STMcC’s Vote On '2016, December 15th: Battle Of The Bands' (Or, 'Bobby Darin Vs. Helen Reddy') And The Final Tally:
When asked beforehand if this Battle Of The Bands installment would be a blowout -- as I suspected it would be -- the Magic 8-Ball said "It is decidedly so." Therefore, I was not surprised, nor even disappointed, when this turned into one of the biggest blowouts I've ever had. It's been ages since I've had such a lopsided BOTB contest as this one was. (Helen Reddy, what happened to your roar?!)
Like just about everybody else, I too voted for Bobby Darin. Those first couple notes from the orchestra on Bobby's (August 18th!!) 1960 recording of 'CHRISTMAS AULD LANG SYNE' set the tone for a bittersweet, melancholic Christmas song that, in terms of its wistfulness, is not unlike 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'.
Bobby Darin = 17 votes
Helen Reddy = 2 votes
My sincere thanks to everyone who participated in this Battle!
Here are my thoughts about Bobby Darin:
For me, the melody of MY FAVORITE THINGS is so pretty, so clever, so powerful that I can't hear it once without it bouncing around inside my skull for the next several hours. And yet I know people who are apathetic about it. How can that be? We even find this mystery taking place between people who inhabit the same musical orbit. The "King Of Rock 'N' Roll" might have two devoted fans -- the first who loves SUSPICIOUS MINDS and MEMORIES, but is not overly thrilled by HOUND DOG and IN THE GHETTO. The second fan's opinion is the complete reversal.
Some might think that this is comparable to our myriad responses to food flavors, but in that example there is a physiological explanation -- something to do with chemical reactions in the glands, the taste buds. With music it's entirely intangible; some "it" within the inner being that responds, makes the body move, the toes tap, the mind rejoice ... or mourn.
That "it" within me loves Bobby Darin's music, but "it" is selective; "it" doesn't care for most of Darin's pop hits.
However, there is a certain something, a quality, in Bobby Darin's voice that can be easily discerned on his ballads. You won't hear it on his uptempo songs, but it's an innate melancholia that can't be taught, nor faked, and you can't miss it in the plaintive numbers. Listen to . . .
|PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS|
This being my last post until after Christmas, I thought I'd share with you a Christmas story that I posted recently on Diedre's blog PENSIVE PENS. She had posed the question...
>>... What was the greatest gift you ever received in a small package?
And following is the answer I gave:
Like myself, my best friend, Marty, was working on building an acting career in Hollywood. But in 1989, a car thief in Los Angeles, trying to outrun the pursuing police, ran through a red light at an intersection. Marty had just entered that intersection on the green light and he was killed instantly.
Now flash forward to 1994. My Sister was a teacher at a Montessori school. One day in December she put on a VHS tape for her little kids to watch while she worked on grading some papers or something. After awhile she recognized a familiar voice coming from the VHS tape, and looking at the screen she saw that it was Marty.
The tape was titled 'PREPARING FOR CHRISTMAS: An Advent Program For The Family'. It had been filmed in 1986 and Marty had played the part of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's son, Charlie, who came home wounded from the Civil War one Christmas Eve. That was supposedly the night Longfellow wrote 'I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day'.
I remembered Marty telling me that he'd gotten that part back in 1986, but I'd never seen the film, and that was the last it was ever mentioned.
So my Sister tracked down a copy for me and gave it to me that Christmas morning in '94. I opened it and saw the title, which didn't ring any bells for me. I asked her what this was and she said, "Just put it in the VCR and play it."
You can imagine my shock when Marty suddenly appeared on the TV screen acting the part of Charlie Longfellow. It was like he'd suddenly, in an instant, returned to life after 5 years!
So, that was the greatest gift I ever received in a package as small as a VHS tape.
-------- The End --------
I hope y'all have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, a Season's Greeting, and a Happy New
See ya New Year's Day in 2017, when I'll have a new (and presumably more competitive) Battle Of The Bands installment for you to vote on.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy