Monday’s Music Moves Me: Crossover Duets

I have to admit, this gave me a little trouble, and I was sorely tempted to just put up the playlist of the 1994 album Rhythm, Country, and Blues, in which country and R&B artists team up to prove that the two genres are actually compatible, and be done with it. Then I thought, nah, this has to be easier than I’m making it, and came up with ten songs (three from the aforementioned album) that feature cross-genre duets.

  1. Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson, “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” This is a classic duet between the country Willie and the Latin-pop Julio. You’d think it’d be a disaster, and you’d be wrong: they sound fantastic together. Willie, I’ve learned, is a lot more than a country singer, taking on standards and doing a more than respectable job.
  2. Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole, “Unforgettable” Natalie is singing with her late father. Not really cross-genre, but still an interesting concept.
  3. Philip Bailey and Phil Collins, “Easy Lover” R&B meets “lite rawk,” and the result is pretty amazing. Both, incidentally, are drummers.
  4. Joni Mitchell with Jaco Pastorius (bass), Pat Metheny (guitar), Michael Brecker (tenor sax), Lyle Mays (keyboards) & Don Alias (drums), “Free Man In Paris” Joni Mitchell, a legendary folk-rock performer, is joined by five of the best jazz musicians of our time. You have to admit they sound good together, although there’s a lot less jazz here than you’d expect.
  5. Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, “Girl From The North Country” A legend of folk meets a legend of country in this duet from Johnny’s show in the ’60’s.
  6. Donovan with Bobbie Gentry, “There Is A Mountain” Evidently Ms. Gentry, a country/pop/soul singer who wrote and sang “Ode To Billy Joe” and “Fancy,” had a TV show in the UK during the ’60’s (I don’t remember it airing here), and one night Donovan, famous for his psychedelic folk music, appeared, and the two of them sang Donovan’s song. Not bad, but not really great.
  7. David Cassidy and Glen Campbell, a medley of Everly Brothers songs We generally think of Glen Campbell as a country artist, but he was once a member of The Wrecking Crew, a group of LA session musicians who appeared on thousands of records in the ’60’s and ’70’s, including, I would think, some of The Partridge Family’s, so it’s not as farfetched that he and David Cassidy, a/k/a Keith Partridge, would sound good together. In fact, they sound great together. One wonders if the two of them are in Heaven playing together.
  8. Sam Moore and Conway Twitty, “Rainy Night In Georgia” I’ve been pulling this song out a lot lately, most recently in my tribute to Tony Joe White last week. This and the next two songs are from Rhythm, Country, and Blues. Here, we have Sam Moore, half of the legendary R&B duo Sam & Dave, and Conway Twitty, a legendary country singer, singing a song that was made famous by Brook Benton in 1970. Conway died shortly after recording this.
  9. Patti LaBelle and Travis Tritt, “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby” Had to include one with Travis, whose family once owned a few square miles of land in this area, including the land my house sits on. Here he’s matched with the incredible Patti LaBelle on a classic song by Isaac Hayes and David Porter, and the two of them knock it out of the park.
  10. Chet Atkins and Allen Toussaint, “Southern Nights” You don’t get more country than Chet Atkins, who as the head of RCA Records’ Nashville studio was responsible for “the Nashville Sound,” which replaced fiddles and steel guitars with strings and choruses (and was indirectly responsible for the creation of “the Bakersfield Sound,” which put the fiddles and steel guitars back in). He might have been the greatest guitar player alive, who could cross over into jazz, folk, and rock. Here he’s paired with Allen Toussaint, who’s one of the legends of New Orleans R&B, on a song made famous by Glen Campbell.
  11. Donny Osmond and Glen Campbell, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”/”Walk Right In” this is a roughly 12-minute interview with Donny and Glen on a British morning show, during which they do an impromptu version of “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.” At the end of the show, they sing “Walk Right In,” a song made popular by the Rooftop Singers in 1962, with members of the cast of the show.

As I said at the beginning, this was a lot harder to do than it appeared. Maybe it’s a testament to fact that these are professional musicians that don’t worry about what kind of music they’re making or who they’re making it with. That’s why none of these was a complete disaster. You look at some of the performances and you realize they love and respect one another, because they’re musicians, and that’s one hell of a bond.

Anyway, that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for November5, 2018.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

28 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: Crossover Duets

  1. David Cassidy and Glen Campbell, Sam Moore and Conway Twitty, and Patti LaBelle and Travis Tritt were my three favorites out of this mix. LaBelle and Tritt were amazing together. That was definitely my favorite.

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  2. Well, dang John… I have never heard some of these, but I must say my favorite has to be (and what a song for Julio) Julio Iglesias & Willie, was absolutely awesome. I never seen this video so I thank you for posting this one. You have some really cool ones and many I never heard. I must be living under a rock my friend, but you are soooooooooooo good at this. I’m so happy and proud you are a regular my friend! HAVE A GREAT ROCKIN’ DAY! Hugs!!!

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    1. Actually, I think this time around I didn’t think I did all that well, especially when I saw some of the other people’s stuff. I used to do a pretty good impersonation of Julio and Willie singing that song…

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  3. I’d go with “Free Man In Paris” if she sang it with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or the Muppets – Hmmm, she might have done a duet with the Muppets. I’ll have to look that up.

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    1. Joni’s an interesting musician. I really didn’t care for her until the mid-’70’s, when she started getting away from the folk-type music and started bouncing between genres. She has an interesting approach to the guitar, using a lot of alternate tunings because she couldn’t play certain chords (F major is a real killer on a new guitarist, for whatever reason).

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  4. You did great, John! I almost went with Julio and Willie as well. Of course, now that my post is already written, I’ve thought about all the artists that have collaborated with Foo Fighters. For instance, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men provided the choral background on Concrete and Gold.

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  5. So many of these are new-to-me! My favorite duets/collaborations are always the cross-genre ones. It’s pretty mind-blowing that so many genres actually play well with so many others, when you think about it.

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    1. Musicians listen to a lot of music both in and outside their “home” genre, and it’s not uncommon for them to be comfortable in several. And there’s that whole “family of music” thing where, even though they play different types of music, they still appreciate what it takes to play other kinds. To them, it’s all music.

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  6. I still remember the take off when Julio was on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson who played Willie Nelson…it was so good and funny at the same time. I like this selection and thought of Robert Plant and Angie?? Krause. I can’t recall the title of the song but I liked it. Pavarotti did some songs as well, with Bono and others which were ok but the better was Placido Domingo partnered with John Denver and, again, I can’t remember the name of the song.

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    1. A couple of people had the Allison Krauss-Robert Plant duets, as I figured they would, so I stayed away from those. I also stayed away from the Frank Sinatra “Duets” project and the Tony Bennett ones, figuring people would think of them first (Frank and Bono singing “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” is considered one of the great musical disasters of all time, ranking right up there with Ozzy Osbourne’s “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at Wrigley Field a few years ago).

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  7. You shouldn’t have worried, John, you nailed it! My favorite – Rainy Night in Georgia, and in second place, David Cassidy and Glen Campbell – the Everly Bros. songs they sang only made it better. I thought some about doing duets with live and dead people, including the Natalie Cole duet – it is an interesting technological concept.

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    1. There were the “Duets” albums with Frank Sinatra (and about as many with Tony Bennett, tho Tony’s still amongst us), and that Hank Williams Jr. and Sr. duet. I actually considered including some of those, but I was trying to choose combinations that no one else would. And I did see that someone had Frank and Bono, and I think Marie had Tony and Lady Gaga. The other thing was my interpretation of “unusual”: I saw it as Tony Bennett with Black Sabbath or Buddy Guy with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, not simply two artists who come from different genres. The latter sometimes works very well.

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  8. John,

    I wouldn’t say you missed the mark on this theme breezing over your song titles. You have some golden picks here, most if not all I know, so I’m going to let your playlist run while I tackle some chores in the kitchen that I put off with my routine interruption this week. Thanks for the furtastic effort of spinning some fine tunes for the 4M gang, my friend, you rock!

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    1. What threw me was the description: “unusual duets.” I was thinking really off-the-wall stuff, like Julio Iglesias and Marilyn Manson. Finally I just went with crossover duets, and it looks like everyone else did, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Somehow, your post missed. Great selection, John. I especially liked Julio and Willy. You’re right these were all professional musicians and to see them bonding through their music is a real treat,

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  10. Dang Dude! You done knocked this one Out. Of. The. Park! Excellent playlist and incredible musicians bonding together over great songs! This was so much fun to listen to and to watch.
    I love the song “To All the Girls I’ve Loved” — such a great lyrical song and Willie and Julio did it proud.
    I also really enjoyed the father & daughter duet with Nat and Natalie. That was touching, especially seeing those old photos of them together. And I never realized how incredibly beautiful Natalie’s eyes are!
    Easy Lover has always been a favorite of mine and it was really fun to watch Phil and Philip have a good time doing it.
    I really enjoyed David Cassidy and Glen Campbell doing the Everly Brothers medley. That was excellent. And the interview with Glen and Donny Osmond gives such a fantastic, albeit slight, glimpse into their lives.

    For one who thought this would be hard to come up with a playlist to match this theme, you rocked it!
    Hope you’re having a good weekend.
    I’m actually taking a break from 4M for the rest of the year. I’ll be back with BOTB on the 15th though and then that will be my last until after the new year. I just need a break.

    take it easy,

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. I’ll be sure and vote in your next battle, then, because it’ll be the last one for a while.

      What threw me was her calling them “unusual” duets rather than “crossover” duets. Crossover makes much more sense, and I’m glad it was what she had in mind.

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