BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Poinciana”

I was listening to Smooth Jazz 24/7 today and they played Bobby Lyle’s cover of “Poinciana.”

It was written by Nat Simon with lyrics by Buddy Bernier in 1936. It’s based on “La Canción del Árbol,” a Cuban song, and has become a standard. One of the better-known covers is by jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, but there are also covers that feature the lyrics, including one by The Manhattan Transfer and the two we’re featuring in today’s battle.

The Four Freshmen The Four Freshmen covered the song in 1952.

Vulfpeck Vulfpeck is a funk band founded in 2011 by four guys at the University of Michigan. They do play instruments, but in their cover they’re accompanied only by bass player Joe Dart. They have a rather unique approach to this song, one that would make Peter Frampton proud.

So, you know the drill: Listen to the two covers, decide which you like better, and vote for it by leaving me a comment telling me which you liked better and why. Then, go over to Stephen’s blog, vote in his battle, then follow the links to the other BotB participants (they’re in the right-hand column with a heading that says “‘BATTLE OF THE BANDS’ PARTICIPANTS”) and vote in their battles. You don’t have to be a participant to vote in these battles, and all of us would appreciate it a lot if you did. I’ll announce the winner of today’s battle next Monday, October 8, so be sure and get your votes in before then.

The lines are now open. Good luck to The Four Freshmen and Vulfpeck!

11 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Poinciana”

  1. John,

    Vulfpeck is a bit too different with their cover for me to really enjoy this morning. I think any other time I’m sure it would make me laugh. This early in the morning, I was totally on board with the soothing sound of The Four Freshmen. How dreamy to the ears they are!

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  2. I have to say I don’t care for either. I don’t like those “flat” notes and am not one for the “barbershop quartets” but I will give it to Vulfpeck for the funny take.

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  3. I have (or had) the Ahmad Jamal cassette with this song–it’s a great version. This is another one of those songs I’ve heard all my life.

    The Vulfpeck version is a kind of cool novelty, but it would probably wear thin on me after a few listens.

    I vote for the traditional sound of The Four Freshmen.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  4. I love ‘POINCIANA’, and I also used it in a BOTB installment, but with two different artists, a little while back ago.

    One thing about your Battles, JOHN, is that I am almost always sure to like your song selection.

    The Four Freshmen (the primary influence on one of my all-time biggest favorites, The Beach Boys) were terrific! I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Four Freshmen recording I disliked, and they get my vote here.

    The Vulfmen — I dug the bass, and I would possibly like a number of their recordings, but a whole song of Voice Box is too much for me. It’s like synthesizer – or garlic – I think it needs to be used sparingly.

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

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  5. Interesting battle here. I’m going to have to go with the traditional quartet from the 50s. The unconventional Vulfpeck is interesting and quirky…for a minute. And then that one dude’s feet are dirty. Well, his one foot that I saw. That gave me major icks…
    Please give my vote to the Four Freshmen…

    (Hey John, you can use the Vulfpeck one for my upcoming 4M theme on the 22nd…) 🙂

    Have a good week,

    Michele at Angels Bark

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  6. I wanted to force myself to vote for Vulfpeck for the sheer fun of it.

    But the problem is…I like the sweet, smooth sound of The Four Freshman too much and I gotta go with my gut.

    Nice contrast, though – pretty cool battle.

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