. The smooth thoughtful playing of Carlos captures the essence of what this song is–his solo guitar with the tasteful back-up. All versions are outstanding, but I like the second Carlos only performance.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  2. Very interesting Battle, JOHN. This is quite possibly the first time in BOTB history where someone put two musicians up against each other and then offered a third option with the two musicians performing the song together. Cool ‘outside-the-box’ approach.

    And this Battle is more of a challenge to me than I’d anticipated, because here’s the funny thing: When I thought of putting Gato against Carlos, I ALWAYS automatically assumed I’d use Santana’s LIVE version from the ‘Moonflower’ album. That’s the version I grew up listening to and I prefer it to the studio recording. (I just came from listening to the ‘Moonflower’ version at YouTube and found quite a few commenters there saying that they also prefer that particular live version to the original studio take.)

    For me, if it’s Gato versus Santana’s ‘Moonflower’ recording of ‘Europa’, my vote goes to Carlos. But Santana’s studio rendition versus Gato’s, now that changes things for me.

    As far as instruments in general go, I prefer the tenor sax to the electric guitar. And I love Gato’s emotionally intense style of guttural playing. So I think, in this particular match-up, I’ll… go with Gato.

    And I actually prefer both of these guys by themselves than together. I don’t feel they meshed quite right in the duet, with Gato overplaying and the tune seeming to lose much of its fluidity. It’s a haunting, Spiritually moving melody that I think got lost in the duet. There’s often a great deal of truth to the old maxim that “Less Is More”.

    Again, to my own surprise, I am voting for Gato (because he’s not going up against Santana’s live version from ‘Moonflower’) but, regardless, this was a super-tight decision for me to make. On another day, in a different mood, I could vote the other way. Great Battle! I went back and forth several times in my mind, and I’m STILL not sure I’m getting this right. Toughest BOTB vote I’ve had to cast in recent memory! Listened to both solo versions three times each.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents ‘Battle Of The Bands’

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  3. Wow, what a cool battle! I like the “twist” of the third contestant being both. LOL. Not for the faint of heart…

    But GATO is going to get my vote this time around, buddy. Nice to have you back…and I’m back, too!

    Hugs,
    Cherdo

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  4. I was going to go with Gato first which surprised me because, well, it’s Santana! The third one just made me in awe at how different they both are but they both seem to gel for me and I could easily see myself in the audience lis5ening to this. Both are superb and give credit to each other by letting the other perform their magic. They went off on their own tangent but it reminded me of He drip playing the National anthem…he went off on his own but it is stellar so my vote goes to the 3rd.

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  5. Whoa! This is a difficult decision. Both are amazing musicians and I’ll probably change my mind a few times between Carlos and Gato. So, I’ll hurry up and vote for Carlos. What a fun BotB!

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  6. John,

    Oh, wow! How do I vote? I by far prefer Gato and Carlos separately. When they came together to play the song it just lost its feel. I can give my vote to either guy which is surprising because I was sure that Carlos would be it for me but that wasn’t the case. I think their styles are so different that my pick is going to rely heavily on the mood I’m in and at this wee hour I believe the tender smooth sax sound reels me in, so please give my vote to Gato! Excellent showdown!

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