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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 of the same song and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 15th of each month and six days later, on the 21st, 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.]

Friday, July 21, 2017

BOTB RESULTS FOR 2017, JULY 15 (Or, NAT KING COLE VS. SPANKY AND OUR GANG)

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STMcC’s Vote On '2017, July 15th: Battle Of The Bands' (Or, 'Nat King Cole Versus Spanky & Our Gang') And The Final Tally:
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"HOLY LOW-VOTER TURNOUT, BATMAN!", this was Blowout City. If you want to revisit the Battleground, you'll find it HERE. Although the word "Battle" is a bit of an exaggeration. Minor Skirmish or Bitch-Slap would better describe it.

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Yeah, sure, I expected NAT KING COLE to win because, well, Nat King Cole. His name is legendary. Yup, I knew that Spanky & Our Gang (S&OG) were the underdogs in this contest, and yet I expected this to be much, much closer than it was. I figured that the majority of voters might never have heard of S&OG before, and that even most of those who knew of the group would never have heard their recording of 'STARDUST'.
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I expected Spanky's version of the song to turn a lot of heads and wow a lot of newbies. It didn't happen.
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As for my vote: Regardless of the fact that Nat King Cole was my Pa's favorite singer and he has used Nat's music numerous times to contact me from "the other side" of Earthly life, I am not a King Cole fan. Sure, he's a great crooner, but "crooning" is not my kind of music. (The only "crooners" I really dig are Johnny Mathis and Bobby Darin.)
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I think the S&OG version of 'STARDUST' is my #1 choice. The only one that comes close is Willie Nelson's rendition. To begin with, I love choral groups, and S&OG were one of my very favorites, alongside The Beach Boys and The 5th Dimension.
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Secondly, the vocal arrangement of 'STARDUST' by S&OG blows me away! It was so creative, so complex, and so unique that no matter how many times I hear it, it never fails to fascinate me.
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The bottom line, however, is that only Arlee Bird and John Holton heard this Battle the same way I did:
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Nat King Cole = 11 Votes
Spanky & Our Gang = 3 Votes

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A sad blowout for me, but the MAGIC 8-BALL seems to be getting its mojo back. (Must be those fresh electrolytes I spilled on it last week. ...Oh, wait. That was Bacardi 151.)
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My sincere thanks to all of you who participated. I'll be back for another BOTB installment on August 15th, and hopefully it will be more competitive than this one was.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Saturday, July 15, 2017

2017, JULY 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, NAT KING COLE VS. SPANKY AND OUR GANG)

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Republican Vs. Democrat, Male Vs. Female, War Vs. Peace, Light Vs. Dark, Good Vs. Evil, Man Vs. Machine, Love Vs. Hate, Dog Vs. Cat, Sun Vs. Moon, Brain Vs. Brawn, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Band Vs. Band...
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'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB')
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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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EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
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My Pa's favorite singer was NAT KING COLE. My Pa passed away on April 10, 1996. That was two years and four days after I had an unexpected encounter with Jesus Christ and became a [Maverick] Christian.

Since then, many times, my Pa has used the music of NAT KING COLE to let me know he's still alive and aware of what's going on in my life. But, ironically, the first time he did this, he was "technically" still alive:

Pa had contracted some very rare disorder and was in an Intensive Care Unit in a Phoenix hospital. I was working at a health food store in Phoenix when I got a phone call in which I was told that Pa had slipped into an unconscious state and that I should probably get to the hospital ASAP. I left work immediately and began the drive to the hospital. 

While on my way to the ICU, suddenly the NAT KING COLE recording of 'SMILE' was played on the radio station I was tuned to. (The lyrics to 'Smile' were penned by the silent film star Charlie Chaplin.) I instinctively knew that this song was a personal message to me from my Pa, whom I loved dearly.

My Pa passed over to the other side about two days later, and since then, he has repeatedly used NAT KING COLE songs to let me know that he's still around and that I should... "Smile". (That's a message I can't hear enough!)

Below are just two of the many stories I could tell, that are equally surprising, in which my Pa has contacted me through NAT KING COLE songs. I have edited, paraphrased, and heavily condensed these stories from a Dream / Spiritual Notebook I kept for many years. In other words, these stories are not from memory, but from notes I typed up at the time the events occurred:
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GOODNIKS  VS.  NO-GOODNIKS
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(Monday) Feb. 26, 2001
Dear Ol' Pa got through to me again tonight. For 2 or 3 weeks I've intended to rent the movie 'THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP', to see if I still hate it as much as I did when I saw it in the theatre in 1982. (I did.) 

While meditating Saturday or yesterday, I suddenly heard an Inner Voice say very clearly, "I will see you Monday". I didn't know what to make of this. WHO will see me Monday? 

For the first half of the day, I intently watched and analyzed EVERYTHING I saw and heard, expecting to have some sort of Divine experience. But as the day went on and nothing unusual happened, I kind of forgot about the message.

Tonight [*Monday*], I finally got around to watching 'THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP', and at one point in the movie, suddenly [*through a car radio, if I recall correctly*] the NAT KING COLE version of 'There Will Never Be Another You' was played. ... A day or two earlier, Pa -- from the "other side" -- knew that I would be watching that movie on Monday and that the soundtrack contained a Nat King Cole song, and so, in a sense, he and I would be meeting -- we would "see" each other.

... I wish he had simply told me to save the time and money and skip watching 'THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP'. [*Yes, I'm ALWAYS snarkastic -- even in my own personal notebooks!*]

Feb. 17, 1997
I had not attended the Tuesday night 'A Search For God' group meeting for 3 or 4 weeks. Despite lack of sleep and a grueling 13-hour work day, I decided to force myself to go.

On my way there, I inexplicably decided to change my car radio station from KAHM to KOY. I'd been listening to KAHM for at least 3 uninterrupted months when I was incomprehensibly compelled to change it.

At the meeting, during the closing group meditation, I finally -- after much struggling -- slipped into the meditative state. And I saw myself standing in place with a stream of very sparkling, powdery substance shooting up around me and over me in erratic, circular motions, and then falling back down, softly, all around and over me.

I thought to myself: What is this?
And then my mind, independent of my own thinking, answered: "STARDUST". I had no idea what that meant.

The group meditation came to a close and we all said our goodbyes and left. 

As I went to start my truck, I suddenly had the idea that I was about to "see" my Pa. I put it out of my mind quickly because it seemed so ridiculous. How was I going to see my departed Pa? Was he going to appear in the truck's windshield or something like that? 

I started the truck (which my Pa owned until he passed away) and I drove several blocks when SUDDENLY the melody of the song, which had been playing at the moment I started the truck's engine, registered in my mind. 

The song was 'STARDUST'. (Songwriter Hoagy Carmichael's most famous song.)

The singer was NAT KING COLE.

Why had I decided to force myself to go to the 'A Search For God' group meeting, despite being exhausted and having missed the previous 3 or 4 meetings?

While driving to the meeting, why did I suddenly feel compelled to change the radio station I'd been listening to for months on end?

Why did I find myself mentally enveloped in "stardust" during the group meditation?

Why was I inexplicably overwhelmed with the feeling that I was about to "see" my Pa?

And why was KOY playing the Nat King Cole song 'STARDUST' at the moment I started up my Pa's old truck? 

Coincidences? Yeah, sure. Right. OKfine. Whatever ya say.

And that brings us to today's BOTB contest. Please evaluate the following recordings as individuals. Don't let the preceding stories color the way you vote. This Battle has NUTTIN' to do with my Pa, my Spiritual life, or your beliefs. It has NUTTIN' to do with the images in the videos. It is about NUTTIN' more than this: Which recording of this song do you, yourself, personally, as an independently thinking, intellectually honest person, like better? Because it makes no difference to me where your vote lands. I just want it to be honest! You know? Like, as in, "HONEST"?

Question: "Will Nat King Cole win this Battle?"
MAGIC 8-BALL sez:  "As I see it, yes"
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GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
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STARDUST by Nat King Cole
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzRWwQK5OQ0

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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN
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STARDUST by Spanky And Our Gang

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Oops! Sorry. Wrong "Spanky And Our Gang".
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I actually meant the great but mostly forgotten vocal group who scored the Top 20 hit 'Like To Get To Know You' in 1968, and who were better'n The Mamas & The Papas:
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyWYeCJQB6E

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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome you (whether I know "you" or notto 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. 

After voting here, check out the other ongoing Battles and vice your voice... vote your vice... voice your vote...


@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING' by clicking HERE
@ 'JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE' by clicking HERE.

As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 21st 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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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

BOTB RESULTS FOR JUNE 15, 2017 (Or, PHIL COLLINS VS. MERRY CLAYTON VS. FRANKY PEREZ)

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STMcC’s Vote On '2017, June 15th: Battle Of The Bands' (Or, 'Phil Collins Vs. Merry Clayton Vs. Franky Perez') And The Final Tally:
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Hokey-Smoke! I have a "SONGS TO BOTB SOMEDAY" list with so many match-ups on it, and many of them have been on the list since Day 1 of Battle Of The Bands. But sometimes an idea will occur to me and I will run with it on a whim, rather than using one of my match-ups that have been waiting patiently for years on my BOTB list.
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This was one of those instances where I went with an idea that popped into my mind suddenly -- inspired by the upcoming changing of the BOTB schedule for this blog. (From now on, one Battle per month, occurring on the 15th.) My mind jumped to the Bob Dylan classic, 'THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'', and I went to see what the potential cover versions had to offer, settling on three distinctively different treatments of the song.
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I figured that due to "name brand" familiarity, PHIL COLLINS was probably the favorite to win the Battle, with the all-Spanish version by FRANKY PEREZ being the underdog. I thought all 3 covers of this song were quite good and so I hoped for a tight race. But the Battle turned out even better'n I'd hoped for!
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After a total of 12 votes had been cast, the score was 4 to 4 to 4. You just can't even hope for a closer contest than that! With 16 votes in, Franky still had 4, while Phil Collins and MERRY CLAYTON had 6 each. And you know what that means? It means that MY OWN VOTE gets to determine the winner! This is my very favorite of ALL Battle Of The Bands potential outcomes. I love it when I get the final say! You can't beat that!
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Well, as I stated, I enjoy all three recordings, but my favorite is definitely that Black Gospel version by MERRY CLAYTON With The Brothers And Sisters Of Los Angeles. I truly dig that Gospel style and I own a fair number of albums in that genre -- heck, I've got 5 discs just by Mahalia Jackson alone!
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Phil Collins = 6 votes
Merry Clayton = 7 votes
Franky Perez = 4 votes

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For a BOTB contest that I just put together quickly on the spur of the moment, this one turned out to be a true gem!
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As always, I thank every one of you who took the time to listen and submit a vote. Y'all made this a really fun Battle for me! And I hope to see you all here again on JULY 15th for my next BOTB installment here at this blog. Thanks!
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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