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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!


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.]

Sunday, April 24, 2016

THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE (Or, 1981: THE LEAGUE OF SOUL CRUSADERS, Part 1 - Blog Bit 10)

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[Note: There is no way I could capture the entire 'League Of Soul Crusaders' era in just one song. I expect this particular phase in 'The Soundtrack Of My Life' series will encompass at least 5 songs. And I will share a few stories and tell you more about the "characters" involved as we go along.]
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I met Torch one day in 1979 on the set of the Gene Wilder movie 'THE FRISCO KID'. I was drawing cartoons in my sketchbook between camera set-ups when Torch, whom I'd never seen before, stood behind me, watching me draw for a couple minutes and then said, "Man, little kids must love you." It may have been the first time in his life that Torch was silent for a couple minutes in a row. Ha!
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That got us yakking and before long we discovered that we both lived not far from each other in Santa Monica (the "Dogtown" area: Dogtown (1997) - imdb, Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001) - imdb, Lords of Dogtown (2005) - imdb).
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That night after work, Torch introduced me to a friend of his, Pooh, and I consider that night to be the moment when 'The League Of Soul Crusaders' began to form. It was essentially six of us core Soul members (with lots of hangers-on who knew who to follow for the rowdiest, partyingest times).
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'The League Of Soul Crusaders' years were probably the most fun in my lifetime. They were certainly the drunkest. 
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The heart and Soul of 'The League Of Soul Crusaders' was Torch, Pooh, Cranium (a friend of theirs from Catholic high school), my brother Napoleon or "Nappy", Twinkie (one of Nappy's earliest schoolyard pals), and myself. But it really started with Torch saying, "Man, little kids must love you" on the set of 'The Frisco Kid'. 
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Five of us started hanging out regularly, and for awhile Nappy shared a house - known as "The Pigwalk" - with Torch and his older brother. That's where you'd find motorcycle parts in the bathroom sink and empty beer bottles in the shower. 
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In 1981, my Grandfather agreed to rent one of his houses to Nappy and me. I distinctly remember painting the interior in preparation for our move-in, and I kept hearing THIS great song on the radio every day while I painted. 
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But it was a 3-bedroom house; we needed a roommate. Then one day Nappy ran into his old friend Twinkie at the market on Ocean Park Boulevard and 17th Street. They got to yakking and before you knew it , we had our third renter.
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We moved into the house at 824 Bay Street in 1981, and with all 6 unique members having now come together "in formation" (as Torch would say), something truly magical happened...  
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Our personalities really gelled; we each brought something unique to the mix and had senses of humor that fit like a six-fingered glove on a six-fingered hand. It was like a real life 'Animal House' only much funnier and wryly witty. It was 'Animal House', 'Monty Python', and Bacardi 151 run through a Waring blender on "High" all... night... long. 
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And "Bay Street", as the house itself came to be called (as if it WAS the WHOLE street - which it kinda was) became Party Central for "The League" and the countless people who wanted to hang out with us because laughter flowed like wine, and the wine was whiskey... gin... rum... vodka... tequila... mescal (with the worm!)... and beer,  lots and lots of beer! 
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W.C.  FIELDS,  STOLEN  BAY  STREET  SIGN,  AND  A  CAN  OF  "COLORADO  KOOL-AID"
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And as Pooh later recalled: 
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We drank.
We drank a lot.
We drank more than we did not. 
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In a nutshell, we rode around in beat-up classic Cadillacs, partied like it was "the last day", and really expressed ourselves in some remarkably intoxicated but creative ways. Or as Torch often yelled: "We do what we WANT!" And, yes, we did. Not everybody loved us. 
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TORCH'S  1964  CADILLAC,  "TIBURON"
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CRANIUM'S  1959  CADILLAC  WITH  CANINE  AND  BOTTLED  FRIENDS
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But young guys wanted to be us. Since they couldn't, they'd settle for being with us. And girls, they wanted us... as far away from them as possible! "But no, but no, but no..." seriously, there were some brave gals who actually enjoyed hanging out with us. (And believe it or not, there were even gals who wanted to get to know us even better. No, I mean for "free"!) Everyone knew that a night at "Bay Street" or with 'The League Of Soul Crusaders' anywhere was not going to be anyone's definition of "normal".
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TWINKIE  HANGING  OUT  HIS  BEDROOM  WINDOW;  POOH  AND  STMcC  THE  MORNING  AFTER  SLEEPING  ALL  NIGHT  ON  THE  FRONT  LAWN
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We developed our own lingo. Hell, we practically developed our own League Language, and if you pay attention to the comments on my blog bits left by Al Bondigas (aka Nappy) and Pooh, you will often see traces of it. The stuffs you can't understand? That's "League Language".
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CRANIUM,  NAPPY,  AND  TORCH  ON  THE  "BAY  STREET"  ROOF.  FILLY-WAGGIT'S  IN  THE  CHIMNEY
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So, how'd the name come about? Well, one of our many expressions was "Leadin' the League!", usually shouted in a drunken roar. It basically meant we were kickin' ass in a "Carpe Diem" kind of way.
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Later, I gave Torch a birthday card and inside it I wrote "The League Of Soul Crusaders" under which I signed the names of a bunch of rebels and artists I greatly admired, such as James Dean, Eddie Cochran, Vincent van Gogh, Chuck Berry, Rickie Lee Jones, etc. The "Soul Crusaders" part I borrowed from the lyrics in a Bruce Springsteen song. Soon after that, we six began referring to ourselves as "The League Of Soul Crusaders".
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Music played a major part in our lives during those years, but no one played a bigger part than Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, as they were pretty much the "Bay Street" house band. 
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One time "The League" even went to a Springsteen concert together. Below are photos of us waiting overnight in line for tickets. We told the delivery driver: "Bring the pizzas to the drunks sitting on the couch at the corner of Colorado Avenue and Fourth Street." He did.
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STEPHEN,  POOH,  AND  A  FEW  BRAVE  GIRLS  WAITING  FOR  SPRINGSTEEN  TICKETS
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STEPHEN  T.  McCARTHY  - 88%  HUNGOVER -  AFTER  THE  ALL-NIGHT-PARTY  WAITING  FOR  SPRINGSTEEN  TICKETS
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So, as much as I despise the guy today, it's only right that I kick off this series with Bruce Springsteen. And although, really, just about ANY song from the 'Born To Run' or 'Darkness On The Edge Of Town' albums would work fine, I guess it's most fitting to use the song that gave us part of our name. So, I give you, from 'Born To Run', the song 'NIGHT'...
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGe1bKEdEag
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The rat trap's filled with soul crusaders
The circuits lined and jammed with chromed invaders
And she's so pretty that you're lost in the stars
As you jockey your way through the cars
And sit at the light, as it changes to green
With your faith in your machine off you scream into the night
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And you're in love with all the wonder it brings
And every muscle in your body sings as the highway ignites
You work nine to five and somehow you survive till the night

Well all day they're busting you up on the outside
But tonight you're gonna break on through to the inside
And it'll be right, it'll be right, and it'll be tonight

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My previous blog bits pertaining to 'The Soundtrack Of My Life' (TSOML) can be found by clicking the links below: 
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TSOML #1 - Prelude To An Introduction
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TSOML #2- Introduction
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TSOML #3 - First Song: 1959
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TSOML #4 - 8th Birthday: 1967
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TSOML #5 - Summer: 1974
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TSOML #6 - Outlaw: 1978
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TSOML #7 - M*A*S*H: Late 1978
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TSOML #8 - Innocence Lost: 1980
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TSOML #9 - A Friend With A View: 1980 

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For more TSOML participants, visit the blog of GIRL WONDER ('Your Daily Dose') by clicking HERE.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE (Or, 1980: A FRIEND WITH A VIEW - Blog Bit 9)

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In 1989, one of my two best friends was killed when a carjacker trying to outrun the cops in Los Angeles ran a red light. Marty Brumer, my acting buddy and as good a friend as anyone ever had, just happened to be coming through that intersection on the green light. He was killed instantly.

Newspaper story HERE.
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PUBLICITY  PHOTO
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INTERSECTION  WHERE  MARTY  DIED
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MARTY'S  GRAVESITE

Marty ("it rhymes with party!") and I sometimes made cassette mix-tapes for each other. Circa 1980, he put one together for me titled 'ODE TO STEPHEN T. McCARTHY', and it's that very same cassette tape you see pictured above, toward the top of the page, with my mug on the cover of it.

I used to tell Marty that "no one will ever REALLY know me". For some reason, I think that used to infuriate Marty to some degree, which, of course, made me say it all the more often. I used to love dogging him with that line and with the Bob Dylan song 'POSITIVELY 4th STREET', but that's a story for another time.

I guess one day "Party" Marty decided he was going to PROVE to me that he REALLY knew me, so he recorded 'ODE TO STEPHEN T. McCARTHY' and gave it to me. This was basically a musical soundtrack of Marty Brumer's personal insights into the real me. 

I gotta admit it - considering the fact that no one will ever REALLY know me - Marty captured my essence pretty well. 

Here's the Side Two song list:

'Epitaph' by King Crimson
'Hide In Your Shell' by Supertramp
'Rock 'N' Roll Suicide' by David Bowie
'Friends' by Elton John
'He's Misstra Know-It-All' by Stevie Wonder
'The Great Gig In The Sky' by Pink Floyd

But it was really Side One where Marty humorously went after me and got it spot-on... [Yeah, laugh it up, funny boy!]

Side One contained only ONE SONG, played over and over and over and over - it was thirty straight minutes of...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKY-smJ6aBQ

'I AM A ROCK' by Simon & Garfunkel
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My previous blog bits pertaining to 'The Soundtrack Of My Life' (TSOML) can be found by clicking the links below:
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TSOML #1 - Prelude To An Introduction
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TSOML #2- Introduction 
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TSOML #3 - 1959  
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TSOML #4 - 1967
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TSOML #5 - 1974
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TSOML #6 - 1978
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TSOML #7 - Late 1978  
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TSOML #8 - 1980
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For more TSOML participants, visit the blog of GIRL WONDER ('Your Daily Dose') by clicking HERE.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Friday, April 15, 2016

'2016, APRIL 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS' (Or, 'THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING')

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, Oscar Vs. Grammy, Angel Vs. Demon, Laurel Vs. Hardy, Beer Vs. Wine, TV Vs. Radio, Pitcher Vs. Batter, Paper Vs. Plastic, Reality Vs. Fantasy, Yeshua Vs. Beelzebub, Conservative Vs. Liberal, You Vs. Me, House Vs. Senate, Offense Vs. Defense, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Spy Vs. Spy, Fischer Vs. Spassky, W.C. Fields Vs. Sobriety, Harold Gimpy, Jr. Vs. Sheldon J. Pismire, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Islam Vs. Everything, Singer Vs. Singer, Band Vs. Band...

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (‘BOTB’)


Shoop-Shooby –
Shooby-duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah –
Buh-Doo-Wah!

Yes, it’s time once again for ‘Battle Of The Bands’ (‘BOTB’)

Alright, let’s get on it...

EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER

Actually... No. Let's NOT get on it.

GOODNIKS  VS.  NO-GOODNIKS

Of all the BOTBers, there is only ONE who has participated in every single scheduled Battle, and that BOTBer is... ME!  
I have been here for ALL 65 BATTLES!
 
GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG

But, although it pains me to admit this - being a very "Real Man" macho kind of Alpha Male - even I have my limits. And I gotta admit it... I'm tired and I need a break from 'BOTB'. I'm a little burned out right now. Oh, it's not a matter of material: I've got a BOTB list 100-songs-deep to draw from but... I'm just not into it right now. So, there's a first time for everything, and for the first time, I'm gonna sit one out. 
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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN

Nevertheless, I PROMISE that I will visit ALL of the BOTB participants in this round and cast a vote in their contests. And as far as I know right now, I will return for 'Battle Of The Bands' on May 1st.

I thank all of you for your support and participation in BOTB, and I hope to see you all here again on May 1st, that infamous day (if-n you know yer history).
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A  PHOTO  OF  ME  IN  DOWNTOWN  LOS  ANGELES  WHEN  I  WAS  YOUNG  'N'  COOL

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 also. (If their ‘BOTB’ blog bits aren’t posted yet, pour yourself two shots of ‘Grand Marnier’ over ice – do it twice – and then return to their blogs to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)

Voice Your Vote @ ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 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.
@ 'DCRELIEF - BATTLE OF THE BANDS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE' by clicking HERE
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'JANIE JUNEBUG, RIGHTING & EDITINGby clicking HERE.
@ 'J.A. SCOTT' by clicking HERE.
@ 'QUIET LAUGHTER' by clicking HERE
@ 'REINVINTAGED' by clicking HERE.
@ 'HOLLI'S HOOTS & HOLLERS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'EVIL POP TART' by clicking HERE. 

 ~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Friday, April 1, 2016

'2016, APRIL 1: BATTLE OF THE BANDS' (Or, 'ZZ TOP VS. HANK "BOCEPHUS" WILLIAMS, JR.')


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, Oscar Vs. Grammy, Angel Vs. Demon, Laurel Vs. Hardy, Beer Vs. Wine, TV Vs. Radio, Pitcher Vs. Batter, Paper Vs. Plastic, Reality Vs. Fantasy, Yeshua Vs. Beelzebub, Conservative Vs. Liberal, You Vs. Me, House Vs. Senate, Offense Vs. Defense, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Spy Vs. Spy, Fischer Vs. Spassky, W.C. Fields Vs. Sobriety, Harold Gimpy, Jr. Vs. Sheldon J. Pismire, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Islam Vs. Everything, Singer Vs. Singer, Band Vs. Band...

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (‘BOTB’)


Shoop-Shooby –
Shooby-duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah –
Buh-Doo-Wah!

Yes, it’s time once again for ‘Battle Of The Bands’ (‘BOTB’)

Alright, let’s get on it...

EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER

In 1975, ZZ TOP released their album 'FANDANGO!' which included the song 'BLUE JEAN BLUES'. The song was not a hit but it did become a staple of ZZ Top's live repertoire. Incidentally, Fun Fact: The name ZZ Top was the band's way of honoring their musical hero B.B. King. "B.B." became "ZZ" and "King" became "the Top".

Let's hear the original recording... 

GOODNIKS  VS.  NO-GOODNIKS

'Blue Jean Blues' by ZZ Top
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b76kjd5nvMg


GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG

HANK WILLIAMS, JR. (nicknamed "BOCEPHUS" by his famous father after a ventriloquist's dummy) is not only one of the very, Very, VERY most successful musicians in Country music history (destroying his legendary dad in record sales and awards), but he has been known to frequently step way outside of mainstream Country and play Blues and even Hard Rock!

As Hank Junior himself sang in one of the most ass-kicking songs of all time (HERE)... 

Not everybody loves me 
but those that do will fight...
right to the end.

I got some guitar friends from legendary Saturday nights.
I learned some from Lynyrd Skynyrd, sugar

from Daddy, and Ernest Tubb, too.
This is the platinum boy that does the Rock and Roll Country Blues!
Now I'm looking for a lover, and I'm going to have some fun.
Oh, my daddy called me Bocephus - hell, I'm a son of a gun.


Yep, he knows Lynyrd Skynyrd. He knows ZZ Top, too. Bocephus proved that on his album 'STRONG STUFF' where he covered ZZ's 'Blue Jean Blues'.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to listen to both versions and - putting familiarity and brand name aside - tell us which one you HONESTLY like better. Vote for your personal preference. 
  

'Blue Jean Blues' by Hank "Bocephus" Williams, Jr.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu7_RmWYuk4
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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN

Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome you (whoever you are) 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. 

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 also. (If their ‘BOTB’ blog bits aren’t posted yet, pour yourself two shots of ‘Grand Marnier’ over ice – do it twice – and then return to their blogs to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)

Voice Your Vote @ ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 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.
@ 'DCRELIEF - BATTLE OF THE BANDS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE' by clicking HERE
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'JANIE JUNEBUG, RIGHTING & EDITINGby clicking HERE.
@ 'J.A. SCOTT' by clicking HERE.
@ 'QUIET LAUGHTER' by clicking HERE
@ 'REINVINTAGED' by clicking HERE.
@ 'HOLLI'S HOOTS & HOLLERS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'EVIL POP TART' by clicking HERE. 

As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month to post my own votes and announce the winners in the comment sections.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy