Sunday, June 1, 2014

BATTLE OF THE BANDS XXI - ARE YOU 'WILLIN'?








Well here it I June 1st and time for another BATTLE OF THE BANDS and I don’t have Internet. I spent this past week moving. The cable guy came on Thursday and hooked up the Internet and then someone unpluged the modem and now it won’t recognize my router. Oh well, I’ll get this posted just as soon as I’m back on line.

First things first. DRUM ROLL PLEASE! The Winner of the MAY BATTLE OF THE BANDS CONTEST IS Al Bondigas. Please let us know which CD you would like and we’ll get that right off to you. You can choose anything from one of Mr. McCarthy’s or my BOTB from the very beginning.

Now, let’s get on with BOTB XXI shall we?

Due to the move and the fact that I can’t find anything, my list of possible match-ups went MIA. Also, due to the move and my being overtired, I have been unable to sleep. So, late at night I troll my favorite blogs on my phone. While eavesdropping on a conversation in the comment box of one such musically orientated blog someone mentioned Little Feat’s ‘Waiting for Columbus’ album. I own (on vinyl) and love that album, even though I haven’t heard it in a long time. Sadly, Little Feat has not been the same since the death of Lowell George.

Thinking about Little Feat also reminded me of a concert of theirs that I attended in Denver. Great concert, memorable night, right up until the point when my date lost my car keys. I not so fondly remember a large group of chemically enhanced friends trying to hot wire my Ford Bronco. Next came the hair raising drive back up into the mountains where we learned that due to an accident the Eisenhower Tunnel was closed and we would have to drive over Loveland Pass. 

If you’re not familiar with this area, no big deal; if you are, join me in a great big YIKES! I probably should not have been driving anywhere, let alone on a steep curving mountain pass. Why wasn’t my date driving? That would have been the night I also learned he was a Kiwi wetback, terrified of being found out by immigration and receiving a one way ticket back home, courtesy of Uncle Sam. Just another one of those things from my youth, that I miraculously  survived.

Will you look at that, there’s me going off about myself again, and this time no one’s even speaking French? Now, where was I? Oh yeah, BATTLE OF THE BANDS.

First let’s hear from the big man himself. Here’s Lowell George and Little Feat doing a song written by himself. ‘Willin’


Next, Miss Linda Ronstadt and her version of the same.




OK, folks you know the drill. Leave me a comment with your vote and your reason. Then head on over to Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends the home of the effervescent and always charming Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy, and see what he has cooked up for us in his BOTB. I can always trust Mr. McCarthy to list links to the other participants in BOTB, and I encourage you to visit all of the sites.
I’ll be back on the 7th of June with my vote and the final tally.

Believe it or not, it's still the 1st of June and I made it!

26 comments:

  1. Those were two of the most boring lifeless versions of a song I've heard. Way too slow for me. The Little Feat version was nearly intolerable. I guess I've never been over-enthused about Little Feat like some folks are.

    Linda's version is the best of the two. Better arrangement, better playing, and better singing. Her version didn't annoy me quite as much. But still it kind of annoyed me.

    Now if you'd included the version by Seatrain that would have run away with my vote. They do the best version I've heard. You can hear it at Seatrain "Willin'. At least their version has life and energy. And it has Richard Greene on the fiddle.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Before we get into the BOTB thing, I have a question for you. Are you off your meds? Seems like just about everything annoys you lately, as least with respect to the musical selections on BOTB XXI.

      As I stated in your comment box, I do believe musical taste rest in the ear of the beholder, or maybe that is beer-holder. Speaking of which, maybe a few brews would mellow you out and that ole annoyance would slip gently away. Ha,ha,ha!

      I did listen to the Seatrain version and the fiddle was great, as well as the harmonies on the chorus, BUT their pepped up version certainly takes something away from the lyrics and overall meaning of the song.

      I'll see you on the 7th, when you can check back to see which boring version I like best.

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    2. The whole topic of annoyance is one reason why I decided to do my current series about tastes and preferences. I'd gotten so many negative comments from varying sources about some of my song picks where some commenters actually indicated they were annoyed or hated songs I'd offered--songs that I thought were quite good actually--that I wanted to explore this idea of why I liked something a lot and others didn't or likewise some people like things that I didn't think were so hot.

      Actually this concept has been in my blog idea list for a couple years I guess..

      I'm not sure how often I've said song picks had annoyed me. Today I said that Bruce Springsteen's version of "Blinded By the LIght" was somewhat annoying because if I listened to it for any length of time I'd probably get sick of it. I'd listened to the up-tempo road trippin' down the highway version of "Willin'" by Seatrain long before I heard the slower talking blues version by Lowell George. Not saying it's bad, but it's not my taste in style. Give me that fiddle and the harmonies in the Seatrain version any day.

      Funny cause looking at the lyrics I see a fast moving road song. The faster version just seems to lend itself well to a trucker passing through all those towns and barreling down back roads to avoid weigh stations. This to me a trucking song and it should move. But it's also the version I'm accustomed to hearing. Don't want some slow truckin' song.

      I think the bottom line on many of these Battles is what we've heard first or what we're most accustomed to hearing. I've also noticed that often when it's a song that the hearer is not familiar with there is often a negative reaction to it. I've noticed this not only here on the blog event, but in my personal contacts when I'll introduce someone I know to a song that I think they'll really like and then they say they don't like it or even hate it. Not sure what that's all about either, but I think there's some interesting psychology going on with some of these things.

      Interesting topic to me. I guess that's kind of what the BOTB is all about, eh? See what people prefer and what they don't like. Gives us a bit more insight to what our tastes are as well.

      Lee
      Tossing It Out

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    3. I'm pretty sure you know this, but I want to state it anyway, if not for your benefit, at least for others who might read it. I'm joking about the meds. About the beer, not so much. Ha,ha,ha!

      I get your little experiment and what you're looking for, I just don't think it's something that can be easily quantified. I think our tastes change from time to time and from mood to mood. Familiarity certainly plays some part it our choices, but not always, or at least no for everyone.

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  2. I was just discussing Linda Ronstadt with a friend-while I like her voice, when she covers a song, she's just singing it-I never feel much in the way of emotion from her versions. Great voice, I have a lot of her stuff, but I cannot think of one instance where I prefer her version to the original.

    While I comment Lee for having heard of the Seatrain version (I'd have mentioned that one if he did not just for the diverse arrangement), I still prefer the Feat version. I like the song paced slower, and I dig the way those ivories are getting tickled...

    LC

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    1. Interesting remark about Linda. I think I'll not comment further (or should that be farther) on her version until the 7th.

      Seatrain does have a very diverse arrangement, BUT - see my comment to Lee. I'll take the ivory tickling over the fiddle on this one too.

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  3. Glad you're all moved. Hope the unpacking isn't too crazy. :D

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    1. Thanks Donna. It's just the next adventure.

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  4. We do seem to look back and wonder how we survived such thing, I'm surprised I never broke my neck lol

    Have to go with #2 here at my zoo

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    1. Ain't that the truth. got you down as a vote for the lovely lady.

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  5. Sheboyganboy SixJune 2, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Blogger ate my comment to you yesterday, as it did my comment to StMcC. (Hmmmm... I wonder if Blogger can eat two things in a row, or if some other gremlin did the deed?)

    I know with your current difficult home situation you cannot post long replies, so this will not have the effect it has in the past. However: "chauffeur... garage... toilet... au pair... de jour... faux pas... au naturel." That last one? "Sacre bleu!" (picture a jaunty beret and striped jumper with short pants.)

    Sincerely sorry about your trouble!

    I agree with Lee about the slowness of Little Feat's version. I disagree with him that it is too slow; and I also disagree about Linda's "lack of feeling" in it. I think she belts it out pretty good. She had great pipes.

    Also, I love the entire band she is fronting. Those guys were behind many of my favorites in the 1970s, in one's and two's at least.

    I vote Linda, counterbalancing you future vote for Little Feat. Anyone that has kept and loved that album that long GOTS to vote for Feat.

    Let's see if this comment makes it through!

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    1. I started reading your comment and was roaring with laughter in seconds. Now, along with all those songs running around my brain I have this picture of a saucy French guy in a beret.

      You might like to know, that I found a very nice place to live in Zephyr Cove, NV. My landlords are (are you sitting down) a couple from Paris. She is here right now and he is currently in Paris, I'm promised to meet him sometime this summer. Life is indeed strange.

      I was having a discussion with someone just yesterday about how there was this great core of musicians who just kept moving from band to band, breaking up and reinventing themselves. They really turned out some great music in the 70's. I did a little research on Linda and was reminded what a pioneer in music she was. I was also reminded that she and Governor Moonbeam were an item (I still can't believe he's the Gov of CA AGAIN!) and was also engaged to George Lucas at one time.She definitely was one of the 'greats' (not because of those two things, but for her voice, setting some of her political notions aside).

      Ah, I guess you found me out, as would just about anybody, if they read my posts closely. Then again maybe it's a good idea if they don't.

      I did find a great live versions (on a radio station broadcast where they were guests) of Linda and Lowell singing 'Willin' together. come back on the 7th for my 'official' vote and maybe I'll post that one.

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  6. Musical taste is in the ear of the beer-holder. As a current beer-holder, I like that. A lot.

    It doesn't annoy me the way it annoys Arlee, but that first one is certainly too slow for my tastes. I like the second one better, though I'll have to admit you probably wouldn't catch me listening to either of these on a regular basis.

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    1. Not surprised at all by either of your comments. Glad you made it by to see that beer-holder thing.

      Counted your vote for the lovely Miss Ronstadt.

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  7. My last comment was missing a sentence. Not blogger's fault - my own!

    I said:
    "I agree with Lee about the slowness of Little Feat's version. I disagree with him that it is too slow; and I also disagree about Linda's "lack of feeling" in it."

    I should have said:
    "I agree with Lee about the slowness of Little Feat's version. IN REGARD TO RONSTADT'S VERSION, I disagree with him that it is too slow; and I also disagree about Linda's "lack of feeling" in it."

    DOH.

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    1. Ha! Went right over the head of this dumb blonde. I got your drift just fine.

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  8. Linda Ronstadt all the way for my vote. Lovely strong voice. The first group seemed lackluster. . . btw, good luck getting re-established with that internet connection.

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    1. Thanks D.G. I figured out that it is my router that is bad, so I connected directly to the modem. Now I have internet, just not WiFi. I need to replace the router, but will wait a little while, with my move I've been bleeding $$$.

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  9. NITRO ~
    Glad you're up and running so soon!

    My vote?...

    Have to go with #1 here at my Zoo. Or... should that have been "at my feed"? (I know it's always one or the other.)

    Well, I've heard of Little Feat many times although I never owned any of their records, and I'm sure I MUST have heard a few of their songs over the decades, but I can't specifically recall any.

    So, as far as I know for certain, this is the first time I've heard this song (even though I've seen this album praised and its album covered portrayed many times over the years). I liked the LITTLE FEAT original quite a bit - it sounded so much like it could have been performed and recorded by THE BAND (it has that same sort of feeling and imagery).

    I thought the Linda Ronstadt version was nice but it couldn't compare to the original Little Feat original. As you may or may not know, Ronstadt was raised in Tucson, Airheadzona (which explains a lot about her political views). I can't help wondering if what initially drew her to covering this song is the lyric line: "I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari..."

    As for your discussion with Bird Brother Lee, I don't want to get too involved (and I haven't heard the Seatrain version), but I will say that the lyrics of this song DO NOT imply a "fast-moving" (i.e., uptempo) motion to me.

    Just because a song is about driving does not automatically mean it should be illustrated by speed (i.e., uptempo).

    A perfect example is the song I used in my previous 'BOTB' installment, 'OL' '55' by Tom Waits. Both Waits (in his original recording) and The Eagles (in their more popular cover version) recorded the song as a ballad, even though the entire song is about driving on the freeway. The lyrics explicitly imply that the song is a slow, ballad-like, personal reflection on the part of the driver.

    In this song, the lyrics mention rain, snow, wind and sleet, and driving backroads in order to evade The Man. To me, that does not suggest a lot of fast driving. How fast can you drive on the backroads as compared to the main highways?

    So, although I don't really believe Lee is off his meds... I think a couple of beers might calm him down. (Just jokin' here, Boidlee. However... I recommend 'Big Sky' India Pale Ale. It's what my own doctor always prescribes for me:-)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. It didn't take me long to figure out that the problem was with my router. I was able to hook the modem directly into the computer, so, I have Internet, but no WiFi. That will put a cramp in my style, because I can't sit for too long at the desk, and like to take the computer with me outside or to an easy chair. It will take $$$ to get a new router, so I guess I better get used to it.

      I hadn't really thought of Little Feat as having an aura about them similar to The Band, but now that you mention it, I can see and feel it. As far as Linda's reasons for recording this one, I believe she and Lowell were personal friends, as she was with so many musicians of that era. (See my reply above to somebody - right now I can't remember who).

      I'm glad somebody picked up on the melancholy tone in this song. It might be a truckin' tune, but it isn't about barreling down the highway. It's more about the lonely existence and what it takes to make it to the next stop. (At least to my mind and ears). Sometimes, that's about more than the life of an OTR driver.

      With respect to the discussion with Mr. Bird. Y'all know I'm teasing, don't ya? I know he's doing some grand experiment and his 'annoyance' is simply a part of it. As I told him; the part about the meds was a complete joke, the beer not so much. Ha!

      Thanks for stopping by. As you can see, I'm at less than ten votes and won't even top that with mine. I know I was a little late, but I did get this posted on the first (an earlier than I have at other times past). Maybe it IS time for me to 'fold' on this hand. Never was one of the popular girls and I don't intend to start trying to be at this stage of the game.

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  10. I'm going with version #1 by the composer/singer. He had the song in his heart and sang it as if it were still fresh and just coming into this world.

    Linda R has a wonderful voice, but she delivers the song, she doesn't have it deep inside her. I wish Janice J. had sung this one for us.

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    1. Thanks Cleem, for your vote. I know exactly what you mean.

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  11. Um, I'm going to stay out of the emotions/annoyance debate. All I know is that Linda's version made me pay attention. The other did not, for whatever reason. Ronstadt for me, though I will agree that it's not one of her better efforts.

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  12. Thanks CW, you're a smart man. Got you down as a cote for Linda.

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  13. I think that maybe because it was live version and the Crowd Noise factored in here I had a TERRIBLE time understanding any of the lyrics in the Little Feat version. I liked the music better in that version than Ronstadt's version, but I could understand the words in her version. I agree with CW that this will never be my favorite song by her but it gets my vote because I could understand the lyrics.

    I hope that you are more settled now that a little bit of time has gone by...

    And sorry that it has taken me so long to get here.

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  14. I get what your saying about the live version. Got you down as a vote for Linda.

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