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Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!
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This is 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 1st of each month and on the 7th or the 8th, I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.
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Friend? Foe? Stranger? No matter, ALL are welcome. So pull up a chair, pour yourself 24 oz. of DOG BITE High Gravity Lager (or the poison of your choice) and turn it up to Eleven!
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[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Thursday, November 7, 2019

BOTB RESULTS: NOV. 1, 2019 (MORRISON, JIM VERSUS MORRISON, VAN)

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STMcC’s Vote On '2019, November 1st: Battle Of The Bands' (BOTB) - Or, Jim Morrison Versus Van Morrison - And The Final Tally:
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OK, the Battle took place HERE. Whatever. I'm in such a bad place right now that it's a wonder I'm even bothering to write up this BOTB Results post. (To quote Warren Zevon: "I don't wanna talk about it".)
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As always, I sincerely thank all y'all who cared enough to take the time to visit, listen, and cast a vote.
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I voted for Van Morrison, but, by my count, Jim Morrison (predictably) beat Van 10-6. Our psychic, Carnac The Magnificent, predicted this BOTB outcome correctly, but that hardly required psychic ability. (I'm too tired to count up Carnac's prognosticating record, but I'll have it for you when you tune in to my next BOTB installment on December 1st. However, I know he's doing pretty good now.)
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I promised to tell y'all why this Battle had special significance for me, and although I'm not really in a social mood, I need to keep my promises, so...
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On the BOTB page, I posted the following 2 photos as clues:
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The Countess in 'The Bucket Of Blood Saloon' in Virginia City, Nevada (circa 1989).
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The peak of Mount Davidson with Virginia City's "V" on the mountainside below it.
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That first photo is of 'The Countess' - a past girlfriend of mine (the most significant one). And the second photo shows 'Mount Davidson' which rises above the world famous Virginia City in Nevada. The "V" on the side of Mount Davidson stands for "Virginia City", NOT for "Van" Morrison. And didn't anyone notice the 'Double-V' I created in that photo?! Actually, in truth, the photo is showing 2 "V"s pointing down, and 2 upside-down "V"s pointing up.
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The Countess and I went to Virginia City two or three times, but the first time was probably in 1989 or 1990. One day, on our first vacation there, The Countess and I had climbed up to D Street when I decided I really needed to hike up to the white "V" on the side of Mount Davidson (despite my pretty hellacious hangover). So, she patiently (or impatiently) waited for me while I did that. And when I finally got back down again, she and I went into The Famous Crystal Bar where I bought us Mint Juleps - which started a Mint-Julep-Palooza which likely contributed to the eventual death of [link> Margaret Marks, who was our bartender.
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To this day, the entirety of Van Morrison's 'Pagan Streams' speaks to me about that trip with The Countess:
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And I want to climb that hillside again, with you,
One more time
As the great, great, great, great, great, great, great
Being watches over
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"Honey Street", in 'Pagan Streams', is a reference to 'Marine Street' in Santa Monica, California, where The Countess once lived in "The House At Pooh Corner". I could go on and on explaining what Van Morrison *really* meant when he wrote 'Pagan Streams'
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Virginia City, Nevada, has ALWAYS been my favorite place (going back about 16 years *BEFORE* I even met The Countess). In fact, the ONLY reason I've lived in Reno and Carson City is because both of them are only 30-minutes away from Virginia City. Here are some photos I've taken of my favorite place on Earth:
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Virginia City, Nevada, graveyard.
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Clouds gather over the graveyard.
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[No double or quadruple "V"s in those photos, so don't sweat it.]
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At least 28 years after I first hiked to the Virginia City "V" while The Countess waited for me, I did it again. And this time, a friendly, local dog named "Rudy" accompanied me all the way to the "V". Here are some photos of him I took while we were both in the middle of that white "V" on the mountainside:
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Over the decades, I've also hiked to the very tip-top of Mount Davidson about 4 times. Below are a couple of photos I've taken from the top of Mt. Davidson, overlooking Virginia City, while wearing some of my crazy socks (I LOVE CRAZY SOCKS!!) :
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Flamingos Fly Over Virginia City.
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Hula Girls Fly Over Virginia City.
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In fact, I intend to drive to Virginia City TOMORROW to meditate and hike, because I need to get the hell outta here and return to 1876, where I belong.
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There was more I wanted to write, about MMWJ ('Morning Music With Joe') and the second disc of Van Morrison's album 'Hymns To The Silence', but I'm just too tired and bummed out right now. Maybe sometime later. But here are a couple of photo-teasers:
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MORNING MUSIC WITH JOE (MMWJ)
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Thanks, Y'All. I love ya! And I hope to see ya here again for my next Battle Of The Bands installment on December 1st, 2019.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Friday, November 1, 2019

2019, NOV. 1: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, MORRISON VERSUS MORRISON)

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BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB)
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Shoop-Shooby -
Shooby-Duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah -
Buh-Doo-Wah!
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Yes, it's time once again for Battle Of The Bands (BOTB).
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Alright, let's get on it. Let's get ON this thing!...
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As I begin typing this BOTB blog bit, it is 8:43 PM on Halloween Night and I am listening to Disneyland's 'Haunted Mansion' ride soundtrack, thanks to my buddy, Kevin, the Kansas Kid!
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I bought exactly 2 bags of Hershey's bars and 1 bag of Reese's peanut butter & chocolate pumpkins in anticipation of Trick-Or-Treaters. And I had exactly 0 Trick-Or-Treaters. But we ALL know that if I had purchased exactly 0 bags of candy, I'd have had 666 Trick-Or-Treaters knocking on my front door. 
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So, now, I'm drinking a big Tervis Tumbler full of Pecan Whiskey because, damn-it, SOMEONE's gonna get a treat tonight! 
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I'm not really a big fan of the "Horror" movie genre, but tonight - since it is Halloween - I watched what is probably my favorite Horror movie. It's a movie that YOU HAVE NEVER seen - a movie you've NEVER EVEN HEARD OF - even though it includes these performers: 
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Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Walken, Tom Berenger, Jeff Goldblum, Ava Gardner, Eli Wallach, Burgess Meredith, Beverly D'Angelo, Sylvia Miles, Chris Sarandon, José Ferrer, and Jerry Orbach. 
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That's quite a cast for a movie you never heard of before, don'tcha think?
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My BOTB installment this month is (Jim) Morrison versus (Van) Morrison. And if you think that [link> Mary Burris and I are in cahoots this month, you are simply a "Conspiracy Theorist!" (There are no really relevant conspiracies, as any truly informed person can tell you!!) And, by the way, BE SURE to check out MMQE's BOTB right [click> HERE! (She's obviously a plagiarist, and if I had even half-a-case, I'd sue the bejabbers outta her!!) 
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OK, so my Battle has a theme, and that theme is THIS: TWO MORRISONS (Jim & Van) performing spoken-poetry pieces with musical backgrounds. 
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THE GHOST SONG - Jim Morrison & The Doors
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgZcGh92qLQ


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PAGAN STREAMS - Van Morrison

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pP5OqC2eNQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pP5OqC2eNQ


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I generally avoid telling y'all how I intend to vote in my own BOTBs. And, as difficult as that is for me this time, I will do so again. However, I feel SO STRONGLY about this Battle - despite really, truly, honestly, and deeply digging BOTH of these recordings - that I wanna leave ya a couple of photographic clues to how I will be voting. These photos won't really reveal my vote (or "bote") to you, but in my BOTB RESULTS post on November 7th, I will 'splain what these two following photos had to do with the way I "boted":
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Here be the photographic clues 4 U:
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Photo by STMcC.
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Photo by STMcC.
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BOTB PREDICTION:
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Carnac The Magnificent: "The Venice Beach Hippie."
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Question: Which Morrison will win this Battle?
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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome you (whether I know "you" or not) to vote for your favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other.
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After voting here, I suggest - actually I insist - you pop over to the blogs of the other 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' participants to see which songs they have chosen and vote there alsoVote your vice...   Vice your voice... 
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Voice Your Vote...
TOSSING IT OUT by clicking HERE
MIKE'S RAMBLINGS by clicking HERE
THE SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING by clicking HERE
@ JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE by clicking HERE
@ THE DOGLADY'S DEN by clicking HERE
@ CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE by clicking HERE
@ CURIOUS AS A CATHY by clicking HERE
@ AI LOVE MUSIC by clicking HERE
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As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 7th of each month to post my own votes and announce the winners in the comment sections.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Friday, October 25, 2019

ROCKTOBER MusicFest - 5 (Or, My Last Waltz In Rocktober)

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This is my 5th and probably "last" ("waltz") contribution to MMQE's 'ROCKTOBER MusicFest' at 'Jingle Jangle Jungle'. Click HERE for more!
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In Part 4, I wrote this: To me, a good (or great) live album is when many (or most) of the songs performed live are superior to their studio-recorded counterparts. (And I included an example: Van Morrison saving the night by reviving the audience at 'The Last Waltz' with his outstanding rendition of his terrific song 'Caravan'.)
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And this is why I think 'The Last Waltz' by The Band is a great live album. Although, truth be known (as is often the case with many so-called "live" albums), there were some studio overdubs added later. And not only that, but in the film and on the album, there were a couple of performances with guest artists (Emmylou Harris & The Staples Singers) that were filmed on sound stages after the concert and inserted into the movie. If you didn't know better, you would probably think those two segments were actually part of the real final concert on [link> Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976
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If you don't already know, THE BAND was a Canadian-American roots rock group including...
Rick Danko (bass guitar, vocals, fiddle),
Garth Hudson (keyboards, accordion, saxophone),
Richard Manuel (keyboards, drums, vocals),
Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals),
and Levon Helm (drums, vocals, mandolin, guitar).
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To say that, toward the end, there were personality problems within The Band is putting it very lightly:
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Moondog Matinee is the fifth studio album by Canadian/American rock group the Band, released in 1973. It consists entirely of cover material reflecting the group's love of R&B and blues music, with one exception in their interpretation of the theme from the film The Third Man.
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In a 2002 interview, Levon Helm described the reasoning for recording an album of covers: "That was all we could do at the time. We couldn't get along—we all knew that fairness was a bunch of shit. We all knew we were getting screwed, so we couldn't sit down and create no more music. 'Up on Cripple Creek' and all that stuff was over—all that collaboration was over, and that type of song was all we could do."
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Nevertheless - and despite the fact that Levon Helm hated it - I think The Band's last "real" recording, 'The Last Waltz', is an absolute must-own album! In my opinion, if you don't have 'The Last Waltz' in your music collection, your music collection is a poseur!
;^)
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Below, I am going to feature 3 songs (independent videos) from the movie 'The Last Waltz' that I am pretty wild about. And I will follow that up with a playlist for those of you who might want to hear some more of my favorite songs from The Band's last concert.
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First of all, if I had to name just one song by The Band as my very favorite, it would be 'The Weight'. And in 'The Last Waltz', The Band recorded a version with The Staples Singers. Hokey-Smoke! Mavis and Pops Staples added so much to the song in terms of power and style, that THIS is my favorite version of my favorite song by The Band:
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THE WEIGHT - The Band ('The Last Waltz')
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCSzL5-SPHM

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The last guest musician invited onstage that night was the most famous and most highly esteemed - Bob Dylan. I absolutely LOVE Dylan's song 'Forever Young', and Bob & The Band performed what I consider the very best version of it.
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There are two wonderful little moments you need to watch for in this live concert video. The first is immediately after Dylan (in the white hat) sings the first verse of the song and then (@ the 45-second mark) he looks at someone to his left (possibly drummer Levon Helm) and he shrugs and makes some odd expression. That expression ALWAYS makes me chuckle! I'm not sure what he was trying to convey with that shrug and expression, but to me it says: Well, there it is. They can accept it or not. Whatever.
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The second thing I always enjoying watching for in this footage is when Dylan & The Band segue into 'Baby, Let Me Follow You Down'. If you pay close attention, you'll see that toward the end of 'Forever Young', Dylan and guitarist Robbie Robertson exchange a few words. Evidently, Dylan had told Robertson what song he wanted to segue into. But this was all impromptu, so the rest of The Band members did NOT know what was coming next, and they were waitin' 'n' watchin', looking for a clue.
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If you really study the faces of drummer Levon Helm and bassist Rick Danko from 4:25 to 4:33, you can see they are intently watching in order to get an idea what song is coming next. And Danko has this great grin on his face, because he knows that Dylan and Robertson are about to launch into a different song and he's enjoying the mysterious moment of anticipation. And after Dylan and Robertson hit the first four notes of 'Baby, Let Me Follow You Down', Danko has GOT IT(!), and he joyously launches into the rhythm on his bass guitar. This is such a grand moment, where we get to see A-list and E-Ticket musicians spontaneously creating art.
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FOREVER YOUNG / BABY, LET ME FOLLOW YOU DOWN - 
The Band & Bob Dylan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt1DAMecaWA

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Now, in this last video, we have bassist Rick Danko singing the song 'It Makes No Difference' and, frankly, I don't think I should even need to provide commentary for this. If you can't feel the passion and the aching love that he is conveying in this cut-your-heart-out & serve-it-on-a-platter song, then I seriously doubt there's any hope for you at all.
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I love this comment that someone wrote at the YouTube site: "Just when it can't possibly get any better... Garth steps up and sends it!"
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IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE - The Band
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP7r12Rg490

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If you enjoyed those 3(+1) songs, then I highly recommend you watch / listen to the other 'Last Waltz' songs in the following playlist. My thanks to [link> MARY for inviting me to join her in this year's Rocktober MusicFest. And my thanks also to EVERY ONE OF YOU who took time to listen / comment. I appreciated your involvement and I hope I added something worthwhile to Rocktoberfest.
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'THE LAST WALTZ' (Selections) - THE BAND

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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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