Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!

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. Two "Battles" per month, on the 1st and 15th. Six days later (the 7th and 21st), I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.

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!

[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Monday, December 21, 2015


First of all, a hearty thank you to everyone who took time during this busy Christmas / Holiday season to visit, listen, and vote. I  THANK  YOU  ALL! And "God bless us, every one", as Tiny Tim would sing.

Obviously, I was having some fun with this installment of 'Battle Of The Bands', while "giving the business" to a couple of racist YouTube commenters.

Despite all the pre-Battle build-up around the famous Whitney Houston, this BOTB contest went exactly as I knew it would: Whitney got her posturing butt handed to her on a platter by an unknown singer.

And this was a BOTB first! Never before has one of our own Blogger.com bloggers been a contestant in a musical Battle.

A few of you voters knew the secret identity of our Mystery Contestant, but I assume most of you did not. However, I'm sure the majority have seen comments she's left on various blogs over the years.

ANNE O'LEARY, you just beat the snot out of Whitney Houston in 'Battle Of The Bands'! What are you going to do now? Go to Disneyland?

Anne's blog can be found HERE.

I actually made my own feelings known about Whitney Houston's AWFUL version of 'AMAZING GRACE' right from the beginning. My vote was hidden right in front of your eyes and noses. In the BOTB blog bit (HERE) I wrote the following:

Well, obviously, only a MAROON would put another female singer up against THAT. AmIright? Well, call me a MAROON then, because here comes the underdog, all set up for the slaughter. 
This SHOULD be a shutout!
This might be my first BOTB shutout because the challenger has two things going against her: 
Which is worse, Shitney's "singing" or her terrible "acting"?
A) She's not Whitney Houston, and B) she's not Black, but rather White... and mostly unknown. (May her identity remain Anonymous until the voting window closes, eh?) Remember, it's not about the videos; it's all about the music. 
Houston's ego is the ONLY thing she's serving! ~D-FensDogG

Do you remember reading that? Well, take your cursor and run it from top to bottom, to this point here - as if you intend to Copy & Paste it all.

Do you see the 3 secret messages (sentences) I hid "between the lines"?

I got permission months ago from Anne O'Leary to use her rendition of 'AMAZING GRACE' in a BOTB installment. And originally I intended to try making this a close contest, as I usually do. Initially I considered putting Anne up against Carrie Underwood, Meghan Linsey, Diana Ross, or even Celtic Woman. I thought the last one would be an interesting match-up since Anne is from Ireland. The Irish O'Leary Versus Celtic Woman.

But then I ran across that atrocious Whitney Houston version, accompanied by all those glowing comments and praise, including a couple of really A-list stupid remarks from (apparently) Black supremacists: 

These songs mean nothing until a Black person sings them.

Jlor Jerez  
I've heard thousand of version of this song and have to say that only black ppl can sing it with this such a passion... 
And then I thought: OK, you asked for it.

At that point, I knew this BOTB installment would be more of a social commentary than a close Battle. I had zero doubt that Anne was going to mop up the floor with Whitney.

I've never been a Whitney Houston fan to begin with, but that "act" she put on while "singing" [sic] 'Amazing Grace' actually irked me. Go back and read her body language at that moment where she's singing "a wretch like me". Does anybody REALLY think that she thought she was a "wretch" who needed saving? Oh, no! That was the posturing of a prima donna princess! I don't like being lied to that blatantly. 

Kirk Whalum's sax solo was alright, but I felt it too was "overblown". I've always thought of Kirk as a kind of poor man's Pee Wee Ellis. I'll take Ellis over Kirk any day.

Whitney Houston = 2 votes
Anne O'Leary = 24 votes

This was the blowout I'd hoped it would be.

I really like Anne O'Leary's version of 'Amazing Grace', but even more so, I love the original recording 'TAKE ME HOME', that she and her songwriting-guitarist husband dedicated to all the Irish people living away from their homeland.

I can't believe Anne isn't a professionally trained singer. She comes by that voice naturally. And by the way, she's not just the singer, but she's the drummer, too. Listen here...

'TAKE ME HOME' by Anne And The Hubby

I thank Anne for letting me use her recording in BOTB. And again, I thank you all for your time and your thoughtful input. I hope all y'all have a magical Christmas / Holiday celebration. I also hope to see you all here again for my JANUARY 1st, 2016 'Battle Of The Bands' installment.

My next one should be pretty close and a whole lotta fun for everyone. I suspect most of you will have a pretty good laugh over my next Battle. It'll be a fun hit song going up against a funny parody of the hit. And, no, "Weird Al" Yankovic will not be a contestant. He's not the only person capable of crafting funny song parodies, ya know?

Have a great time, my friends, but stay safe. See ya next year.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy


  1. I beat Whitney Houston, I beat Whitney Houston-hahahahaha. You are a real card Stephen and I love ya for it.

    Thank you so much for putting up Take Me Home, it was very kind of you. You're doing it, brought a tear to my eye.

    Have a Happy and Safe Holiday my friend!

    1. Go to Disneyland, Anne. You deserve it. (That's a famous old Super Bowl commercial... in case the reference isn't ringing any bells for you.)

      This BOTB was a lotta fun for me. Thanks for inspiring it.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head. Whitney was performing, while Annie was singing. It's like a lot of the celebrities who sing the National Anthem before sporting events. There's too much "dig me!" involved. There are certain songs that shouldn't be "performed," and "Amazing Grace," like "The Star-Spangled Banner," is one of them.

    Wonder if those two people realize that "Amazing Grace" was written by a white slave trader?

    1. Yep, yer right, John.
      And Whitney also famously Whitney-ized 'The Star-Spangled Banner' once, too. I'm sure you remember. However, that was much better'n her version of ''Mazin' Grace'.

      Yeah, that song written by a White man means "nothing until a Black person sings" it.

      God save us!

      ~ D-FensDogG

    2. Well done Mr BOTB. Thank you , so much, for NOT making this a 3-way.

      Anne- while 'Amazing Grace' was really Really, REALLY good. 'Take Me Home' was beautiful.

      Great BATTLE, with an outcome as it should be.

    3. Thanks, FAE.

      ~ D-FensDogG (aka Mr. BOTB, aka TSMOTP)

  3. Hmph, and here I was hoping to get a rise out of Anne by voting for Whitney Houston. the cat must be losing his touch. That or she is too busy off getting high on paint fumes. The cat has a good memory and knew it was her, I was biting my tongue waiting for a response. How rude. Guess I'll go have to piss off Old One Eye.

    1. PAT ~
      I'm actually truthfully and genuinely appreciative of your cat's vote. I've never had a BOTB shutout before and I really don't want one - even in a case like this where I feel one was probably in order.

      So, seriously, thank the cat, Pat, for his amazing grace
      in saving a wretch like me
      from a shutout in BOTB.

      ~ D-FensDogG

    2. Haha Cat, I knew you were trying to piss me off, but I turned the tables by ignoring it. I win!!!!

    3. No problem, the cat couldn't vote for that miniature painter anyway, it would make him feel dirty being nice lol

      Hmph, how rude.

  4. Al Bondigas here. Congratulations Anne on a well deserved victory. Good show!! May you be in Heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead. That's it!! That's my rulin'.

    1. JUDGE AL ~
      Man, what a nice comment from you - Irish proverb and everything. I didn't know you had it in ya. (You sure we're brothers?)

      Keep this under yer Stetson, as you're the only person I'm allowing to know this in advance, but... My January 1st BOTB is going to be that oldie vs. right-right.

      Should be a blast! I'm giving you plenty of time to try figuring out who you should vote for. It's gonna be a toughie!

      ~ Brother D-FensDogG

    2. Al Bondigas here. I knew what songs you were planning to go with sometime last week. Didn't need the clue. My vote might surprise you too.

  5. Congrats to Anne, and to you for coming up with such an original BOTB concept! Anne has a great voice, and I really like "Take Me Home" too! Stephen, Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and all good things in the New Year! Take care, my friend!


    1. GEM JULIE ~
      I thank you so much!

      My best wishes to you and your family, too! And I hope the New Year is everything you want it to be. I'm so pleased we've virtually met and become blog buddies! You're a super-nice lady, Julie.

      ~ Stephen-DogG

  6. The outcome didn't surprise me since that Houston version was so over-the-top annoying. Also no surprise is the number of people who will pour accolades over someone like Houston. I guess not much surprises me anymore--baffles me, but not surprises me.

    Interesting BOTB experiment.


    1. There's a lot of intellectual dishonesty out there.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  7. WOW That's awesome!!! Glad I voted for her.

  8. Cool battle! It is cool an unknown artist was given a chance and kicked tail

    1. MIKE, she kicked tail alright! What a blowoout! ("Just like I pictured it".)

      ~ D-FensDogG

  9. I came by yesterday, but didn't have time to listen to Take Me Home. I didn't want to comment without giving it a listen.

    It's playing now as I type this... wow! I'm impressed!!!

    The outcome of this battle didn't surprise me any more than it did you. I think I've talked about Whitney Houston before on LC's blog. I really feel like she had genuine talent (though you'd never know it from that horrible rendition of Amazing Grace) but she was ruined by Bobby Brown and drugs. I think she spent the last years of her life trying desperately to get back to where she once was before the drugs and the abuse and all of the things that wrecked her. I wouldn't be at all surprised if she performed Amazing Grace during that time. When we've lost the way home we usually end up looking really foolish as we search for the path. Sadly, she did it in front of the whole world. And that very likely led to her early demise. The world is not a kind place.

    1. GIRL WONDER ~
      What's hard to understand is how so many people could be so fooled by her performance and praise it to the Heavens. Calling it the best rendition ever, and claiming that she was deeply inspired by the Spirit while singing it, etc., so on and so forth...

      Talk about shutting the brain down and being susceptible to self-deception. Sheesh!

      ~ D-FensDogG

    2. I think we often see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear.

      There is also a percentage of the population that thinks sliding all around a note = good singing. I'm not a part of that percentage. There is another percentage of the population that think their race is superior in all things or specific things. Those cringe-worthy YouTube comments were written by people who clearly believe that only black people can sing well. (Whitney's black ergo everything she sings is fantastic.) That sort of logic doesn't work well when applied across the board in any scenario or with any ethnic group. When a white person says it, it's called racism. I'm not sure what we're calling it these days when black folks (or other ethnic groups) say it. IMO it's still racism.

      End rant.

    3. G.W. ~
      ALL rants will ALWAYS be welcome on ALL my blogs. You know dat.

      Sliding around the note can be an effective technique to achieve certain effects. BUT... it must be used sparingly, in order to remain fresh and appear spontaneous. It's like ANY KIND OF EFFECT, it can't be overdone or it loses its EFFECTIVENESS. Singers like Whitney, Mariah, and Celine have never understood that simple fact. (All of them women... Hmmm... I'll leave it to others to delve into the deeper psychological causes for that.)

      If you had been paying any attention, you would know that the Political Correctness Police (who are every bit as corrupt as all other forms of "police") have deemed that Black people can't be racists. Because... they are merely RESPONDING to racism. They themselves are not racists.

      Of course, anyone with a lick of sense, an ounce of intellectual honesty, and two brain cells to rub together knows that 'xpl'nation is total bullshit. But, you know, we MUST protect some people from expectations that they ought to be held to the same standards that other-colored people are held to. ...But I don't understand why.

      GIRL WONDER, to you I wish a Happy Holidays, Seasons' Greetings, and a Merry Israelite Child Born In A Manger-mas.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  10. The big surprise was Anne, with the Amazing talent! Though I'd heard her sing this, I hadn't played "Take me Home" before now. That is quite a song. Thanks for showcasing it too.

    Well, call maroon too. I didn't realize you were going for a blowout - on purpose. How funny, I missed that. (It's been a slow year, after all.)
    How unique was this battle! Worked out nicely. A big congratulations.

    Enjoy Christmas, and may 2016 be very kind to you.

    DP :)

      Ha! Yeah, this was only the 2nd or 3rd time in 58 Battles that I actually set up deliberately to be a blowout. And as I said, that wasn't my original concept, but when I stumbled upon those Black racist comments, I couldn't resist making them eat their (moronic, racist) words.

      And I would have reacted the same way if I was planning to use a Black singer and came across White racist remarks. As a true believer in The God of The Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ, I have zero tolerance for racism, REGARDLESS OF THE RACIST'S COLOR!

      Both of us had a rough 2015.
      May we both have a 2016 that's like Lemon-Lime Jello Shots.
      (Don't ask. I have no idea what that means. It was a moment of 100% authentic Stream-O'-Consciousness writing. And, I think, I guess - though I've never had them - Lemon-Lime Jello Shots are a good thing.)

      ~ D-FensDogG

  11. Wow, usually I'm good at reading between the lines. Not this time.
    Looking forward to your next instalment.
    I'm a fan of Dr. Demento so I'm well aware Yankovic is not the only one to parody a song. Dead Baboons comes to mind along with a few more. ;)
    See you next year.

    1. JEFFY ~
      Yeah, I'm a longtime Dr. Demento fan, too. Don't think I've heard of Dead Baboons... but I know that dead puppies aren't much fun. :>O

      Have a Merry Christmas and a Safe New Year's Eve, Brother!

      ~ D-FensDogG

  12. I'm glad Whitney didn't win! I thought her version was ridiculous. Thanks for presenting Anne to us. She's awesome!
    Merry Christmas to you Stephen. I hope you have a magical season!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. MICHELE ~
      Like you, I'm really glad that Whitney didn't win. I must admit though that I became a bit nervous when Whitney pulled within 22 votes of tying Anne O'Leary.

      Whew! That was just TOO CLOSE for comfort! :o)

      Merry Xmas 2 U, too!

      ~ D-FensDogG

  13. I thought I remembered a studio version by Whitney that was pretty good, but the live version you posted seems like she's trying to show off a vocal range a la Mariah Carey-I wanted to retch when she sang "wretch." Come to think of it, it sounded like she might retch, the poor wretch.

    Anne's version had a good arrangement as well. You do not have to be the greatest singer to pull this song off-I have heard David Bromberg do it live a few times and loved it-but it's a shame that with all the vocal talent she had, Houston's version stunk. A further shame that in our PC culture, people raved about only blacks being able to sing the song when what they really wanted to say was......wait for it, and get your delete key ready....."nigger, please!"

    1. I've not found any studio version of 'AMAZING GRACE' by Whitney Houston. There's one at YouTube which claims to be her, but it's not. It's an inferior White singer.

      ~ D-FensDogG


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