.
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.]

Friday, June 24, 2016

MEET "DOGTOWN JOHNNY" (Or, MY KUZIN ROCKZ!)

I learned firsthand in Hollywood that the order is:
1. Who you know.
2. Lucky breaks.
3. Persistence.
4. Talent.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy

We've always been a close family. I mean close both spatially and relationally. I grew up only minutes from my maternal grandparents and so did my cousins. Almost every Sunday for many years we got together at Grandma and Grandpa's for dinner. We'd play Wiffle Ball in the street (which is why my Sister is even better than my male readers at baseball), then we'd sit down for dinner, after which we'd watch 'The Wonderful World Of Disney' together, or the fake Moon landing, or whatever was on the tube at that time.

My cousin Johnny Napier is about 5 or 6 years younger than I am, and when I was a teenager, I corrupted and poisoned that good Catholic kid with my Rock 'N' Roll obsession. I used to say, "Johnny, come out to my car with me. I've got something I want you to hear." And there I would play Santana, or Thin Lizzy, or Lynyrd Skynyrd, and I'd crank it up to eleven.

The band I turned Cousin Johnny onto, however, that really did the trick more than any other was Aerosmith. Johnny got hooked.

[Below, photo of Kuzin John Napier performing in Topanga Canyon, California.]


Years later, Kuzin John got into a band and began performing at local Los Angeles dives like the legendary Club 88.


The first band was called 'Sex And Violins', and I thought they were pretty... well... let's just say it wasn't my cuppa Malt Liquor. It was a Punk/Thrash kind of band; no one in it was particularly good, including my Cousin. But I always supported Johnny 100%; I went to all the shows, dragged friends with me, and applauded loudly. But I can't honestly say I dug it.

Johnny and I grew up in a section of Los Angeles that later famously became known as "DOGTOWN". Geographically, Dogtown was the very Southern-most part of Santa Monica and the very Northern-most part of Venice. (Nappy, Bonehead and I lived in the Santa Monica portion, and Johnny's family lived in the Venice section. All of us were about 17 blocks from the Pacific Ocean and about 8 blocks from each other.)

Dogtown is frequently referred to as the place where "Xtreme Sports" first came to life in the form of "radical skateboarders". At the very time we all lived there, guys like Tony Alva, Jay Adams, and Stacy Peralta (The Z-Boys) were creating something new in America. In fact, Nappy and Bonehead knew a couple of those guys pretty well, having attended high school with them. And by weird coincidence, my great buddy Eric (who was also really into the skateboarding scene and always looking for empty swimming pools to practice in) once shared a Santa Monica hospital room with Tony Alva. He said the steady stream of "hot babes" coming in to visit with Tony was non-stop and amazing to behold!!!

Yep. Johnny, Nappy, Bonehead and I are all "Dogtown" natives. ('The League Of Soul Crusaders' Bay Street house was just a block or so from the Z-Boy's skateboard shop/headquarters.)




In October of 1992, I moved from Los Angeles to tiny Prescott, Airheadzona - the home of "Billy Jack". (The Courthouse where Billy introduced an idiot's head to the concrete fountain is still there, for you road-tripping cinema historians!)

.
KENDALL'S ICE CREAM SHOP IN PRESCOTT: "I... JUST... GO... BER--SERK!!"

The culture shock was too much for me, and about 17 months later, in 1994, I moved back to L.A.

Only a couple weeks after I moved "home", and just a couple weeks before Jesus unexpectedly visited me and transformed me in my Los Angeles apartment, Kuzin Johnny called me to say he was in a new band called 'BLACK CAT MOAN'. They'd recorded 5 songs, and Johnny wanted to bring over a six-pack of beer and play them for me.

Inwardly, I cringed a little bit and said, "Sure, come on over!"

So, Johnny gets there with the six-pack and a cassette tape. We crack a couple beers open and hit "Play". The first song was titled 'JOHNNY'S GONE'[excerpt]...

"Bags are packed / Toothbrush safely tucked away
Coat's slipped over his shoulder / Now it's finally the big day.
Says goodbye now / Bids farewell to all his friends
It ain't quite goodbye though / He'll be coming back again.

Walking through the jungle like strolling through the park
Another mother's favorite son seeks the light and craves the dark.

Now the word is on that Johnny's gone
Loosened up and lost his grip and the last year's up and done
Trying to live down a reputation, ended up living it up too high
The dreams did not happen as the years slid right by.

Big city lights expose secrets of the dark
All the days remind him of the things he hasn't got
[*something*] exchanging, with new friends made and old ones lost
It's a brand new world to step in, he just doesn't know the cost.

Walking through the jungle like strolling through the park
Another mother's favorite son seeks the light and craves the dark.

Now the word is on that Johnny's gone
Loosened up and lost his grip and the last year's up and done
Trying to live down a reputation, ended up living it up too high
The dreams did not happen as the years slid right by.

{*Great sax solo here!*}

Now he don't see the jungle / He only sees the park
Another mother's favorite son leaves the world without a mark

Oh, yeah, I don't wanna be like Johnny!
Oh, Lord, I don't wanna be like Johnny!
Oh, Lord...
Oh, Lord..."

And the song ended with a great merging into that riff from The Doors' song 'Touch Me'.

About halfway through 'Johnny's Gone', I glanced at Johnny from the corner of my eye.

The next song was 'HARD NIGHTS'[excerpt]...

It started with a bang on the electric piano:

"Woke up with my shoes on / Couldn't find my pants or my knees
Looking for my aspirin / It's just nowhere to be seen.
A warm beer in the fridge now / Warm because that bill's overdue
I've lived through mornings like this before / Guess I'll live through this one, too.

I finally get it together / Go out hoofin' it for a job
They say, 'You're qualified, son, but this is the Nineties and your hair's a bit too long'.

I don't think about money / Because it depresses me when I do
I don't think about women / I'm just taking lumps for hard nights, rhythm and blues.

I hope I don't die before I get there
Didn't think I'd have to wait this long
The crowd's calling, wants some more
I can't keep disaster from my door
I'm not old, but I'm no longer young."

I stopped the tape after 'HARD NIGHTS' and said to Johnny, "Tell me the truth! Did you go to THE CROSSROADS and sell your soul?"

To say that I was blown away would be a huge understatement because, today in 2016, I'm STILL blown away! The transformation had occurred so quickly - less than a year and a half - that it seemed / seems positively supernatural to me.

Suddenly, Johnny had this great Rock 'N' Roll voice with total mastery, total control over it; he was writing fantastic songs; he had the second best Rock "scream" I've ever heard (only Roger Daltrey could top him); and he was playing his harp (harmonica) with a Bluesy punch and ability that would have made Bob Dylan and Neil Young envious as hell!

What I learned was that other than just intensely practicing his craft over the last 17 months, Johnny had taken some professional voice lessons. Hokey-Smoke, was that ever a great investment!!!

'DO THE THING' [excerpt]
I ducked into a Blues jam out on Broadway and Fourth
I didn't tip the waitress and I felt no remorse
They called my name, I grabbed my harp and mic
Got down, got loose, got funky,
Cut the air like a knife
Did The Thing!!

(Fun Fact: The club he alluded to at Broadway & 4th is the same bar I mentioned to Pooh Lynth in the comment section HERE, where the cops chased a criminal through it while Cranium and I were drinking hair of the dog at the bar.)

'HARVELLE'S'  IN  SANTA  MONICA,  CALIFORNIA
.
WEIRD!:  JOHNNY'S  LAST  NAME  IS  ON  THE  MARQUEE

Those songs, and others that Johnny and BLACK CAT MOAN had recorded, like 'The Redemption' and 'How Your Puzzle Fits' (maybe my favorite), could have and should have been FM radio hits. 'Mar Vista Girl' had Top 40 all over it without sounding slickly commercial, and 'Clean Life' rocked like a son-of-a-bitch!!! It was as good as, or better than, anything on the radio.

These songs had IT ALL! Their sound was unique - it was Hard Rock with overtones of Blues, Funk, and R&B - and I guess if it was a drink you'd get closest to it by blending Aerosmith with Jim Morrison and Michael Jackson and something else I can't put my finger on. Maybe that mysterious ingredient is "Just Johnny".

Sure wish I had files I could upload here for you to listen to. You wouldn't believe any band THAT good could have failed to make it huge! "I have to tell you, baby, Johnny was armed with all he'd need" ...including the good looks. (Well, I think he still has it all. If only he knew the right people and/or could catch a lucky break.)

I was totally bummed when BLACK CAT MOAN broke up. But not too long later Johnny was in a new band called SANCHO. This was more of a straightforward Hard Rock sound with only undertones of Funk / R&B. In 1997 they did self-produce an album titled 'PSYCHO-DELIC GARAGE' which I still listen to (when I'm not listening to Black Cat Moan).


The other day, out of the blue, I got an Email from Kuzin Johnny and, in part, he had this to say:

GREETINGS FROM OCEAN PARK, CALIFORNIA!
Hey, Stephen, it's cousin John. I attached a few of my latest. I'm railing against common sense as usual and playing with Sancho again. We're in our 40's and 50's now, but we're seeing 20 and 30-something kids really get into us. So we're all completely duped back into this bullshit like the suckers that we are. Trying to turn it all into something in the brave new world of social media before the ear hair starts showing up.
How are you and Nappy and Sherrie? Are you still writing? I'm trying to do more and more on guitar. See if I can get songs in movies, TV, etc. after the ear hair does come in.
Johnny and I then got into a humorous text exchange:

STMcC: Have you ever seen the Rap video [link-->] 'IT'S GETTING REAL IN THE WHOLE FOODS PARKING LOT'If not, check it out at YouTube. I've watched it about 30 times. It ALWAYS makes me laugh.

Johnny: Just saw the Whole Foods Parking Lot. It's friggin' perfect! Very appropriately filmed at the crammed location on Lincoln and Rose.

STMcC: Ha! Yeah, that cracks me up! In our (old school) day, there wasn't any yuppie WHOLE FOODS in Grungeville.

Johnny: Yep, that place was damn Thrifty's! 

STMcC: Man, I used to get my tennis shoes at that Thrifty's. How yuppie is THAT?!

Johnny: Not very!

STMcC: Dazzz rite.

OK now, my "Westside of L.A." homies, I'm gonna post a few songs by Kuzin John and SANCHO for your enjoyment. Hard Rock may not be everyone's Mojito, but if it is, well, this blast's for you. Bear in mind that the sound quality is sketchy - these ain't professionally produced live releases - but I still think the "it" comes through.

Sing it away, Johnny!...

SANCHO - 'Something's Missing'

For bigger picture, click here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaoJFxF0Qs0

Alright, this is a super-freaky video. Buckle up!

SANCHO - 'Cholita Peligra'

For bigger picture, click here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8Q1Dt62cAY

This last one is a fairly recent 30-minute concert. If you're not inclined to watch the entire show, I recommend you fast forward to the song that begins right at the 9:00 minute mark. Watch that move Johnny puts on the mic stand to begin singing. Must have gotten that from his Mom, and my Aunt, who has been a professional dance instructor for at least 30 years:

SANCHO L.A. Live In Concert:

For bigger click, picture here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFT47n0Lr5s

OK, Dogtown Doggs and Doggettes, as you were.

A public service announcement (PSA) or public service ad, are messages in the public interest disseminated by the media without charge, with the objective of raising awareness, changing public attitudes and behavior towards a social issue, or promoting your cousin's Rock 'N' Roll band.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

2016, JUNE 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, JUDY GARLAND VS. KEELY SMITH)


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’)
And I'm sure everyone joins me in welcoming Arlee Bird of 'Tossing It Out' back from his hospital stay. Yeah, he'll miss the busty blonde nurses feeding him Daiquiris through a straw all day, but... well, we ain't bad either. And we're more than nationwide (thanks to our Canadian voters).

Alright, let’s get on it...

Surprisingly, there will not be the usual verbosity from me this time. It's just going to be a very simple, straight-forward BOTB contest. Nuttin' fancy, no shock 'n' awe, no "Look, Mom, no hands!" Not "a bunch of okie-doke" and no special arcane information that you need your Little Orphan Annie Secret Agent Decoder Ring for. I'm not trying to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. This is just a basic  "meat  'n'  tater  tots" Battle -- like BOTB was meant to be. (I might even have room to include some advertising!)

'I GOTTA RIGHT TO SING THE BLUES' is an old Jazz and Blues standard. What else ya need to know?

Best if you don't watch the videos, so the images won't interfere with the judgment of your ears. 

First up is "Dorothy" from 'The Wizard Of Oz'. It comes from Judy Garland's 1957 album 'Alone'.

'I GOTTA RIGHT TO SING THE BLUES' by Judy Garland
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsCW0JNEuK0

.
EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER

Next is Keely Smith, the wife of Louis Prima (aka "King Louie" from Disney's animated classic 'The Jungle Book'). It comes from the album 'The Wildest Show At Tahoe', recorded live at Harrah's, Lake Tahoe, in 1958. It's Prima, Smith, and Sam Butera & The Witnesses.

'I GOTTA RIGHT TO SING THE BLUES' by Keely Smith
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgKV-v_n18c
 
.
GOODNIKS  VS.  NO-GOODNIKS
.
.
.
GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
.
HOME  OF  CALIFORNIA  FRUITS  &  NUTS
.
 .
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...

@ ‘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. 
@ '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

Friday, June 10, 2016

LETTER TO LEE


I received an Email from Lee ("Arlee Bird") of 'Tossing It Out' and he sounded very good, very upbeat. They're running some tests but his doctor doesn't think anything is very seriously wrong and Lee hopes and expects to be back online in some days. Let's keep him in our prayers and hope that Lee and his doctor are right. 

Below is my r-E-ply to Lee's E:


YOU DUMBASS! ~
 
So there you are, just lounging around in your pajamas in a fancy, expensive bed while some busty blonde nurse feeds you Daiquiris all day, eh?

Do you realize that about 4 hours before your post went up I had a bunch of people praying for you and Sheboyganboy Six scrambling to find your phone number for me? I knew something was wrong. Lee doesn't just disappear without publishing a BOTB Results post; Lee doesn't leave comments unaddressed for 2.5 days!

You didn't reply to my text, and I was going to give you about 4 hours to answer my Email, then I was going to call you (as soon as SBB-6 found your phone number).

Seriously, I was very concerned that perhaps you were pushing up daisies, that you had kicked the bucket, bought the farm, that you had gone to that Great 'Battle Of The Bands' in the sky!

That was my first real concern!

And my second concern, which was almost as great as the first, was that you were six feet under and had left a Justin Bieber song on your blog as the final post! I was actually praying to God the Father to give you a second chance so that you could at least post once more. Who wants "I'm a Belieber" to be what everyone remembers them for? Surely, not even you, Lee!

I kept thinking about that black comedy scene in the great movie 'FALLING DOWN'. I couldn't help thinking of you as that golfer, and Justin Bieber as your "stupid little hat". 😁


 
I'm so glad that God answered our prayers, that you seem to be basically OK, and that you won't be eternally associated with the Biebs.

Man, I was already thinking about a virtual wake: Should we have hot dogs, pizza and beer? Or just buttermilk and Bieber?

In the future, Lee, please try to be less self-centered and think more about your Blogosphere buddies. You know, the least you could have done was quickly post a blog bit saying something like this:

FRIENDS ~
I apologize for the brevity of this hastily composed blog bit but I'm writing it from the back of a screaming ambulance as it's transporting me to the hospital. The password to my Blogger account is 123ABC. Just in case I don't pull through, will someone please post something on my blog? Anything. Just so long as my final post isn't about Justin Bieber. Thank you, my friends.
 
~ Stephen

POSTSCRIPT: Lee, in all seriousness now... I was genuinely concerned and we were really praying for you, even though we didn't know what the trouble was that we were praying about. I'm very relieved that you're alright and will be blogging for a good while yet. We look forward to your next post from home and hope you're perfectly well again by the June 15th BOTB installment. Prayer Changes Things. (And have a Daiquiri for me.)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfuBREMXxts


~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

2016, JUNE 1: BOTB RESULTS (TRIBUTE TO FAE: CHRISSIE HYNDE & THE PRETENDERS VS. BOB DYLAN & THE BAND)

.

This 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') installment turned out terrific, and I'm really pleased since it was a tribute to our friend (and first BOTBer) Far Away Eyes. I would have been bummed had it been a boring blowout.

As always, major thanks to everyone - all you DogGs and DogGettes - who came by and took the time to listen and cast a vote. As usual, there was some fun in the comment section. The page with the Battle and the comment exchanges can be found HERE.

I agonized over putting this Battle together. The first part was simple: From the moment I found that Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders cover of Dylan's 'FOREVER YOUNG', I knew that I'd found a worthy contender for him.

Where the agony came in was trying to decide which of three Bob Dylan videos to use. Bear in mind that my first objective ALWAYS is to try creating the most competitive contest I can. Even when one of my very favorite artists is involved, I attempt to keep it all on a level playing field, all on the up and up. I NEVER try to skew things for or against either artist!

Also, I am of the belief that no matter how many times you say "Please vote ONLY on the recording; DO NOT let yourself be influenced by the videos", it's a difficult request and some visitors are better than others at following it. I suspect a fair amount of voters ARE sometimes influenced by the images, even if only subconsciously. Therefore, I put a lot of thought into matching up the videos as well as the recordings (although sometimes your options are few and fewer).

My first thought was to use Bob Dylan's studio ballad version of 'Forever Young' because I like it, and it also was my preferred type of video for ALL BOTB installments (when available). It was just a static image, forcing the listener to concentrate entirely on the sound without any visual distractions:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLU4jlR18UQ


But after about 30 listenings to it, I felt that since this version really features Dylan's vocals more than anything else, and Chrissie Hynde's vocal was so sublime, this was feeding Dylan right into her wheelhouse where he couldn't possibly beat her on her home field.

So, I decided to use the much more rockin' live version with The Band from their farewell concert, "The Last Waltz". This gave me two versions of the song that were more stylistically diverse, and it also tied in with my "farewell, last waltz-like" tribute to FAE.

Now my problem was WHICH video to use? I had two choices - both of them were the exact same audio ('Forever Young' by Bob Dylan & The Band at 1976's "The Last Waltz"). I could use the photo montage video, which I thought included a lot of great pictures and would match up well against the photo montage video I was forced to use for The Pretenders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1fSVbBwVX8


My other choice was a video with the actual footage of Dylan & The Band playing the song at the 1976 concert:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtFEzhaNrT4


But I have a theory that when a voter has the opportunity to actually WATCH the artist performing the song live, it gives him/her an advantage. That can be powerful, influential imagery, seeing the singers / musicians creating the music before your eyes. (That's why we pay too much money to attend concerts, right?)

So, just as I felt Dylan's studio recording - focused primarily on his vocals - gave Chrissie Hynde too much of an advantage, I also felt that the Dylan video showing him and The Band performing the song live gave HIM too much of an advantage over Chrissie. Therefore, I went with the "happy medium" and put the two photo montage videos against each other. And what happened?...

Shoot! Chrissie & The Pretenders got the first 5 votes right out of the chute! After 12 votes were recorded, The Pretenders had 10 of them. THIS was Blowout City, DogGs & DogGettes, and it was NOT how I wanted this FAE Tribute to go. (Especially since she's a huge Dylan & The Band fan.) So, I decided to try a little experiment; I decided to do something I'd never done before. I decided to change videos in mid-stream...

Yup! I removed the photo montage video of Dylan & The Band and replaced it with the live footage video of Dylan & The Band. SAME EXACT RECORDING, mind you! Note-for-note it was the identical song, but suddenly voters were seeing the performers playing those notes, rather than just hearing them while pictures of Dylan flashed on the screen. Just a little experiment to see what would happen, and with the hope that this Tribute Battle would become a bit more competitive. And what do you think happened?...

Dylan got 4 of the next 5 votes that came in. Of course it's quite possible (and maybe even likely) that shift in momentum was going to happen even if I hadn't changed the video. This was an entirely unscientific experiment and without any "controls" in place it's impossible to quantify the effect it had on the voting numbers. All I know for sure is that suddenly Dylan & The Band came roaring back immediately and I had an exciting, A-list, come-from-behind Battle on my hands. And THAT made me happy.

As much as I love Bob Dylan's songwriting, and as much as his outside-the-box thinking influenced my creative spirit, this was actually a tough vote for me to cast. At one time, I was seriously thinking about voting for Chrissie & The Pretenders, but the sincerity and "all in" approach of Dylan (as FAE called it) ultimately won me over.

[If you ever liked ANYTHING I've written, you can thank Bob Dylan for it, because his album (link:) 'BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME' hugely influenced my writing style due to countless revolutions that LP made on my turntable back in the late '70s. I didn't even realize Dylan had influenced me in the least until maybe year 2000 when I heard that album again for the first time in about 20 years. I wrote about this discovery a couple times on my defunct 'STUFFS' blog.]



So, I know, I know -- you wanna know how this BOTB installment turned out! Can you believe THIS?!!...

Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders = 13 votes
Bob Dylan & The Band = 13 votes

Yes, sir or madam, that's my 10th BOTB tie.
Alright, I can live with it. Considering that Bob & The Band were down 10 votes to 2 at one point, yes, yes, I can live with THIS! And, really, both recordings are so damned good in their own ways that I'm almost happy to have another tie... this once!

Thanks again, y'all, and I hope to see ya back here for my June 15th 'Battle Of The Bands' blog bit!

Please be sure to read FAE's 3-part comment posted here in the comment section. She asked me to transfer that from the original post because she wanted to make sure y'all saw it.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

2016, JUNE 1: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, TRIBUTE TO FAE: THE PRETENDERS VS. BOB DYLAN)


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’)

 

As you no doubt already know, FarAwayEyes - the very first BOTBer - has dropped out of our BOTB blogfest. I'm sad. Sad I am.

For those newbies who might not know the story, BOTB started [link:] on FAE's blog on July 10, 2013. Right [link:] HERE! The song was 'SUMMERTIME' and the contestants were Nina Simone and the band Muse. (Nina won in a blowout. ...Just like Donald Trump's gonna do.)

Back then, FAE had a regular blog posting schedule, and she was just looking for something she could toss up on her blog to satisfy her Wednesday blog bit demand. She quickly threw together this "Battle Of The Bands" idea which she figured was a "one and done" thing. BUT!...

I had other ideas. 

I thought the concept was so much fun and had so much potential that I urged FAE to make it a semi-regular feature on her blog. When she didn't agree fast enough, I told her I was going to steal the idea and make it a semi-regular feature on MY blog. After a few Email exchanges, I convinced her that it was something we should do together and we ironed out the details - like, which days to post on, which days to close the voting and announce the winners, etc. I created the official BOTB logo for the two of us to use and we were off and runnin'. (FUN FACT: Did you know that the "blue" text in the 'Battle Of The Bands' logo was specifically chosen by me because FAE nearly always posted her blog bits in blue writin'?)

I can tell you honestly that never once did either of us entertain the idea of this being an "open to the public" blogfest. Neither of us ever even mentioned that idea. We just agreed to do it together. BUT!...

Other bloggers enjoyed what we were doing so much that, after 3 official BOTB installments were in the books, folks began asking if they could join us, and that's how this blogfest was born.

BOTBers have come and gone - and now our Founding Father Mother has left - but BOTB shows no signs of coming to an end anytime soon.

So, this Battle is my farewell tribute to my dear friend, FAE. (I still remember the first time I called her "FAE" in one of her comment sections. She sent me an "E" asking what FAE stood for and why I called her that. My reply was protly smart-assed, something along the lines of: Gee, I dunno, FarAwayEyes! What do YOU think it means?)

It cracks me up that she subsequently became known as "FAE" throughout our corner of the Blogosphere. (And contrary to what some people may think, FAE is not my [link:] "lovely wife". But we both got a kick out of Kim's remark!)

Over the course of the 67 BOTBs we participated in, FAE and I did a few fun "themed" Battles. Such as using the same two artists against each other on two different songs on the same date. Or the couple times when we used four different artists on the same song at the same time. And then two weeks later, we had the two winners from our respective Battles face off against each other on that same song to see who, of the four artists, would claim the 'Battle Of The Bands' crown for that particular tune. Those were cool, outside-the-box contests.

OK, this BOTB tribute consists of 3 songs, and the third song, with its two versions, constitutes this BOTB installment, which you are being asked to vote on. 

Alright, let’s get on it...

FAE's  OLD  BLOG  HEADER  (Lake  Tahoe,  Nevada / California)

One thing I'll miss with FAE gone is her occasional testimonies for THE Messiah, our Holy King and Savior. (NO!!! Not Barack Obama! I mean our [link:] Surfin' Jesus. But don't tell Barack he's not the savior. That would crush his ego spirit.) FAE knows Yeshua. I know she knows Him (seriously!!) And I can assure you that FAE's faith is so strong that she could run 144,000 red lights in His honor. The heathen, Mick Jagger, could only muster up a mere 20...

'SURFIN'  JESUS'  by  Bryan  Pedus

'FAR AWAY EYES' by The Rolling Stones
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyK1bZZ7E-s

Alright, all y'all knew FAE as "FAE" (thanks to me). But did you ever know her "real", "official", "authentic" nickname? I gave it to her long before y'all knew her. And believe me, NO  NICKNAME is official until I, me, myself give it. Period!

FAE's real nickname is: NITRO  WILBURY  BABSKIDDO. I ain't a-gonna 'splain it to ya. ("I don't explain if you don't understand." ~Waylon Jennings) But if you've made the "Traveling Wilburys" connection, pat yerself on the back for bein' smarter'n the average bear.

My next tribute song to FAE had a monumental influence upon me deciding what her real, official, authentic nickname should be...

'HANDLE WITH CARE' by The Traveling Wilburys
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8s9dmuAKvU
  

Now comes my third song tribute - the bestest one - and my official BATTLE OF THE BANDS entry.

In 1974, Bob Dylan released his 14th studio album, titled 'PLANET WAVES'. It was far, Far, FAR from the worst album of all time, but I do think it has probably the ugliest album cover of all time:


'Planet Waves' included (the great!) The Band backing Dylan and featured the song 'You Angel You' (later covered by Manfred Mann's Earth Band), and two versions of 'FOREVER YOUNG' - an uptempo version and a ballad version. So, OBVIOUSLY, this BOTB installment features the two different versions going face-to-face, right?

"WRONG!" (~Waylon Jennings)

I really, Really, REALLY wanted to do a 'Forever Young' BOTB tribute to Nitro Wilbury Babskiddo (or FAE to the rest o' you) but I couldn't find a good cover version to compete. I very nearly gave up the idea and considered just posting the song independently of BOTB, when I suddenly stumbled upon a fabulous cover by Chrissie Hynde & The Pretenders. Apparently their cover was featured in the movie 'Free Willy, Part 2'. OK, I never even saw Part 1 because I didn't know Nelson was ever in prison. Yeah, I knew he'd had some IRS troubles, but prison time? Color me "Stupid Stephen".

Who knew Chrissie could sing so well? Gosh! I always hated The Pretenders. Now, in 2016, I discover what a gift Chrissie had - a seriously super singin' voice - and I think of all that time she wasted singin' shit like 'Brass In Pocket' and 'Back On The Chain Gang' when she could have been recording GREAT songs like 'FOREVER YOUNG' and so many American Standards that have stood the test of time. What a freakin' waste of talent. Yeah, that crap made her rich and famous but..... what a freakin' waste! Damn-it, man! She's got an A-list terrific voice! Who the hellck knew?!

Then my next problem was which Bob Dylan recording to use. I had 3 different YouTube videos to choose from and I agonized over it. Finally, I decided on one, but it was horribly difficult and I even consulted some outside advice. In the end, I went with my own reasons, and we'll see how this turns out. If the voting is close, then when I announce my results, I'll also 'splain my options and the thinking that went into choosing the one I did.

We'll start with THE PRETENDERS because the video includes the lyrics on-screen. Remember, it's about the music, NOT the videos!:

'FOREVER YOUNG' by The Pretenders
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-ef6l8L2Hk


And now the writer, Bob Dylan, with (the great!) The Band backing him at The Band's final concert: "The Last Waltz" in San Francisco, 1976.

'FOREVER YOUNG' by Bob Dylan & The Band
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1fSVbBwVX8


FAE / NWB, we'll really miss you at BOTB.
"May you Bless and Be Blessed" ~STMcC
...And "May you stay Forever Young!" ~Bob Dylan 

[If any of ya BOTBers want an A-list Tribute like this one posted for ya on my blog, it's really easy to get. ...All ya gotta do is... QUIT ...or share a prison cell with Willie Nelson.]
 

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...

@ ‘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. 
@ '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