Wednesday, April 1, 2015

SOMETIMES - A BATTLE OF THE BANDS and IWSG Post






I had a BATTLE all planned out for today and decided to scrap it at the very last minute in favor of this tune that more fits my mood the past few days.

"Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" (or simply "Motherless Child") is a traditional Negro spiritual.

The song dates back to the era of slavery in the United States when it was common practice to sell children of slaves away from their parents. An early performance of the song dates back to the 1870s by the Fisk Jubilee Singers.[1][2] Like many traditional songs, it has many variations and has been recorded widely (see partial lists of choral arrangements and covers below).
The song is clearly an expression of pain and despair as it conveys the hopelessness of a child who has been torn from their parents. Under one interpretation, the repetitive singing of the word "sometimes" offers a measure of hope, as it suggests that at least "sometimes" I do not feel like a motherless child.[3]

Although the plaintive words can be interpreted literally, they might alternatively be metaphoric. The “motherless child” could be a slave separated from and yearning for his or her African homeland, his or her spouse, parents, siblings or child(ren) (from all or any of which he or she may have been separated in the trafficking process) or a slave suffering “a long ways from home”—home being heaven—or most likely all.

There are numerous covers of this song. If you have the time and want to hear two beautiful versions sung as a prayer; go to YouTube and listen to the medley by Mahalia Jackson of ‘Summertime’ and ‘Motherless Child’. The other is by Odetta. I decided not to use either of these versions, because I couldn’t bear to read any potential negative comments. THAT, my friends is a statement about me, not you.

My two choices for this BATTLE are:

First – Van the Man Morrison


And Next – Dr. John



Please leave me your vote and the reason you chose so, in the comment section. When you finish here, please go to STMcC Presents Battle of the Bands where Stephen will have posted his own BATTLE and he will also provide links to all the other participants. Please take the time to try and visit everyone.

I’ll post the results along with my vote on the 7th of April.





I know you all are terribly busy today, what with the beginning of the A to Z Challenge and the ISWG. I do appreciate you stopping by my place, so I’ll make this short and sweet. It's a bit of a reality check about our characters and something that often makes me feel pretty damn insecure.


Think about it!


Until we meet again…Happy Trails to you!

55 comments:

  1. I love that quote and find it to be absolutely spot on!! I have not been up to writing much lately (or doing anything for that matter, since unfortunately, I can't seem to get healthy.) I am trying my darndest to get back up and blogging and signing up for the A-Z is either a brilliant or demented plan, not sure which.

    One of my favorite old Negro spirituals my Frankie actually just had to learn for chorus, it's called "Shut de Door". Once I start singing that tune, it sticks in my head and I can't stop singing it. Another church favorite is "I'll Fly Away, O' Glory" They are all sung with so much passion and feeling, they are hard to cover. I am partial to Dr. John here. Not even sure there is a good reason, I guess I just like his vocals better. :)

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    1. I am so glad to see you back blogging, and double glad that you stopped by today. right out of the box, I can see I will not have a shut out on this BOTB.

      Here's hoping that A to Z will be 'brilliant' for you. for me it would have been definitely demented.

      I love "I'll Fly Away' also. 'Shut de Door' is also great along with another of my all time favorites 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot'.

      You don't need no other reason for your vote other than 'I like it'. Dr. John scores the first vote.

      Delete
  2. I can take this song off of my future BOTB list. I was going to use Van's version in my pairing. Glad you chose the two you picked cause the other two would have not appealed to me as much as these do.

    Honestly I was totally prepared to go with Van's version since I've always thought his was the best version of this song I'd ever heard. Then as I listened to Dr. John I started waffling. What a great version! Everything going on with the instruments and the vocals was absolutely amazing and wonderful.

    Then I went back to refresh my memory of Van's version. I gotta say that Van's the man. His version is so hauntingly beautiful. Even now as I listen to his version, my skin is tingling and a longing is welling up within in me. Morrison really captures what this song is all about. One of the finest covers Van Morrison ever did.

    Van Morrison wins this round for me, but Dr. John is a worth competitor.

    Thank you for this song this morning--so beautiful.

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

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    1. You are most welcome. I think that there may be a few other BOTBers who toyed with the idea of using this song. Kinda glad I got here first, of course there are so many covers someone could still do it with completely different artists (butt it won't be as good).

      I admit I do like both versions, but one more than the other. I started out thinking I would pit Van against a woman, but changed my mind at the last minute and I'm glad I did.

      First two votes indicate 'no shut out here'. Yea!

      Delete
  3. Dr. John has a great voice, first I've heard of him. But Van Morrison wins as I though it was better all around

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    1. You never heard of Dr. John? Where have you been living? In a...Canada? Ha!

      another vote for Van the Man!

      Delete
  4. Aw, Fae, such a lovely battle. The anniversary of my Mom's passing is this month and yes, sometimes I feel like a motherless child. My goodness, Dr. John has that all-that-jazz, and horns cranked up. (Reminds me of Chicago). I do love the version, but I keep going back to Van... I feel that original blues pain... a motherless child. The bongos keep me from tears, even as the violins threatened to melt me. I need that kingdom now. I do at times feel so far from home, and yet... (I'll stop rambling now.)

    My vote for Van Morrison.
    Thank you for a most enjoyable battle, Fae (smile)

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    1. You also are very welcome. And, another vote for VtM

      Delete
  5. Great pairing. I cast my vote for Van the Man. His version had more feeling to it in my mind so he wins my vote.

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    1. Thanks Mike, I appreciate that. Van is starting to run away with this one. No big surprise.

      Delete
  6. I really liked both of these FAE and still feel on the fence. I'm listening to both for the second time. Yikes. This is one of your best battles ever (and you've had some pretty darn good ones!). I'm so darn torn. I'd like to vote for both, but I know that isn't allowed. What to do? What to do?

    I think Dr. John's vocals might be better on this (and maybe everything). And we all know that vocals are VERY important for me. And still... I'm now listening to Van Morrison for the third time. His voice is more mournful (as is the music to my ear), so I'm going with Van Morrison. But, only by a hair. Only by a hair.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Glad you like this BATTLE. Van by a hair? OK whatever you say.

      Delete
  7. FAE ~

    Arlee Bird wrote: >>... I can take this song off of my future BOTB list.

    Ha! Yep, me too. In fact, I was toying with the idea of doing something totally unique with this one: I was considering posting Janis Joplin's 'Summertime' first, followed by Mahalia's medley of 'Summertime / Motherless Child'. Then below that I would post Van Morrison's version of 'Motherless Child'. And I would announce that Mahalia was now battling BOTH of them, Janis and Van, at the same time on two different songs.

    It would have been a very unique 3-way Battle. But maybe it would have been expanding the BOTB envelope too much.

    I gotta admit, I'd never heard Dr. John's version of this before, and he doesn't even sound, to me, like Dr. John. He sings GREAT, but he sounds like a young Black singer... rather than an old Black singer, as he usually does.

    Both versions are excellent, but... the instrumentation in Dr. John's seems a bit at odds with the sentiment of the song - just a little too bouncy - more Jazzy than Bluesy, and for some reason, to my ears, the electric keyboard doesn't sound like it really BELONGS on this song. It's fantabulous playing, but I feel the mood of it here is... wrong.

    However, the passion, the deep intensity and longing in Van-The-Man's version is impossible to miss, and it's spot-on in every way.

    A really wonderful Battle, FAE, that sure does NOT deserve to be a shutout. I wish I could do something to prevent that but, I gotta be true to myself and give Van my vote.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. POSTSCRIPT:
      Oh, wait! I just noticed that Jaybird voted for Dr. John. Whoopee! Yes, you have no shutouts today! (Even though I know... you don't care anymore:-)

      ~ D-FensDogG

      Delete
    2. Glad to see you enjoyed this BATTLE so much and also glad to hear that you caught yourself there. right out off the box, this wasn't gonna be no shut-out and I actually expect a few more votes for Dr. John.

      I love that medley by Mahalia of 'Summertime/Motherless Child'. In fact I love it so much I wouldn't use it in a BATTLE, because I don't want to hear anything negative about it and surely someone would come up with something. (I think I said that is the post.) BUT, that might have made for an interesting 3-way BATTLE. Something very different. Not sure if the voters are ready for something like that or not.

      Delete
  8. That saying is very true.
    I'm giving it to Dr. John. He had a really smooth voice and I liked the way the music flowed.

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    1. Yeah,k that saying is true and it makes me insecure to think about it.

      AND, Dr. John gets another vote.

      Delete
  9. Have you ever heard the Paul Robeson version? I always thought that was the "original," but a quick look at Wikepedia makes me think it's older than that (although his is the first recording they list)

    Wiki also surprised me by reminding me of versions I own but have forgotten (Hootie & Blowfish, Wishbone Ash). Guess I need to dig into my shelves a little more deeply.

    But I found this one tough, as I also own these versions and like both. And while I see where McCarthy is coming from with the Dr. John arrangement, I think I like that one a little better....at least right now.

    And that is not to save a shut out, not is it to disagree with McDogg-it's just the mood I am in right now.

    So a vote for Dr. John.

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    1. Yes, I know the Robeson version and love it, but it's too iconic for a BOTB, unless you're intentionally looking to host a shut-out, which BTW I never am, even though I've had my share.

      I had no idea Hootie had done a cover until I went to Wiki Wacky. I'll have to make the time to give it a listen.

      So anyway...another vote for Dr. John. No threat of a shut out here, and I truly suspected that would be the case.

      Delete
  10. Oh, I love that quote. It's so true. The things that bugged me most about my little sister where those things that were most like me. lol

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    1. Isn't that the truth. Glad you liked it, but Hey - no vote?

      Delete
  11. I like the soft music and horns in Dr. John's cover, but the vocals didn't move me like Van Morrison. Give, my vote to VM, Fae! ;)

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    1. And, Dr. John gets yet another vote. This is turning into a real 'horse race'.

      Delete
    2. Hey, a little "Chicago" vote counting there, FAE!

      Cathy said, "Give my vote to VM" (Van Morrison).

      And your response? "And Dr. John gets another vote."

      Bet your bottom dollar you'll lose your votes in Chicago (if you're Van-The-Man).

      ~ D-FensDogG

      Delete
    3. You are 100% correct here. Don't know what I was thinking. Just another dumb blonde moment, I guess. I'll gladly give THAT vote to Van the Man Morrison.

      Delete
  12. Van Morrison gives the song the deeper meaning it truly has.
    I listened to the Paul Robeson version, and it is the best of all.

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    1. When it comes to male vocalists, I agree with you completely; Robeson is the best, but think about it; if I had used him in this battle there would have been no contest. Van gets another vote.

      Delete
  13. They are both very lovely; but I think I like the musical arrangement and back up vocals of John's just a little better.

    The IWSG quote really hits home too :)

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    1. Glad you liked the quote. One can never go wrong with Anne Lamont.

      AND, another vote for Dr. John.

      Delete
  14. Well, to be honest I don't really care all that much for either version. Dr. John's is too smooth jazzy for me. Morrison's, with his voice, at least is more bluesy, so I'm going with him.

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    1. Hey, you must be back. How was everything in de islands?

      Another vote for Van, even if is a 'lease of two weevils' vote.

      Delete
  15. Van's the Man in my view Lee. Although Dr. John was sweeeeet... the instrumentals also.

    Thanks for the Anne Lamott quote.

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    1. You're also welcome on the quote. And thanks for your vote.

      Delete
  16. I loved both of these, and I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one on the fence about this. I want to vote for Van Morrison. The music is so great. No! I want to vote for Dr. John. His voice is amazing. No! I...

    Ummm, after listening twice I'm going to go with Van Morrison. Just barely, though. Ask me tomorrow and it could be Dr. John.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. A just barely vote for Van the Man. Hate to say too much but you made the right choice today.

      Delete
    2. The King has entered the building... but he had too many peanut butter banana sandwiches so he can't quite get inside the door of the main room. But he's shouting from the threshold, between bites, "One more vote for the Van Man, please! Also, send help immediately."

      -the guy driving the short bus

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the vote King. Guys with a crane and a can of cristo are on the way. YIKES!

      Delete
    4. That s/b CRISCO. Arms and hands not working today!

      Delete
    5. >>... "he's shouting from the threshold..."

      He's a 'VOTER ON THE THRESHOLD'

      ~ D-FensDogG

      Delete
    6. POSTSCRIPT:
      That was a *link*, by the way.

      ~ D-FensDogG

      Delete
  17. Sheboyganboy SixApril 2, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    mon chéri -

    Most people commenting here (with one exception) seemed to like both these versions of the song, and many folks had a hard time choosing. Well, I had a difficult time choosing, and not because I liked the versions. In fact, I came within a hair's breath of sitting this one out entirely because I cannot stand EITHER version! But I will not do that to you, as you might take it personally rather than just chalking it up to my disagreeable personality and poor musical taste.

    LC and one other mentioned Paul Robeson, and that is indeed the definitive version as far as I am concerned. Robeson himself was a communist, but he had a great voice. Unfortunately, he is not one of the choices.

    Dr. John and Van the Man (both of whom, I typically love, BTW) offer flawed renditions. Dr. John's is way too jazzy, and Van's melody meanders all over looking for the actual melody. Of the two, I find Dr. John's slightly less objectionable, so that gets a homeopathist's size vote from me.

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    1. Well, I'm real glad you voted, cause you know me; I would have felt bad.

      If you have read my other replies, you'll know that I too think Robeson's version is excellent (I absolutely love 'Old Man River' and nobody sings it like PR - regarless of his politics). Also, as I stated in my other replies, putting Robeson against either of these two competitors (or numerous others, fo that matter) most likely would have guaranteed a shut out and I've had my share of those.

      At any rate, I appreciate you stopping by and voting (even though I presented you with versions that were not up to your impeccable musical standards).

      Delete
  18. For me the best version is Darius Rucker's a capella version on Hootie and the Blowfish's Cracked Rear View. Stripped down, it feels more torn from the heart of despair. Here though, I'll have to give it to Van. Not really sure why, but Van.

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    1. Both Van and I will gladly accept your vote, even if you can't explain why.

      Now, I'm gonna have to go and look up that Darius Rucker/Hootie version.

      Delete
  19. OK I choose the great Van Morrison. I love the blues effect and his voice feels of the pain. Dr. John is also good but I it sounded too 70's film to me. I did not feel the song the way I did with Van Morrison

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  20. 'Sounded too 70s film'; that made me laugh.

    Got you down for the Great Van Morrison. Do I detect another fan, here?

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  21. I couldn't put my thumb on what I didn't like about Dr. John's version, and I looked up and saw that Birgit described it perfectly! I kept waiting for Baretta to walk out with a cockatoo on his shoulder while he was singing. Van Morrison nailed it with his understated rendition. Great quote for the IWSG, FAE!

    Julie

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    1. 'Barreta and his cocatoo' now THAT made me laugh out loud. Thanks I needed that. I had to have some bloodwork done yesterday and it went painfully wrong. One finger typing today. A good laugh was mucho appreciated.

      Got your vote for VM.

      Glad you liked the quote! Pinterest!

      Delete
  22. I think I'm going to be in the minority here but I'm going with Dr. John. Neither hit the emotional cord I've felt hearing other versions of this song but Dr. John's vocals and the overall arrangement just appealed to me more.

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    1. Might be the minority, but you are definitely not alone.

      Thanks for coming by to vote.

      Delete
  23. Nope, LD, you're not - I, too, choose Dr. John's version. Which surprises me, because I absolutely adore Van Morrison. I don't know if it was my mood today, but I really liked the instrumentation of Dr. John's version. Of course, both musicians are winners, and amazing in their own right.

    Miss you, too, FAE! In case you don't get back around to my blog soon (I did respond to your comment, though), I have been way busy lately, and exhausted on top of the busy-ness. It's been a whirlwind week, and I will be hopping back on the BotB bandwagon on the 15th. I am in awe of you being able to make your own post and visit everyone during a move!

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  24. Glad to hear you're still with us. Everybody needs a break sometimes.

    AND, Dr John scores another one.

    Did I get that right? With me today you never know!

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  25. My vote is for Van the Man. I still like his blues-jazz approach. I do like Dr. John on many other songs, but on this battle, I'll stay with Van. I like almost every thing he's ever sang. . .especially 'brown-eyed girl'.

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  26. I couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for stopping by. You made it just under the wire.

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    1. Be sure to stop by today - I have a surprise for you!

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