.
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. 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.
.
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.]

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

BOTB RESULTS -- 2017, NOV. 15: Or, RANDY NEWMAN VERSUS WAYLON JENNINGS

.
First things first... I sincerely thank each one of you who took the time to listen, think, and write in your vote votes on my latest installment of BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB). It was a nice 20-voter turnout! And I again wish to thank Sixgun McItchyfinger whose suggestion that I return to the "Battle For Los Angeles" concept was the inspiration for this fun contest!
.
It was Randy Newman's 'I LOVE L.A.' versus Waylon Jennings' 'HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH TO LIVE IN L.A.?' The yin vs. the yang. Both songs and accompanying videos were competing against each other. Although I personally like BOTH Songs and BOTH Videos, I figured in the latter category, Randy had a huge advantage since his video was professionally produced and got heavy airplay in the years of "Music Television" (MTV). Is there anybody who hadn't seen it before? Doubtful.

One thing I find curious about Randy Newman's video for I LOVE L.A. is the fact that he included a shot of the "Jesus Saves" sign on a rooftop downtown (now long gone) but did NOT include a shot of the world famous "Hollywood" sign. I mean, the "Hollywood" sign is perhaps the third most iconic American landmark -- after the Statue Of Liberty and Mount Rushmore -- and yet Randy ignored it in favor of a Religious / Spiritual sign that only Angelenos knew existed. Interesting!
.
PHOTO BY STEPHEN T. McCARTHY
.
As funny as I think the Waylon Jennings video was (created by a Waymore fan), like so many others, I also voted for the Randy Newman video. It includes so many shots of places I knew very well, and it takes me back to a time when The Boys and I -- The League Of Soul Crusaders -- were drunk, disorderly, and laughing like it was going out of style. ("John Wayne! John Wayne!") We were the wildest things we'd ever seen.

I think that I LOVE L.A. music video might be the best one I ever saw. IMO, it is nearly perfect. Not quite perfect, but nearly so. I love the way the images flash in-sync with the beat of the song, and the way Randy Newman really IS driving on the streets he names.
.
.
Yes, that's really the Western-most point of Santa Monica Boulevard! On the horizon, behind their cool car, is the Pacific Ocean.

Off the top of my mind this morning, the only music video I can think of that I might like better'n I LOVE L.A. is John Fogerty's 'THE OLD MAN DOWN THE ROAD'.
.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbSGMRZsN4Q

.
One of the images I especially like is of the happy "bum" on his knees at Venice Beach:
.
.
Some may not know this, but supposedly the Classic Rock group, THE DOORS, was conceived one day when Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek were hanging out at Venice Beach together. Jim read Ray some of his poetry and Ray said: Let's start a Rock band!
.
THE DOORS AT VENICE BEACH
.
THE DOORS STILL AT VENICE BEACH
.
And below is a shot of THE DOORS at the canals, back around the [link:> "Dogtown" era, when Venice Beach was known as "The ghetto by the sea". Or, "Where the trash meets the surf". Today, you need millions of dollars to buy a house along the Venice canals:
.
THE DOORS AT THE VENICE CANALS
.
Another image from Randy's I LOVE L.A. video that puts a smile on my face is "Randy's Donuts"...
.
.
That donut shop was (still is?) situated right at a freeway offramp where I used to exit on the way to my "Sign Designing" job in '84.

Well, not too surprisingly, Randy Newman easily won the Video Battle:

Randy Newman = 16 votes
Waylon Jennings = 4 votes
.
The Song Battle was a different story!

Although Randy Newman jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead, Waylon Jennings eventually came roaring back. Arlee Bird voted for Randy's video and Waylon's song. Sixgun McItchyfinger did the same. And so did I. Clearly, the Biblical Apocalypse begins today at Noon!!!
.
Although I enjoy the song I LOVE L.A., I think that divorced from its wonderful video with all the colorful, humorous images, it ain't all that. And this might explain why the video was an MTV staple but the song itself never even cracked the Billboard Top 100. I mean, consider these lyrics:

Look at that mountain
Look at those trees
Look at that bum over there, man, he's down on his knees
.
There's nothing special about those lyrics. Not until you add the images that accompany them in the video:

Disneyland's Matterhorn Mountain roller coaster ride
Goofy-looking, good-for-nuttin' Palm Trees
A happy bum in the sun, at the feet of a pretty girl on the beach boardwalk
.
OK, now you've got something!
.
Musically and vocally, I think Waylon's HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH TO LIVE IN L.A. is considerably superior to Newman's I LOVE L.A. You've got that electric guitar and fiddle high-energy buzzsaw sound combined with Waylon's manly baritone vocals and lyrics that can stand on their own:

People dodging bullets crawling down the Interstate
...
They keep waiting for "the Big One", one tremor at a time
There ain't nobody living there...
...It's all a state of mind
.
Waylon's words alone create the images in my mind and make me laugh.
.
The vote tally for the Song Battle wound up like this...

Randy Newman = 10 votes
Waylon Jennings = 10 votes
.
And the MAGIC 8-BALL got BOTH of its predictions wrong. All is right with the world. ...Except for that Apocalypse beginning at Noon.
.
Again, I genuinely thank you all for participating. And I hope you will return here again on December 15th for my Christmas themed Battle Of The Bands installment. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!
.
THE  END!  THE END!!
.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2017, NOV. 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, RANDY NEWMAN VS WAYLON JENNINGS)

.
Yes, it's time once again for 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB').
.
.
Alright, let's get on it. Let's get ON this thing!...
.

As some of you know, I was born and raised in Los Angeles. To be specific, I was born at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and raised in an area that came to be internationally known as [link> "Dogtown" (the Southern part of Santa Monica & the Northern part of Venice Beach).
.
On October 19th, I received an Email from my friend Sheboyganboy Six (also known by his Western name of Sixgun McItchyfinger). In his E, my friend wrote the following:
.
While driving I was listening to Tom Petty singing Free Fallin’.  I really like that song.  As you know, the song mentions Reseda, Ventura Boulevard, and Mulholland.  And whenever I think of L.A. in general, my mind at least touches briefly on you. Yup. You have managed to PERMANENTLY associate yourself in my mind with L.A.
.
It occurred to me that you should consider doing another L.A. themed BOTB.  Maybe throw in Petty... but no need. I liked that L.A. themed BOTB with David & David and Red Hot Chili Peppers, but there are so many songs about L.A. you could probably do a twice a month blog JUST pitching L.A. songs against each other.
.
I Googled the subject, then scanned the wiki page, and HOKEY SMOKE! There must be over 50 different songs just named “Hollywood”!

.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_about_Los_Angeles
.

EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
.
The BOTB installment SBB-6 had referred to was [link> THIS ONE, my 53rd Battle on October 1, 2015. Although I would rank that as one of my Top 10 favorite Battles I've ever put together, the thought of revisiting the "Battle For Los Angeles" concept had never occurred to me until Sheboyganboy Six and his alter ego Sixgun McItchyfinger suggested it. But as I began contemplating it, I was quickly overwhelmed by the almost endless possibilities of future "Twisted BOTB" contests.
.
Thanks to Sheboyganboy Six, I've decided to make this a theme that I will periodically return to in BOTB. And due to requests I've received, I've also decided that I will return to doing two BOTB contests per month beginning on February 1st, 2018.
.
GOODNIKS  VS.  NO-GOODNIKS
.
I r-E-plied to SBB-6's E, listing a bunch of potential L.A.-themed Battles I'd thought of and asked him which of them he thought I should kick this periodic series off with. He said: 
.
"1) Do the Newman / Jennings one next.  You like it and I like it, and so will others. You get a country song in the mix again, which is good. ... That’s it. That’s my rulin’.  WAIT... wrong persona." 
.
And so here it comes, y'all.
.
NOTEThis Battle Is A "Two-Fer". Both music videos are so good that I'm asking you to cast 2 VOTES: One vote for the song you prefer, and one vote for which video you like better.
.

GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
.When I learned some years ago that Randy Newman's song, I LOVE L.A., didn't even crack the Billboard Top 100, I was flabbergasted! I guess the extremely heavy rotation on MTV (back in the 1980s, when MTV played music videos) gave the impression that the song was a massive hit on AM radio.
.
Watch for the 1:50 mark when the "JESUS SAVES" sign downtown makes an appearance. It's gone but not forgotten. I don't know why, but I always loved that sign -- even many years before I became a Christian.
.
ME  @  "JESUS SAVES"  SIGN,  DOWNTOWN  L.A.
.
Then right after that, there's a shot of the Burrito King on Sunset Blvd, which Warren Zevon highly recommended [link> HERE. And at the 3:10 mark, there's a quick shot of the Tom's #5 Chili Burgers joint sign on Pico Blvd, a block from the beach. If those chili-spattered walls could talk!! It, too, is gone now. But the Soul Crusaders and I went there often, never before the bars closed and always in an 80-proof "Liquidated" condition. We had fun, fun, fun 'til the bartenders took our money away!
.
I LOVE L.A. -- Randy Newman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcADqxnQA_4

.
RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN
.
It's no big secret that Waylon Jennings is my all-time favorite Country music artist. I saw him perform live 4 times at 3 different venues. And of the many concerts I've attended in my life, I still consider that first Waylon Jennings show I saw to be my favorite.
.
The second Waylon concert I attended was in late 1988 or early '89, shortly after the release of his 'Full Circle' album which included the song HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH TO LIVE IN L.A.? (The song went to #38 on the Billboard Country music chart.) Waylon was performing in a small club in Los Angeles, and I wondered beforehand if he'd have the guts to play that song there. But, Waylon being Waylon, of course he played it... and I applauded!
.
HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH TO LIVE IN L.A.? -- Waylon Jennings
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Iu7jeZXRlg

.

Question: Will Randy Newman win the "Song" Battle?
Magic 8-Ball sez:  "My Reply Is No"
.
Question: Will Waylon Jennings win the "Video" Battle?
Magic 8-Ball sez:  "It Is Decidedly So"
.
Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome you (whether I know "you" or not) 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. 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.
@ 'CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'RIGHTING & EDITING' by clicking HERE.
@ 'YOUR DAILY DOSE' by clicking HERE.

@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' 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.
.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

BOTB RESULTS: 2017, OCT. 15 (Or, TAJ MAHAL VS. VAN MORRISON)

.
.
Before anything else, I want to thank every one of you who took some time out of your life to visit my BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB) installment, to listen and then cast a vote. I sincerely appreciate ya! May you all bless and be blessed.

Well, the song was the Blues classic 'Good Morning, Little School Girl', and I knew going into this contest that Taj Mahal -- despite having won Arlee Bird's Battle last month -- was going to be a big underdog against Van Morrison (click HERE). I had previously said that I believed Van's version of this song would clobber in a BOTB contest any other rendition of the song I'd ever heard. Therefore I was actually a little concerned about a shutout. Never had one, never want one!

But with the first vote being cast for Taj, my worry about a shutout was dismissed. I could then relax and just watch the chips fall.

To my astonishment, the first four chips (aka votes) fell for Taj Mahal, and I was thinking: Hokey-Smoke! I has a Battle here!!

Alas, not so. Van Morrison then proceeded to reel off twelve straight unanswered votes (including mine), and the affair ended with the predicted clobbering...

Taj Mahal = 4 votes

Van Morrison = 12 votes

I hope y'all will join me here again on November 15th when I will present a new (and hopefully closer) BOTB installment.

But, speaking of Van Morrison, and me feeling a little sad today, let me ask you a Q. (This Q is for everyone, whether you're a regular at this blog, a non-regular, or even a first-timer.)

Is there any song that, for whatever reason, can make you misty-eyed or even bring you to actual tears in just the first 15 to 20 seconds every time you hear it? If so, please do tell! Which song is it? Performed by whom? And, if you feel inclined to share some personal information, please tell us WHY that song has that effect on you.

I'll go first.

For me, the first song that comes to my mind is this one...
.
Pagan Streams by Van Morrison
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpJqVr3F87U

.
I could go on and on and on about what all of the lyrics signify for me, but... I'd probably bore the hell out-ya. So, I'll spare ya. Lemme just say, though, that when Van says "And I want to climb that hillside again, with you, one more time...", the hillside I always see in my mind's eye is this one...
.
.
.
.
Alright, that does it for me; I'm over and out. Thanks again, all y'all. And please return on 11/15, eh?
.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

2017, OCT. 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, TAJ MAHAL VS. VAN MORRISON)

.
'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB')
.
.
Yes, it's time once again for 'Battle Of The Bands' ('BOTB').
.
Alright, let's get on it. Let's get ON this thing!...
.
EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
.
Yes, yes, yes! I know perfectly well that this BOTB blog bit is going to be a really bad blowout. And I'm alright with that, because it's what I expect. I only hope this doesn't actually become my first ever BOTB shutout -- which, I fear, is a possibility.
.
GOODNIKS  VS.  NO-GOODNIKS
.
In Arlee Bird's September 15th BOTB installment, he used the classic Blues song 'GOOD MORNING, LITTLE SCHOOL GIRL', pitting Johnny Winter against Taj Mahal, with the latter winning 12-8.

The song was written by the legendary Sonny Boy Williamson, but the first rendition I ever heard was by the equally legendary Muddy H2Os. I love Muddy so much that I even named my best friend (a stuffed dog) after him!

In the introduction to his Battle, Lee wrote the following:

This song is among the earliest that I placed on my BOTB someday queue.

And I replied:

Same here, LEE. This was probably one of the first 12 songs I listed when I started writing down potential BOTB material. The only problem was that I couldn't find what I felt was the right match-up.

One version that I was determined to use is so good I felt it would clobber every other recording I could find -- including Muddy Waters' version!

So, in almost 3 years of BOTB, I still haven't used this song. But perhaps I'll put my choice against whoever wins this Battle of yours and have them fight for the title. That way if it's a shutout, all of the blame won't fully rest on me. Ha!

When the Countess and I started going together, she was a UCLA student and I was a UCLA employee. I got in the habit of saying to her, "Good Morning, Little School Girl", the first thing after she'd wake up. 

The first time I went to the L.A. Blues Festival, next to the Watts Towers, TAJ MAHAL was the headlining act. And he gets my vote here.

.
"GOOD  MORNING,  LITTLE  SCHOOL  GIRL"
.
Lee responded:

STMcC, I'd have figured somebody would have used this song by now. ... There are so many excellent -- and interesting -- versions that coming up with matches shouldn't be too much of a problem. Hope you'll do the rematch as I'd like to see which version would have been your choice.

And so, here it comes... Lee's winner, Taj Mahal, versus the cover that I think would clobber every other recording of this song in a BOTB match-up. We'll see whether or not I may be right.

Question: Am I right?
The Magic 8-Ball sez:  "Most Likely"
.
GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
.
Taj Mahal -- Good Morning, Little School Girl
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=129-wRooR8o

.
RIDDLER  VS  BATMAN
.
Van Morrison -- Good Morning, Little School Girl
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xndDvXANtFg

.
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, 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.
'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.
@ 'CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'RIGHTING & EDITING' by clicking HERE.
@ 'YOUR DAILY DOSE' 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.
.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

BOTB RESULTS - 2017, SEPT. 15: HOWLIN' WOLF VS. LUCKY PETERSON

.
.
Once again, my Battle Of The Bands installment had a lower voter turnout than it used to have. A couple of my regular DogG and DogGettes did not show up. But beyond that, it just seems the BOTB flame is flickerin'. Oh, well. What can ya do? (Me? I'll just pour some Cruzan Black Strap Rum and make it all better. RRRrrrrr! )

I very sincerely thank each and every one of you who took time out from your life to listen, think, and vote here. You are appreciated.

This was actually a really good Battle (click HERE to see it) and just what I was hoping for. Both versions of WHO'S BEEN TALKIN' were really excellent in my opinion, and several voters expressed the same opinion. And that's why I was surprised when Lucky Peterson came roaring out of the chute and so quickly established a lead over the legendary Howlin' Wolf. It looked like a blowout in the making.

With 6 votes in, Lucky had 5 of 'em! But he was tangling with a howlin' Wolf who came back ferociously. After those first 6 votes came in, Lucky got only 1 more for the duration of the Battle. Even though I too love Lucky's recording, my vote also went to the great, gritty Howlin' Wolf. The outcome looked like this:

Howlin' Wolf = 9 votes

Lucky Peterson = 6 votes

Close Battle, as I thought it should be and fully expected it would be.

Wolf's version of the song was a re-recording that came from an album titled 'The London Sessions', which featured a number of famous British Rock 'N' Rollers such as Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. If you're interested in reading my full (and kinda funny) review of that album, click here: 

I thank you all again for your votes and invite you to return here on October 15th when I will present another BOTB installment featuring thrills, chills, and spills. Uh... well, featuring music, if nuttin' else. But of course there's always a chance I'll spill my Rum and "drop my wallet".

If this low vote count continues, I may have to start incorporating some pornographic photos into my BOTB installments. Nuttin' too dirty, ya un'erstan'? Just tastefully sexy with lots of class. You know, like photos of convertible Cadillacs with their tops down. Who doesn't get turned on by a topless Caddy?!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-NAHH1yAfY


~ Stephen T. McCarthy
.