Sunday, December 15, 2013

ANOTHER CHRISTMAS NIGHT - BATTLE OF THE BANDS X





Can you believe it? Only TEN days until Christmas. I love Christmas. I have to admit that  when it gets down to the wire, like this, I'm the biggest kid in the house. On Christmas Eve I can't get to sleep, I'm so excited for the morning. No matter how old I get the wonder of waking up and seeing all the presents under the tree and the stockings stuffed to the brim and spilling over, is something I look forward to for three hundred and sixty-four days. I especially love to see the faces of the little ones when they first set eyes on the tree.
 


We used to have a tradition in our house that Santa decorated the tree. On Christmas Eve we would set it up in the house, fill the stand with water, and then go to bed. In the morning not only would Santa have left presents (for those of us who had been good), but he also put all the lights and ornaments on the tree. Yeah, we didn't enjoy our tree for weeks before Christmas (and Santa didn't get much sleep), but it really made Christmas morning all the more magical.
 

This year I've added a new tradition; BATTLE OF THE BANDS. A few months ago when Mr. McCarthy talked me into doing this on a regular basis, I never figured that it would last this long or gather so much attention. This is Battle X and it has grown to six full time participants with a few of you dropping in every so often with your own BATTLES. Some of you gather a lot more votes than I do, but I really appreciate all who have come by regularly to view and vote on my choices for BATTLE OF THE BANDS.
 

Anyway...let's get on with it.  I had so many ideas of great Christmas songs it was hard to narrow it down to just two for this month. I originally was going to go with one sacred type song (hymn) and one of the more secular (popular-childlike) tunes, but at the last minute I changed my mind.
 

For this BATTLE I decided to go with the 'Queen Mother' of all  Christmas Carols. SILENT NIGHT. There are so many versions to choose from and after listening to what feels like hundreds, I have to admit that while I like some more than others, there is no way to really mess this wonderful song up. I've decided to go with two versions that are a tiny bit more obscure. One is a beautiful nod to a good friend (you know who you are) and the other an appropriate opponent. I'll let you listen, and see if you can determine why I choose to pit these two women against each other. 
First, sit back and close your eyes, then give you  heart and mind over to this version of Silent Night by Mahalia Jackson. 





For my second choice, I give you another singular voice, Sinead O'Connor. Another version best listened to through your heart.
 



Both these women sing without a lot of musical fanfare and no backup, but each lifts her voice in a clear decisive reverent hymn. Maybe neither is your very favorite version, but none the less these are my choices for BOTB X. Please cast your votes and let me know your reasons.
 

One more thought from me: Like 'O Holy Night' (my choice for BOTB IX), this songs speaks to my heart at this time of year. For me Christmas is both a Holy and Silent Night, when I hear the whisperings of the Spirit most clear.
 

I'll see you back here on the 21st, with my choice, your winner, and a SPECIAL CHRISTMAS TUNE, just for you guys. Now go on out there and check on the other participants starting with Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends the home of my partner in this particular crime, Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy (I'm sure he will publish the links to the other regular participants. You guys know me - far to cyber challenged to do that, this early in the morning). Everyone else posting a battle leave a comment to that effect and a link if possible, so everyone who stops by here can visit you also.

21 comments:

  1. This is a tough one.

    Mahalia does a beautiful job with her rendition, but I'm not a big fan of that style of singing (Don't tell Mr. McCarthy I said that). It's good though.

    Sinead's version is a bit breathy, but I kind of like the hypnotic peacefulness of the way she does the song. Kind of like a mother singing her baby to sleep.

    I'm not a big fan of Sinead, but her version of this song edges out Mahalia's for me. Tough call, but Sinead O'Connor's "Silent Night" gets my vote. (Oh boy am I gonna hear it from StMc).

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  2. Number 2 gets my vote, found it easier to listen to.

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  3. Pretty much same reasoning as Arlee. Gimme Sinead. It's a bit gentler.

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  4. Sinead O'Connor gets my vote.

    I'm not a big fan of personalizing of songs (covers). I don't particularly like either one of these choices, but Sinead's rendition seems to fit in with the 'silent night' atmosphere that voices should be soft and quiet so as not to disturb.

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  5. NOT a fan of Sinead O'Conner, but her version is crisp and clear.

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  6. Arlee - OK, we'll keep your comments just between you, me and the rest of the blogosphere. Ha, ha, ha!

    Hey, at least it's not 'Santa Baby'

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  7. Wow...this is a tough one for me as well.

    MJ has the stronger voice, and that means a lot. Plus I know she believes in what she is singing.

    Sinead's version captures the mood of the song better, but I doubt her sincerity over the subject matter.

    I'm going to go with Mahalia.

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  8. This is simply personal preference, but it drives me crazy when singers run all around the note. To me it sounds like they simply can't find it. And my inner voice starts screaming, "Stick it already." The note, that is.

    So, Sinead is an easy winner for me in this battle. Her version was clear and reverent and on the notes. Jackson drove me crazy right out of the gate. My inner voice yelled all the way through.

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  9. Well, this was certainly an INTERESTING match-up!

    However, 17 seconds into O'Connor's version the battle was over for me.

    I'll admit that O'Connor's version is all lightness and sweetness and whispering and silent-like, so I can understand why some people would prefer it.

    When Mahalia was just a little girl, she said she had a vision in which Jesus appeared: "He told me to open my mouth in His name." That's when she began seriously singing. (She once broke a tooth while singing! Now THAT is some SERIOUS singing.) I BELIEVE this woman. I do not really believe the other woman.

    One time a man Mahalia knew well approached her after a church service.

    He just wanted to tell her again how wonderful she'd been, how remarkable 'SILENT NIGHT' was; had everybody in church in tears. "How do you do it?"

    Mahalia fixed the full force of her being on him. "DON'T YOU KNOW?" she said in disgust. This man been around her all this much, and don't know her singing is from God?


    Having said all that... I vote for Sinead O'Connor. Yeah, right, that's it.

    It's true that 'Silent Night' has seemingly become thought of as the 'Queen Mother' of all Christmas Carols. Nevertheless, it's not really one of my favorites. To me, the melody is a bit too plain, too simple. So, on yet another level, I appreciate a singer who can enliven it a little bit, make the melody wake up a bit. So...

    Give my vote to the woman who was told to open her mouth in His name.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  10. Beautiful, song! My favorite of the season!

    I was so ready to vote for Mahalia, but Sinead's voice really struck a cord. Arlee said it best, a mother singing a lullaby to her baby.

    My vote goes to Sinead, but this was a tough choice!

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  11. I'm really sorry I wasn't in the blogosphere yesterday to take part -- especially since it was my first BOTB post on my own blog. But Christmas prep and travel just ended up sucking all the hours out of the day.

    But trying to catch up today. :)

    This battle is actually harder than I thought it was going to be, even though I'm not a Sinead O'Connor fan by any stretch of the imagination. She's always struck me as pretentious and self-serving when she's tried to be 'controversial' or 'edgy' or whatever the Heck you want to call it. And Mahalia Jackson is a gospel icon -- how could Sinead even come close to a version of "Silent Night" that would compare???

    Surprisingly, I actually kind of liked hers -- it came across as simple and pure, which is absolutely what the song needs. I can see why she has received so many votes.

    But still, I can't vote against Mahalia. There is such heartfelt inner TRUTH bursting out in every note she sings. She isn't just covering a song like Sinead is -- Mahalia's living the song. She's singing of her conviction and joy and exultation of God's power in her life.

    So Mahalia for me.

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  12. I don't like Sinead O'Connor, and I wasn't expecting to like her version. With that said... I liked hers better. She's kind of got that light, breathy Enya type of thing going on, and I don't hate it.

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  13. While Mahalia has a far better range, I prefer Sinead's version because it's a softer delivery.

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  14. Thanks for your votes. I find it interesting that so many of you, 'don't really like Sinead, or aren't really a fan of hers', but voted for her anyway. Just goes to show you really can't predict how these battles will turn out.

    For a few comments there I was afraid this was going to be another run-away. glad to see that NOT happening.

    Most of the regulars have already voted, but I'm still holding off until the 21st to count up the totals. See you then.

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  15. Tough call. Mahalia is more passionate, Sinead O is more ethereal.

    If I were trapped on a desert island with either one, it would be ... Sinead O'Conner. Something about it makes me believe in magic.

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  16. liked them both....such a beautiful song and really no matter how you sing it, its the whole idea of a beautiful lullabye for all of mankind

    its a tie for me....deal with it anyone can sing this song and win, even a homeless man can sing this song and it is pure raw beauty

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  17. Advanced Merry Christmas & Happy New Year greetings and also Thanks and Smiles:) for ur support till now Dear Blogger Buddy God<3U:)

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  18. I'm going with Sinead, which surprised me because I usually like Mahalia. The soft, slightly breathless quality of Sinead's version just appealed to me today.

    If you love O Holy Night, might I recommend you listen to the Michael Crawford version (from his Christmas album). Brings tears to my eyes.

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