Friday, February 21, 2014
I admit that this probably wasn't my most exciting BOTB. At least if you consider exciting to be one where everyone is holding their breath down to the wire hoping their choice will win. BUT, to all those 'Cassandras' out there; at least it was not a shut-out. HA!
I also admit that at first, I was a little put out over all the predictions about the outcome of my BATTLE, but I did get over that pretty quickly. After all, I do ask for your opinions, and three of you seemed to agree that Satchmo would literally run away with this one. Well, you did call it pretty close.
Edith Piaf did get one vote, and for that I'm glad. although she was not my choice, it is her song. I enjoy some of Edith's compositions but I'm not too crazy about delivery. It's my opinion that she belts everything out as though she's singing a national anthem.
Grace Jones did win one of you over, and got one vote also. Personally not my favorite. Actually, I had no idea that she thought she could sing until I found this video and did a little research on her career. I found it interesting that several of you thought she was pretty good, just not good enough to bet Satchmo. YIKES! I am amused that so many of you referred to Grace's performance as 'cheesy'.
That brings us to Satchmo. He received 13 votes (INCLUDING MINE) and is the clear winner here. He did run away with this Battle, even if he didn't fair so well in other Battles here at my site. Personally, I love the slower arrangement, and that mix of piano and Louis horn is superb. Add in his marvelous voice and you have perfection.
I'm pleased that Louis won, but also glad that it was not a shut out. I brought you three very different versions of the same song and that's my goal. I guess I need to work a little harder to post a really good BATTLE, which in my opinion is, one that is a close race and has us all holding our breath down to the last minute wondering just who will walk away the winner. Come back on the 1st of March and see if I'm able to thrill you!
Aren't you glad I don't have to move to China or Russia or someplace like that? HA!
Thursday, February 20, 2014
In the comment box of my last BATTLE OF THE BANDS post I got to talking with someone, in truth I was talking at them, because they never commented back, so I really don’t know if they even read my comment. No matter, it was somewhat off topic, but on a topic that is interesting and important to me. That’s why I decided to share it with everyone, and make it the topic of this blog post.
You might not exactly agree, if you judge by some of my BATTLE OF THE BANDS posts, but I love music, mainly because it speaks TO my soul. I also love prayer, probably because it speaks FOR my soul. Often I feel that certain music IS a prayer. That said; I really like to ‘feel’ both as much as ‘hear’ them.
I have been fortunate enough that during the course of my life, I have been exposed to many and various different languages, we all probably have. I can speak several, even if I’m the only one who knows what I’m saying. In my extended family alone, several different languages are the native tongue of some wonderful people. I’ve also been fortunate to live in many places both inside the United States of America and out, exposing me further to different languages.
I really enjoy listening to music in another language, not all of the time, of course, but on occasion. I REALLY am intrigued by listening to people pray in another language. It is so powerful to not fully understand the words and open yourself up to feeling the Spirit and allowing it to convey purpose and meaning of what is being said or sung.
While my family and I lived in Florida we became friends with a family from Laos. I actually learned to speak a little Laotian, so as to help the mother in this family with a doctor’s appointment for herself and her children. It is a difficult language with absolutely no relationship to English. We made it through doctor’s appointments, school enrollments, and opening a bank account, but I would never say that I was able to ‘speak Laotian’. But, listening to these people pray in Laotian was an experience to behold and more than once I found myself with tears streaming down my face from the overpowering Spirit that was present.
Recently someone sent me this YouTube clip in an email. Check it out and see if the sheer power of it doesn’t move you. It sure did me, although I have absolutely no idea what these men are saying.
What you just witnessed is Maori Haka Kapa. At the website ‘100% Pure New Zealand they state:
The above video clip seems aggressive and war like, yet I instinctively seem to feel the emotions of grief, respect, as sense of loss, as well as well wishes in the next life, for their friend.
So many things in almost every culture are conveyed by the Spirit, regardless of whether or not we understand the words. For me at least, in music and prayer that is often the only interpreter I need.
Today’s post is dedicated to someone very special to me who should be turning 41 years old today. I dedicate this Haka Kapa to him as he continues on his next adventure. I will never forget you. My love as well as that of your family is eternal.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
In keeping with the Valentine (February is the month of LOVE) theme; my selection for this BATTLE OF THE BANDS XIV is ‘Life in Pink’ (the literal translation) or ‘Life through Rose Colored Glasses’ (the general translation) of ‘La Vie En Rose’.
Before we get too far along here’s another little tidbit of FAE trivia (remember there might be a test at any time) I can understand, read and speak French. Unfortunately, you have to be pretty good to understand me. That little cow town in the Midwest where I was born and grew up, has left an indelible mark on my accent that makes it difficult to make those very French sounds. I think I sound great, but the snobs are constantly correcting me.
Also, I used to own a pair of rose colored glasses (true story), but that is a tale for another time, like NEVER. Anyway…let’s get back to BOTB, shall we?
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about “La Vie En Rose’:
The song's title can be translated as "Life in Rosy Hues" or "Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses"; its literal meaning is "Life in Pink".
The lyrics of the song were written by Édith Piaf herself, and the melody was composed by Marguerite Monnot and Louis Guglielmi, known as Louiguy. Originally, the song was registered as being written by Louiguy only, since at the time Piaf did not have necessary qualifications to be able to copyright her work with SACEM. Words "Quand il me prend dans ses bras..." ("When he takes me in his arms...") came to her mind one evening in 1944, when she was standing in front of an American man. That gave the base for the rest of lyrics. Piaf offered the song to Marianne Michel, who slightly modified the lyrics, changing "les choses" ("things") for "la vie" ("life"). English lyrics for the song were later written by Mack David.
Initially, Piaf's peers and songwriting team did not think the song would be successful, finding it weaker than the rest of her repertoire. Having listened to their advice, the singer put the song aside, only to change her mind the next year. The song was performed live in concert for the first time in 1946. It became a favorite with audiences. "La Vie en rose" was the song that made Piaf internationally famous, with its lyrics telling about retaken love and appealing to those who had survived the difficult wartime.
"La Vie en rose" was released on a 10" single in 1947 by Columbia Records, a division of EMI, with "Un refrain courait dans la rue" making the B-side. It met with a warm reception and sold a million copies in the USA. It was the biggest-selling single of 1948 in Italy, and the ninth biggest-selling single in Brazil in 1949. Piaf performed the song in the 1948 French movie Neuf garçons, un coeur. The first of Piaf's albums to include "La Vie en rose" was the 10" Chansons parisiennes, released in 1950. The song appeared on most of Piaf's subsequent albums, and on numerous greatest hits compilations. The song went on to become Piaf's signature song and her trademark hit, sitting with "Milord" and "Non, je ne regrette rien" among her best-known and most recognizable tunes. Encouraged by its success, Piaf wrote 80 more songs in her career.
The song received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.
So, let’s hear from Edith first.
Unfortunately, Edith’s life was a real train wreck, IMO. If you want to learn more about it, google her and see for yourself. I’m not too interested in getting into it here.
Next up something really different. Grace Jones and her version of “La Vie En Rose’. I’m gonna tell you, I didn’t really know Grace Jones as a singer. As a matter of fact all I knew about her came from her performance in a ‘Conan’ movie I was once forced to sit through, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. IMO, Grace was pretty scary in that film. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about her career;
Beverly Grace Jones  (born 19 May 1948) is a Jamaican singer, actress and model.
She was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica and raised by her grandparents. When she was thirteen she and her siblings moved to her parents' home in Syracuse, New York. Jones started out as a model, initially in New York state, then in Paris, working for Yves St. Laurent, Claude Montana, and Kenzo Takada, and appearing on the covers of Elle, Vogue, and Stern working with Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Hans Feurer.
In 1977, Jones secured a record deal with Island Records. In 1980 Jones, with the aid of Compass Point All Stars moved into New Wave, scoring Top 40 entries on the UK Singles Chart, with "Pull Up to the Bumper", "I've Seen That Face Before", "Private Life", "Slave to the Rhythm" and "I'm Not Perfect". Her albums include Warm Leatherette (1980), Nightclubbing (1981) and Slave to the Rhythm (1985).
In America she appeared in some low-budget films in the 1970s and early 1980s. Her work as an actress in mainstream film began in the 1984 fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill. In 1986 she played a vampire in Vamp, and acted in and contributed a song to the 1992 film Boomerang with Eddie Murphy. She appeared alongside Tim Curry in the 2001 film, Wolf Girl.
In 1983, Jones's One Man Show was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Long-Form Music Video next year. For her work in Conan the Destroyer, A View to a Kill, and Vamp, she was nominated Saturn Awards for Best Supporting Actress. In 1999, Jones ranked 82nd on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and in 2008, she was honoured with a Q Idol Award. Jones influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s and has been an inspiration for artists, including Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Brazilian Girls Róisín Murphy, Nile Rodgers, Santigold, and Basement Jaxx.
OK, now you got the Wikipedia skinny on Grace (as well as Edith), pick and choose what you want to believe – Wikipedia isn’t always that reliable. Let’s hear her sing. BUT, before we do that I want to dedicate this version to one of the other BOTB participants, Mr. Arlee Bird. I think he may have called me ‘stogy’ in the comment section of Mr. McCarthy’s blog. This version of “La Vie En Rose” would definitely be the UNSTOGY somewhat ‘adult’ view. Please try not to be too distracted by the wardrobe function (no I did not misspell that, I’m pretty sure this is exactly how Grace expected this outfit to appear).
FINALLY, the last version (in the BATTLE) of “La Vie En Rose’ by none other than Mr. Louis Armstrong ‘Satchmo’. I think we can forego the Wikipedia life sketch here. After all, this is the third time I’ve featured him in one of my BOTBs and if you don’t know who he is, well you just might be the ‘stogy’ one.
In the last BOTB Mr. McCarthy shocked some of you by suggesting a particular album as music to ‘do it’ to. Well this song would be my personal pick for ‘lovemaking’ song of all time, but you’re gonna have to wait until the 21st until I tell you which version I prefer.
Now, after you have listened to all three versions leave me a comment with your vote and your reasons for that vote. You can also leave other thoughts about the song, performances, and just about anything else to do with this little BATTLE.
When you’ve finished up here, head on over to Ferret Faced Fascist Friends the home of the totally unstogy, and resident expect on what to do with, or to various musical compositions Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy. Participate in his BATTLE. I also know I can trust him to provide you with a list and links to the other regular participants.
If you want to post your own BATTLE (and you want myself and others to visit your site) please leave a comment to that effect with a link to your home.
I hope you enjoy this BATTLE OF THE BANDS. I’ll be back on the 21st with the result and my vote. See ya then!
Friday, February 7, 2014
This has been my all-time favorite BATTLE OF THE BANDS post. I love this song and as far as I’m concerned there was no wrong choice. All four of the versions posted here are great. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad one.
So, let me give you my impressions about each version.
Hoagy Carmichael – I love this type of piano playing. My daddy played in this style. He used to call it a ‘honky-tonk' piano. Hoagy’s version- the original here – is a little more upbeat, mid-tempo, than what we’ve become used to, but that's how he wrote it.
If you didn’t catch it the comment section – I read somewhere that Hoagy initially wasn’t too fond of the slowed down version or the lyrics, but eventually they grew on him and he later re-recorded it.
Nat King Cole – Wikipedia calls this the most popular version of Stardust. A quick glance at the voting here and it appears that you guys agree. Nat voice is so deep and smooth, he lends a dreamy quality to these beautiful lyrics. You really can’t rely on Wikipedia for much, but this is one of the times when they may have gotten is right
Willie Nelson – Need I say more, it's Willie. His album ‘Stardust’ is one of my favorites. I’m not sure I can put my finger on it but with this and all of the old standards included, he quite simply ‘nails it’. I love Willie’s version of Stardust and I may as well tell you right now, he gets my vote.
Satchmo – Another great version that this ‘jazz man’ has made his own. That horn, that voice laced with just the right amount of gravel, it’s perfect. His version reminds me more of the original, a little bit faster, more jazzy. Superb!
This song is so great that Woody Allen devoted a whole movie to it. If you’ve never seen “Stardust Memories’, rent it immediately. (Thank you STMc)
OK, now here is how the voting went:
Hoagy Carmichael 1 vote
Nat King Cole 9 votes
Willie Nelson 4 votes (including mine)
Louis Armstrong 1 vote
It was nice to see that nobody was shut out in this BATTLE. The majority of you agree with Wikipedia, and Nat King Cole is the undisputed winner. Even though he didn’t receive my personal vote, I’m not disappointed. His is a beautiful version.
A few notes: One of the commenters included two votes in their one comment (actually two of you did, if I count the vote phoned in to STMc by Woody Allen, but since Mr. Allen didn’t listen in person, I didn’t count his vote). Because I have no precedent for this, I counted both votes this time. In the future, I will only count one vote per comment. If your significant other, cat, or neighbor want to cast a vote, let them come back with a comment of their own.
Finally, I’m gonna leave you with one more version of ‘Stardust’. Here’s Spanky and Our Gang with an entertaining video and their wonderful rendition of this great song.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
It's February 1st and you know what that means, don't ya? Well, yeah, it means it's time for another BOTB, but it's also the month of love. Now, I suppose some of you will post 'silly love songs'. Maybe something even dedicated to your sweetheart. I'm going to post a love letter of sorts, but it's to my parents. The song I've choosen for February 1st was 'THEIR SONG'. Every time I hear it, I can clearly see that wacky duo gliding and swaying across the dance floor, whether it was in our living room, with the furniture pushed back and the rug rolled up, or at some fancy wedding or other family event.
I had originally written this post back in August. That was when we posted on August 30th for September 1st. August 30th (not this year) is the day my mother left this world and there hasn't been a day go by that I haven't missed her. For some silly girl reasons (sometimes, I'm a silly girl) I didn't use the post for my BOTB III, back in August.
Anyway, I haven't changed much to this post, so some of it may seem a little strange and dated, but since I'm still haveing trouble typing, I thought it was time to dig it out. Also, I would have been real disappointment in myself, if someone else used this song, before I got to it. (Over the course of the last few BATTLES, one of 'my' songs got used by someone else. Of course I would have used finer versions, but no matter, it still kind of ticked me off. I need to do my best to not let that happen again.)
It’s time for ‘BATTLE OF THE BANDS III’ (er...XIII actually). I know it’s not the first of September yet, but due to the Labor Day Holiday and the three day weekend, Mr. McCarthy and I decided to post a little early.
Apparently, ‘BOTB’ is a big hit because Stephen T. and I are now being joined by Mr. Arlee Bird of TOSSING IT OUT.
So…here we go. Ya’all know how this works. Listen to me yak for a few minutes, then listen to both versions of the ‘tune’. Leave your vote in the comment section and tell me why you voted. NEXT, get yourself on over to Ferret-Faced Fascist Freinds the home of Stephen T. McCarthy and see what he has served up for us. Listen, vote and comment there also. Then check out Arlee’s selections at TOSSING IT OUT
Originally, I had planned something different for this ‘Battle’ but due to the date change I just couldn’t help myself. I posted another version of this song back on July 5th, with some stories about my family, if you’re interested click HERE and read that post and have a listen to Willie (BUT, he’s not a part of this contest).
For this tune I want to take you back, way back to the composer.
"Hoagy" Carmichael (born Howard Hoagland Carmichael; November 22, 1899 – December 27, 1981) was an American composer, pianist, singer, actor, and bandleader. He is best known for composing the music for "Stardust", "Georgia on My Mind", "The Nearness of You", and "Heart and Soul", four of the most-recorded American songs of all time.
‘Hoagy’ first recorded the song as Star Dust in 1927 (long before my time). It was then a ‘peppy (but mid tempo) jazz instrumental. The lyrics weren’t added until 1929, written by Mitchell Parish. In 1930, bandleader Isham Jones recorded a slower version, a sentimental ballad. This is the more popular one played more often.
So…First up Mr. Hoagy Carmichael and his original Star Dust
Next let’s hear what some people (at least those at Wikipedia, Ha, ha, ha) think is the best. This one with lyrics.
Here’s Nat King Cole
Well, there you have it my selections for BOTB III, (XIII) probably not what you expected from me. I’ll refrain from becoming all maudlin about this choice. If you skipped back (or remembered) my post from July 5th, you have some idea why. Today I’m reminded of my mother again. ‘I miss you momma and I will every day of my life.’
Number three, is my ole buddy Willy:
And Number fouir that ever popular jazz man, Satchmo:
NOW, if you haven’t already, get yourself on over to
Stephen T. Mccarthy - Ferret-Faced Fascist Freinds and vote there also. I'm sure Mr.McCarthy will also post a list of and links to the other regular participants. If you're new and want to participate, please leave a comment and a link to your site so that I and my visitors can visit you also,.