Tuesday, April 21, 2015




It’s the 21st of April…ALREADY! How did that happen? Time just keeps tickin’ away. Whatever, it’s time to reveal the winner of my last BATTLE OF THE BANDS, but before we go there I want to tell you something.

Last Saturday night I went to a concert at Harrah’s Casino in Stateline, NV in their South Shore Room. The South Shore Room (SSR) is an incredible venue. More like a nightclub than a concert hall. Very small and intimate. Anyhow, I’m sure you’re wondering who I saw. Well, ya all know my fondness for those gravelly voiced guys, who really need to sing from the heart, because they don’t have the ‘smooth’ tones of a crooner.

Anyway…the artist; Mr. Leon Russell. I love his music, I love his voice and his piano playing…well, you all know that a common expression for playing the piano is ‘tickling the ivories’. With respect to Mr. Russell when he plays, he pounds that piano to a white hot frenzy. I love that ‘honkey-tonk’ style. He played everything from ‘His Eye Is On the Sparrow’ to ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’.

The very best part of the concert was the ‘YAK’. Between each song he told us stories about his experiences and particularly about meeting other performers. It was like sitting down in the living room of grandpa’s house and having him tell you about his life. I was in heaven. He told us about meeting Elvis, Dylan, and B.B.King. He seemed genuinely surprised and appreciative of the many standing ovations that he received telling us we were ‘too kind’.

My advice to you; if you have the chance to see some of these ‘old rockers’; take it. They ain’t gonna be around forever. If you have a chance to see them at the SSR at Harrah’s in Stateline, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


Here's one of my favorite LR tunes for your enjoyment.

Now, onto BOTB. I received a fabulous comment early today from Bish Denham. It was one of those special memories that had been evoked by these two songs. Because most of you probably missed it, because it came in so late, I’m gonna reprint it here.

Why or why did you have to make this one so hard? This is the music I grew up hearing around the house? Count Basie actually came to St. Thomas and played at the Lionel Roberts Ball Field. My father took me and my grandmother to see/hear him. I actually heard this rendition of April in Paris LIVE!

But Ella and Satchmo... I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Ella. When I sang in a jazz trio (only for a short time, but I did sing in a jazz trio) Ella was my idol, the singer I most wanted to sing like (which of course could never happen, still....) And my dad was given a handkerchief that had been used by Satchmo (long gone now, you know how hard the tropics can be on things, but still...)

Why oh why did you have to make this one so hard.

I'm going to have to dig deep into my bag of memories, remembering how my dad looked/acted when he heard and played certain songs. (He played trombone and was always in some kind of band or other...) That said, I can so clearly see his smile, see the sparkle in his eyes, see the movement of his hand as if conducting the band, feel the energy of his love for the music... So my vote is going to Count Basie.

This post has made me cry (good tears) remembering my father and the joy he took listening to music, the joy he took in educating my sister and me. Thank you.

No, Bish, THANK YOU! That was a wonderful comment. I enjoy hearing stories and memories like that.

As I was counting up the votes it was neck and neck for quite some time and then I had a few votes (three to be exact) come in late and all three were for that fabulous duo of Ella and Stachmo. I waivered all week with my vote. Like a lot of you said, it depended on the day. Some days I felt soft and mellow and would listen to the dynamic duo over and over. Then at other times I loved to sit at the computer and ‘jive’ along with the Count. Today is decision day and I need a little pep in my life (I was really sick all day yesterday and spent the day in bed), so… drum roll please. My vote goes to the Count. In the end it was not enough. The final tally…

        Count Basie and His Orchestra               10 votes (including mine)

        Ella and Satchmo                                  12 votes

This proved to be one of my favorite BATTLES. I’m particularly glad it didn’t end up in a tie, because then I would have had to REALLY choose, but it was close enough that I knew all of you liked both versions too.

Again, thanks to all of you who took the time to stop by and vote, especially those of you immersed in the A to Z (only 9 more posts to go). I’ll see you back here on the 1st of May with my next BATTLE.

Until that time…Happy Trails to you!

26 comments:

  1. A close one this time indeed. That would sure be neat to hear his stories in between each song.

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    1. You can only imagine how fun that was.

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  2. Hi, FAE! this was an excellent BOTB match-up and I'm glad the two acts were neck and neck right to the finish. That certainly was a fine comment by Bish, too. Good for you for getting to see a Leon Russell show. As a session musician early in his career, Leon lent his talents to many great recordings that formed the soundtrack of my youth.

    I don't know if you received my email, FAE, but I want to thank you again for the outstanding comment you left on my blog for Margaret and Kathleen Schneider. It warmed their hearts and Kathleen has written a reply for you. Thank you again for your kindness!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed this BATTLE. It was one of my favorites.

      My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I did receive your email. That was so kind of you. I have been following the comment/reply thread on your post and did see Kathleen's sincere reply. I am touched by all of her replies to so many of us that she has only just met.

      Just this morning I began reading he previous posts regarding her 'In-Dell-Able Memories'. I haven't gotten too far, because I don't want to rush through, but rather savor these sweet stories. I am so glad you and Kathleen found each other and that you encouraged her to tell this history of her family and the place that meant so much to you and others. What a wonderful addition to your blog and the retelling of the Shady Dell.

      Thanks again for your vote on this BOTB. You insightful comments are a wonderful addition both here and at all of the other BOTB sites.

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  3. My brother played the trombone.
    That was a close battle.

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    1. Does he still? Do the two of you ever 'jam' together? Just think what a marvelous combo you could start up together.

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  4. Boy... Leon has been coming up a lot, lately...

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    1. Really? Please direct me. I really enjoy him and his music. I fear that some of these older rockers, especially like Leon, who are not in the best of health, won't be with us much longer.

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  5. Been a Leon fan since my older sister played "Carny," an album that mysteriously made it's way into my album collection after she moved out of the house. Back then (1972), I thought 'Baby Jane' was a girl! Hey-I was eleven!

    Never have had the chance to see him live, although I own a few live recordings.

    He was just at a local casino, but the tickets were a little steep and I have kind of spent my concert budget for the year.

    I share your love for that vocal quality-Leon's voice is so smooth!

    Larry

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    1. Oh Larry, if you get the chance, I really encourage you to pay the price a'nd go see him. The 'yak' about his life and those he has met and worked with was worth the price of admission, even if he never played or sang a note.

      'Spent your concert budget for the year' - YIKES! It's only April. What are you going to do for the other eight months?

      Even as an 'old guy' who looks more like Santa Claus than a notorious 'rocker' he still 'has it'. A fabulous concert, well worth the money that was spent on me. Ha!

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  6. That was really a fine battle. The comment from your friend was touching. I hope you feel better more and more, every day.

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    1. Thanks Dixie. I do think I'm well on the mend.

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  7. LEON? Isn't he the guy who was always offering people a bite of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

    [Damn! These pickles are H-O-T-! Of course they're not TOO hot, because I'm such a macho man I can handle anything. I just wish my nose would stop running, my eyes would stop running, and my mouth would stop burning.]

    Your BOTB was simply great in every way. I mean, Count Basie, Satchmo, and Ella - who's not to love?!

    But what astounds me is that apparently I was the only voter who noticed that the image with the Count Basie video was NOT Count Basie, but Miles Davis playing a trumpet.

    I even made a sly reference to that in my comment which also included my vote. I played dumb (it was just an act, I swear it!) and pretended that I thought Basie was a trumpet player and looked just like Miles (even though he was a piano player and didn't look anything at all like Miles).

    And you know what? You got some voters who know sumpin' 'bout Jazz - such as Sheboyganboy Six, Arlee Bird, D.G. Hudson, and I think Dixie Polka knows some Jazz, too. How the hell could everyone have missed the obvious fact that the Count Basie video sported one image ONLY, and that was an image of Miles Davis playing his trumpet?!?!?!

    Suddenly, for the first time in my long life, I feel like I'm A-number-one, top of the list, king of the hill, A-number-1.

    Now we know who REALLY knows his Jazz, eh, FAE?

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Well, YOU really knows yer Jazz, and you can pick out a face at a hundred paces.

      When you pointed this out to me shortly after I posted this BATTLE, I was like DUH! I should have caught that. I was gonna say something in the comments but decided to 'let it go' and see if anyone else mentioned. Then again when I posted this results post, I was gonna bring it up and I forgot. I'm as surprised as you that nobody else said a peek about it. Just goes to show that you 'good sir' are more observant that the average bear,

      One more time, once, I gotta say this may have been my favorite BATTLE (at least of those posted here on my blog). There truly was not wrong vote, because both pieces are exceptional..

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  8. Count Bassie lost by two votes. Ugh

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  9. Awww. So unexpected to see my comment in your post. It really was a hard, hard choice. But most enjoyable.

    Hubby and I saw Leon many years ago in a very intimate setting. Just him and his electric piano. Couldn't have been more than 50 or 60 people there. It was a spontaneous stop at a roadside bar on his way to somewhere else. We got the word he was going to be there by accident. Got to dance as he played, be up close and personal. What a treat.

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    1. Not to take away from the great concert I just saw, but your experience (once again) sounds absolutely delightful. What a treat indeed.

      As for your comment it was just too special to be buried there at the tail end of the BOTB. I couldn't resist re-posting it for everyone who came by to see.

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  10. Glad you got to go take in a Leon show. How fabulous you live close enough to go and do that.

    Yesterday, I posted about Red Bank, NJ In Red Bank, sits none other than the Count Basie Theatre! It's a wonderful venue to go and hear some jazz. One of my favorites, for sure.

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    1. It is probably the best part of living where I do, well maybe not. I really love living so near the lake, yeah, that's the best part.

      I read your post about Red Bank and the Count Basie Theatre. That looks like a fun place.

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  11. Seeing Leon had to have been great.

    This was one of my favorite BOTBs, too. Count Basie, Ella, and Louie...feel free to include them again any time.

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    1. I just may do that LD, cause I really enjoyed myself here and I'm glad to see that so many of you guys did also.

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  12. I much prefer going to see more intimate concerts in small venues. Leon would be great I'm sure. He's played at places around here a lot, but I don't hardly go anywhere anymore so I've missed his appearances.

    That was a worthy Battle between two great contenders. I'm not at all surprised to see it turn out so close. A lot of us Battle wagers have put putting up close contests and I think that speaks well of what we've been offering. Good Battle!

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Thanks Lee. I agree the closer the BATTLE the better, and there have been some close ones lately. Maybe we're all starting to get the hang of thing thing.

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  13. A great match with two of my faves. Makes us think, and that's a good thing. . .Looking forward to the next BOTBs. Music soothes the soul or stirs the fire.

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