BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Black Coffee”

I can hear you already: "Didn’t you just do ‘Black Coffee’?" I did, but not this one. That one was written by Ike Turner; this one was written by Sonny Burke and Paul Francis Webster in 1948. Stephen likes this one better, or so he told me when he voted on the last one. I promised him we’d do this one next.

He gave me the Bobby Darin version, which posed a slight problem, because the majority of covers I found were done by women, so I went in search of covers by men, only to discover most of those (specifically by Ray Charles and Earl "Fatha" Hines) were instrumentals. So, I’m going to try a battle between two of my favorite singers from the ’50’s and ’60’s…

Julie London

From her 1960 album Around Midnight.

Rosemary Clooney

From her 1964 album Thanks For Nothing.

You know the drill:

  1. Listen to the two songs.
  2. Decide which song you like the best.
  3. Vote for your favorite by leaving me a comment with your choice. If you feel like telling us why, feel free.
  4. Then, visit the other participants and vote in their Battles:

I’ll tally the votes and announce the winner on Aptil 8, so be sure and cast your ballot by then.

The lines are now open. Good luck to Julie and Rosemary!

19 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Black Coffee”

  1. Hi, John!

    I thought I’d backtrack and put my visit to good use by voting in your latest BOTB. I have a fondness and preference for female vocalists, and your battle features two of the greatest women of song of the 20th century. My mother bought records by both artists and as a boy I often heard them playing around the house. The voting decision was fairly easy for me in this battle. From the opening note, I found more to like in Rosemary’s version. Her recording has more life, more presence. It makes better use of musical instruments and bass notes, with the cello, sax, xylophone and piano flavoring “Black Coffee” to perfection. In comparison I found Julie’s somber vocal and backing arrangement a tad depressing. Rosie’s vocals are more pleasing to my ear and make me smile. Overall the Rosie Clooney recording has a lot more going for it, and I hereby give her my vote in your contest.

    Happy Easter, good buddy John!

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  2. Terrific Battle, JOHN!

    It’s the “saudade” quality that I dig so much in Bobby Darin’s voice. He was the male version of Karen Carpenter. (That may not seem to make sense to many folks, but it makes perfect sense to me.)

    Although Clooney’s version was pretty good, this is a no-brainer vote in my book for JULIE LONDON. Dang! She did this song great ‘n’ sultry, and I loved the musical arrangement! Not to mention that album cover… I’d never seen it before and it’s definitely one of the best ever. Right up there with works of art like ‘Whipped Cream And Other Delights’ by Herb Alpert, and ‘The Call Of The Wildest’ by Louis Prima, etc.

    ~ D-FensDogG

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  3. We have two votes coming from here this time, John. Your Aunt Loretta is joining in. The votes are:
    Loretta – Rosemary Clooney
    Jack – Julie London

    I can say it was almost a flip of the coin for both of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rosemary Clooney, please. The first time I heard this song was on a CD by k.d. lang, so I’m surprised to know it was around in the 1960s. The things I learn.

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  5. John,

    WOW, great battle! Rosemary does a fabulous job and perhaps sounds the best I’ve ever heard her with this song but I’m going to have to go with JULIE LONDON because I absolutely love her sultry singing and could even sit in a smoke filled room (coughing no doubt) just to listen to her. 🙂

    You Only Live Twice BoTB Showdown

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  6. Another close one. They’re both good in their own way, but at the end of the song, I like Julie London’s rendition better. It had a “dark and stormy night in the big city” sort of vibe.

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  7. Ooh, tough one! Each strikes a slightly different pace for me so…

    I’d go with the wonderful Julie London when I’d like to sway to the rhythm of the words & my feelings to get me through the day.

    Rosemary Clooney’s moody & evocative rendition would smoothly accompany a night on the couch, contemplating the brutally beautiful & fateful stars.

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  8. Yeah, I thought I was experiencing some deja vu when I clicked on this Battle.

    I figured I’d be going with Julie London on this since I like her a lot and have her Midnight album on CD. But Rosemary’s version reminded me more of the Julie London style that I’ve come to expect.

    My vote goes to Rosemary Clooney for putting me in a Julie London mood.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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