BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Statesboro Blues”

A few days ago for Song of the Day, I played Blind Willie McTell’s "Statesboro Blues". Dan suggested a battle between The Allman Brothers Band and someone else, stating that he would vote for The Allman Brothers. I said it was a good idea, and I think it was, but my biggest concern is that no matter who I chose, the overwhelming favorite would be the ABB. So, I’m hesitant to do that.

Taj Mahal, one of the best blues musicians around who doesn’t get nearly the attention he deserves, also did a great version of "Statesboro Blues," and I just happened to find a couple of live performances out there that featured some great guest musicians, so I decided to pit those against each other and see who wins. I’ll probably do the Allmans in another battle. Here are today’s choices:

Taj Mahal with Ry Cooder

Here’s Taj on a National steel guitar with Ry Cooder (sitting to the drummer’s right) from September 2014.

Taj Mahal with Gregg Allman

Taj is playing harmonica in this performance featuring Gregg Allman on organ and vocal. Appears to be from the same time as the other.

So, those are the contestants. Here’s what you do, if you wish:

  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 will count the votes and announce the winner on May 22, 2022 at noon Eastern time, so be sure and get your votes to me by then.

The lines are now open. Good luck to Ry and Gregg!

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Solitary Man” Results

Last week, I set up a battle between Chris Isaak and the band HIM, the song being "Solitary Man" by Neil Diamond. I’ve counted the votes, and here are the results:

Chris Isaak – 9

  • Dan
  • Diedre
  • Ed
  • Birgit
  • Sharon
  • Arlee
  • Eugenia
  • Mary B
  • Stephen

HIM – 4

  • Lauren
  • Fandango
  • Jack
  • ZuluDelta

Congratulations to Chris Isaak and a pat on the back to HIM, who did an admirable job.

Next battle is Next Sunday, May 15. See you then!

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Solitary Man”

"Solitary Man" is a golden oldie from Neil Diamond. He released it first in 1966 and it became a minor hit, reaching #55 on the Hot 100. When he found success on Uni Records, Bang! (his previous record company) released it in the summer of 1970, and it reached #21 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the Easy Listening chart. It’s been covered by Johnny Rivers, Billy Joe Royal and most famously Johnny Cash.

I’ve chosen two of the covers for this battle. I know, you probably have a favorite cover, and you’re welcome to tell me what it is… but it won’t count for anything, so you might want to choose one of my two. Here are the covers I’ve chosen…

Chris Isaak

HIM

Those are our contestants. Here are the instructions…

  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 count the votes at 12 PM on Monday, May 9, so be sure and vote by then.

The lines are now open. Good luck to Chris Isaak and HIM!

Unfinished Business…

This being the first week of the A to Z Challenge, I let a few things slide, so I want to clear all that up now…

In last week’s Battle of the Bands, we had Jackie DeShannon up against The Ramones in the battle over who did the song "Needles and Pins" better. Several of you voted for The Searchers’ version, and yes, theirs was the most popular version, and had they been in the running, they would have won easily, which is why they weren’t. Here are the results:

Jackie DeShannon – 5

  • Cathy
  • Birgit
  • Willow
  • Arlee
  • Mary

The Ramones – 2

  • Stephen
  • Ed

Congratulations to Jackie and a pat on the back to The Ramones, and might as well give one to The Searchers. The Next battle will be this Friday, April 15.

The subject for Maggie’s and Lauren’s Throwback Thursday was "going to the movies."

Do you remember specific times you went to indoor movies or drive in theatres? Do you remember the first time for either? Oddly enough, I’ve never been to a drive-in movie. There weren’t any around, really.

The first movie I can remember going to was for a friend’s birthday. It was a double feature, one of which featured Sinbad (the character, not the stand-up comic, who would have been my age, and who wants to see a movie about a seven-year-old?) and the other might or might not have been Flipper. The Sinbad movie was bloody and violent and I think I had nightmares from it.

The first I can remember going to with my folks was Mary Poppins. It was not bloody or violent and did not give me nightmares. I found out years later that Matthew Garber, who played one of the Banks children, was born the same day I was. I feel a certain bond with the movie as a result, and can even forgive them for casting Dick Van Dyke, who had the worst Cockney accent in the world, as Bert.

Both of those experiences were when I was about seven or eight.

Do you remember going with friends and not parents? When I was in eighth grade, my class, which had just read excerpts of Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, went to see Charly, the movie based on the book, which starred Cliff Robertson. I went to several movies with friends in high school, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy and Deliverance (which we had just read in English class). I went to see American Graffiti by myself, I remember.

Then there was the night that a couple of friends and I went to see Gone With The Wind at one of the more artsy theaters in Rogers Park (the neighborhood of Chicago I gew up in). I don’t think we realized just how stinkin’ long that movie is. Naturally, we started cutting up. It’s a wonder we didn’t get thrown out.

Please share one or more experiences about going to the movies. We would go to Delavan, Wisconsin for vacation every year, and usually on the last night we were there we went to the movie. I can remember some of the movies we saw: The Patsy with Jerry Lewis, How To Steal A Million with Peter O’Toole and Audrey Hepburn, The Party with Peter Sellers, and Hombre with Paul Newman. That was kind of a bummer, but the theater also ran a "Chilly Willy" cartoon that had all of us on the floor, laughing. Well, not exactly on the floor, but it was funny.

Then there was the Saturday night when Mom and her fiancĂ© were going out to see the movie Mame with Lucille Ball. I wasn’t doing anything, and my brothers were out, so I asked if I could tag along. They sat in one part of the theater, I sat back in the smoking section.

I understand Fandango’s Provocative Question was a rerun:

Is technological advancement a net positive or a net negative?

You know what? I’m going to say it’s a net zero. In other words, the pros and cons tend to cancel each other out. For example, all the good that social media has done in bringing old friends and families together has resulted in all the bad of people being at each other’s throats, probably because they realize just why they hadn’t spoken to each other in so long. The good that wind-powered electricity generation has brought us has resulted in birds being chopped to death and the eyesore of all those damn windmills.

Maybe the reason we end up in messes like this is because the people who thought of these things never give enough consideration to the potential harm. But that’s just me.

I think I owe Christine an apology for not participating in her Simply Six Minutes on a regular basis. It’s just that I have trouble using many of the prompts. Not being a fiction writer, I see a picture like the one above (this week’s prompt) and draw a complete blank. I took a look this afternoon, and something sprang to mind: it’s a rhinocerooster! But I’m pretty sure someone thought of that already…

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Needles and Pins”

"Needles and Pins" was a song written by Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono in the early ’60’s. The most popular version is by The Searchers in 1964, but it’s been done several times by other artists as well, inncluding these two…

Jackie DeShannon

Jackie DeShannon’s 1963 version was the original recording. It reached #1 in Canada but only #83 in the US.

The Ramones

The Ramones recorded "Needles and Pins" for their 1978 album Road To Ruin.

So, there are the contestants. Here are your instructions, if you’d like to join in the judging.

  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 next Friday, April 8 at noon Eastern, so be sure and get your votes in to me by then.

The lines are now open. Good luck to Jackie and the Ramones!