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

Saturday, July 15, 2017

2017, JULY 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, NAT KING COLE VS. SPANKY AND OUR GANG)

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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, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Band Vs. Band...
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'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB')
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Yes, it's time once again for 'Battle Of The Bands' ('BOTB').
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Alright, let's get on it. Let's get ON this thing!...
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EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
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My Pa's favorite singer was NAT KING COLE. My Pa passed away on April 10, 1996. That was two years and four days after I had an unexpected encounter with Jesus Christ and became a [Maverick] Christian.

Since then, many times, my Pa has used the music of NAT KING COLE to let me know he's still alive and aware of what's going on in my life. But, ironically, the first time he did this, he was "technically" still alive:

Pa had contracted some very rare disorder and was in an Intensive Care Unit in a Phoenix hospital. I was working at a health food store in Phoenix when I got a phone call in which I was told that Pa had slipped into an unconscious state and that I should probably get to the hospital ASAP. I left work immediately and began the drive to the hospital. 

While on my way to the ICU, suddenly the NAT KING COLE recording of 'SMILE' was played on the radio station I was tuned to. (The lyrics to 'Smile' were penned by the silent film star Charlie Chaplin.) I instinctively knew that this song was a personal message to me from my Pa, whom I loved dearly.

My Pa passed over to the other side about two days later, and since then, he has repeatedly used NAT KING COLE songs to let me know that he's still around and that I should... "Smile". (That's a message I can't hear enough!)

Below are just two of the many stories I could tell, that are equally surprising, in which my Pa has contacted me through NAT KING COLE songs. I have edited, paraphrased, and heavily condensed these stories from a Dream / Spiritual Notebook I kept for many years. In other words, these stories are not from memory, but from notes I typed up at the time the events occurred:
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GOODNIKS  VS.  NO-GOODNIKS
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(Monday) Feb. 26, 2001
Dear Ol' Pa got through to me again tonight. For 2 or 3 weeks I've intended to rent the movie 'THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP', to see if I still hate it as much as I did when I saw it in the theatre in 1982. (I did.) 

While meditating Saturday or yesterday, I suddenly heard an Inner Voice say very clearly, "I will see you Monday". I didn't know what to make of this. WHO will see me Monday? 

For the first half of the day, I intently watched and analyzed EVERYTHING I saw and heard, expecting to have some sort of Divine experience. But as the day went on and nothing unusual happened, I kind of forgot about the message.

Tonight [*Monday*], I finally got around to watching 'THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP', and at one point in the movie, suddenly [*through a car radio, if I recall correctly*] the NAT KING COLE version of 'There Will Never Be Another You' was played. ... A day or two earlier, Pa -- from the "other side" -- knew that I would be watching that movie on Monday and that the soundtrack contained a Nat King Cole song, and so, in a sense, he and I would be meeting -- we would "see" each other.

... I wish he had simply told me to save the time and money and skip watching 'THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP'. [*Yes, I'm ALWAYS snarkastic -- even in my own personal notebooks!*]

Feb. 17, 1997
I had not attended the Tuesday night 'A Search For God' group meeting for 3 or 4 weeks. Despite lack of sleep and a grueling 13-hour work day, I decided to force myself to go.

On my way there, I inexplicably decided to change my car radio station from KAHM to KOY. I'd been listening to KAHM for at least 3 uninterrupted months when I was incomprehensibly compelled to change it.

At the meeting, during the closing group meditation, I finally -- after much struggling -- slipped into the meditative state. And I saw myself standing in place with a stream of very sparkling, powdery substance shooting up around me and over me in erratic, circular motions, and then falling back down, softly, all around and over me.

I thought to myself: What is this?
And then my mind, independent of my own thinking, answered: "STARDUST". I had no idea what that meant.

The group meditation came to a close and we all said our goodbyes and left. 

As I went to start my truck, I suddenly had the idea that I was about to "see" my Pa. I put it out of my mind quickly because it seemed so ridiculous. How was I going to see my departed Pa? Was he going to appear in the truck's windshield or something like that? 

I started the truck (which my Pa owned until he passed away) and I drove several blocks when SUDDENLY the melody of the song, which had been playing at the moment I started the truck's engine, registered in my mind. 

The song was 'STARDUST'. (Songwriter Hoagy Carmichael's most famous song.)

The singer was NAT KING COLE.

Why had I decided to force myself to go to the 'A Search For God' group meeting, despite being exhausted and having missed the previous 3 or 4 meetings?

While driving to the meeting, why did I suddenly feel compelled to change the radio station I'd been listening to for months on end?

Why did I find myself mentally enveloped in "stardust" during the group meditation?

Why was I inexplicably overwhelmed with the feeling that I was about to "see" my Pa?

And why was KOY playing the Nat King Cole song 'STARDUST' at the moment I started up my Pa's old truck? 

Coincidences? Yeah, sure. Right. OKfine. Whatever ya say.

And that brings us to today's BOTB contest. Please evaluate the following recordings as individuals. Don't let the preceding stories color the way you vote. This Battle has NUTTIN' to do with my Pa, my Spiritual life, or your beliefs. It has NUTTIN' to do with the images in the videos. It is about NUTTIN' more than this: Which recording of this song do you, yourself, personally, as an independently thinking, intellectually honest person, like better? Because it makes no difference to me where your vote lands. I just want it to be honest! You know? Like, as in, "HONEST"?

Question: "Will Nat King Cole win this Battle?"
MAGIC 8-BALL sez:  "As I see it, yes"
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GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
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STARDUST by Nat King Cole
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzRWwQK5OQ0

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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN
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STARDUST by Spanky And Our Gang

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Oops! Sorry. Wrong "Spanky And Our Gang".
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I actually meant the great but mostly forgotten vocal group who scored the Top 20 hit 'Like To Get To Know You' in 1968, and who were better'n The Mamas & The Papas:
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyWYeCJQB6E

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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, check out the other ongoing Battles and 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.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE' 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.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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29 comments:

  1. Hard to beat the vocals of Cole and the arrangement of his version of "Stardust" is absolutely beautiful. However, the genius and originality of the Our Gang arrangement is a real winner. Outstanding vocals and harmonies add to the mix and that all cinches my vote for Spanky and Gang.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, LEE.
      Shutout avoided with the very first vote registered. (Because, of course, ain't no way King Cole wasn't gonna get some votes.)

      ~ D-FensDogG
      [Link:) Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

      Delete
  2. I love this song, it was my parent song and therefore always makes me think of them. Momma and Daddy we're an unusual pair and I'm grateful for the unorthodox upbringing I enjoyed. Did I ever tell you that they met on a blind date. Yep, Daddy asked this girl he was dating to fix his buddy up with one of her friends and she did, my mother. Daddy decided he liked his buddy's date better an his, so he took the other couple home early, dropped off his date and went back to Momma's house to asks her out. I told you they were a bit unusual. I guess Daddy knew what he wanted.

    Anyway, I gotta vote for the more traditional version by Nat. It's how my parent listened to it and in my mind I can see them gliding across the dance floor (they always danced when it was played). Sparky did a great job, but this one's for Momma and Daddy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FAE ~
      Ain't no way you were gonna get the first vote in with Lee up and making the rounds at 5:20 AM.

      That's a great story about how your Pa and Ma met. Very funny. I'll bet that didn't do anything positive for the friendship between your Ma and her gal pal.

      Thanks for the vote and the story, FAE!

      ~ D-FensDogG
      [Link:) Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

      Delete
  3. GREAT song; not a good one, a great one.

    In the kitchen of my childhood, I've mentioned my Dad ruled the airwaves and intercom radio knob. Weekend breakfasts and heck, any time the alcohol blood level raised paternallly, you'd hear his favorite tunes. Nat King Cole was high on the list of Fred Favorites.

    As a kid, that irked me, because some perfectly good Monkees tunes lurked on those airwaves, too. Paul Revere and the Raiders beckoned...Cat Stevens needed my fandom.

    Then, you jump forward to 2107, and I'd love to hear some of Dad's tunes or see him and Mom slow dance to their favorite songs. Just once more.

    Next best thing: hearing it on your battle. Give my vote to NAT 'ALWAYS THE KING" COLE.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. CHERDO ~
      Why da noive of him! Playin' Nat King Cole when you coulda had da Monkees!

      Doh! You coulda had a V8, too.

      So nice to see you back in the BOTB circus, my friend. We missed you while you were away.

      Jump forward to "2107"? That's more like a gigantic Superman leap. ;^)

      ~ D-FensDogG
      [Link:) Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

      Delete
  4. There really is no comparison when it come to Nat King Cole. Such a smooth, velvety voice. He could sing me the phone book and I'd be happy.

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MMQE ~
      As a matter of fact, on one of my Nat King Cole compact discs there's a recording of him singing the phone book, from "Carlson to Davenport", and it sounds pretty darn good.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      [Link:) Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

      Delete
  5. Sixgun McItchyfingerJuly 15, 2017 at 6:37 PM

    I vote for Spanky and Our Gang... the Valentine's Day version.

    I'm (as usual) a party pooper. I have never been a fan of NKC, nor S&OG. I think they were all talented and can see why someone might like 'em... just not me.

    But with this song and these two performers, Nat's version is way more pleasant and listenable, so I guess my real vote needs to go there.

    I wish you guys were still doing two BOTBs a month. My natural disagreeableness would be less noticeable because I'd have more opportunities to occasionally like sumpin!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SHEBOYGANBOY SIX ~
      It's true and there's no denying it -- as you said -- you've developed a reputation for being the BOTBPP (Battle Of The Bands Party Pooper). It's that vast "Musical Divide" which you astutely recognized and named years ago.

      I came to accept it long ago, and it sounds like you've finally come around to accepting it as well, rather then letting it frustrate you as you once did. That's healthy. It's only Rock 'N' Roll but... it's OK if you don't like it (to paraphrase that manly Mick).

      However, every other blue Moon, you like my selections, and that's always a surprisingly nice treat. (If I recall correctly, I think you actually liked all three of the recordings in my last Battle, the 3-Way between Clayton, Collins & Franky Perez. So, statistically speaking, there was no way you could like THIS Battle.)

      Unfortunately, though, your vote for Nat leaves me in a quandary, since Lee voted for Spanky. Looks like I'm going to be forced to agree with one of you guys this time. Don't we hate it when that happens? [;^)}

      ~ D-FensDogG
      [Link:) Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

      Delete
  6. Interesting story about the connection to your dad and Nat King Cole. Thanks for sharing it! Nat really is the 'King' here, in my opinion. I'm voting for him, but also enjoyed the other choice. Thanks for the smile brought on by the Little Rascals video!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the vote, and I'm glad you found the story interesting. I have so many more of them written up in my Spiritual Notebook. I was flipping through it the other day for the first time in many years and I was shocked at how many of them there were which I had not even remembered.

      Fun Fact: I used to automatically think of the spelling of your name as Debby. If someone told me to write that name, the spelling I'd have naturally used would have ended in "y". But since meeting you, I've gotten so used to writing it as "Debbie" that it's now my "go-to" spelling.

      Case In Point: I noticed after the fact that on Cherdo's BOTB installment, I wrote Debby Boone as "Debbie". And I see that everyone else is following suit.

      I guess this goes to show that sometimes an OLD DOG (me) really can learn a NEW TRICK. ;^)

      ~ Stephen
      [Link:) Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

      Delete
  7. Hi Stephen,
    First of all, that was one very adorable Spanky & Our Gang segment!! So cute they were. That really made me giggle. Thanks for that!

    And thanks for sharing your encounters with your Pa on those occasions. Like you, I have no doubt that he was contacting you. Aren't you so glad that you recorded the experience with such vivid detail? When things like that happen, you often think "Oh I'll never forget any of this!" but then the years pass and the memory fades and well, you do forget some of the details. I'm thrilled for you that you kept such a complete accounting of the experiences so that you can re-live them many times over. And share them with us! Long live your Pa in the music of Nat King Cole!

    As for your battle: I never heard of the group Spanky & Our Gang from the 60s. I enjoyed their Stardust song. Really nice harmonies.
    But, to my ear, it's no match for Nat King Cole's Stardust. His version is far superior. And his voice, along with that music, made me float. It was beautiful.
    Nat King Cole gets my vote. And I'm going to venture a guess here that your 8-Ball is right on!

    Enjoy your Sunday. talk soon,

    Michele at Angels Bark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MICHELE ~
      In the early '80s, when I was a member of that drinking gang, The League Of Soul Crusaders, we used to have a nickname for all those bands we considered to be "Corporate Stadium Rock". We called them all "REOJOURNEYSTYXWAGON".

      Truth be told though, I've always liked REO Speedwagon, especially their HI-inFIdelity album. Here's a song from that album and, in my book, it has the best intro to a Rock song ever:

      [Link:) TOUGH GUYS

      How clever was that?

      Yes, I'm so glad I kept that notebook all those years. It's divided into two sections: Dreams & Dream Interpretations / Meditation Visions.

      Flipping around in it the other day, my own mind was blown. I'd forgotten to remember a lot of it (because it's huge and densely packed with stuffs) and I'd forgotten how locked into The Holy Spirit's guidance I once was. I would LOVE to get back to the Spiritual state I was in then. I would probably need to give up the Internet to do that, though.

      Someday, after God has called me Home, someone going through my belongings is going to look in that notebook and be astounded -- be VERY ASTOUNDED!

      Thanks for the vote. For sure, the 8-Ball has gotten his "Magic" back. He's now officially on a roll.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      [Link:) Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

      Delete
    2. Hey, Tough Guys is good! I forgot about that one...and I love REO, especially the You Can Tune a Piano but You Can't Tuna Fish album (I always thought that was the best album title -- and to think it made the list of the Worst Album Titles in History!)
      I love your "corporate stadium rock" groups: that should be no surprise to you though, knowing me. I never saw Styx in concert. Saw Journey and REO. Styx's Man in the Wilderness is probably my favorite Styx song.

      I was just over at your battle results post and came back to the battle here to listen to the Spanky & Our Gang version of Stardust. It is quite good and I can see why it amazes you so.

      Okay, going back to leave a comment on that post. See you over there... :)

      Delete
    3. MICHELE ~
      From 1975 - 1977, my favorite band in the world was Styx. The first Rock concert I ever attended was in '75 or '76 and it was Styx opening for Journey at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

      The second Rock concert I ever attended was Mink DeVille opening for Styx at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1977.

      And the third Rock concert I ever saw was, again in '77 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium: Journey opening for Styx.

      All the concerts become a blur in my mind after that. Mr. Al Coe Hall is to blame.

      But today, I HATE Styx. I always hated Journey. And the best of those three bands (IMO) was Mink DeVille. By far!

      Ha! Time has a way of changing us, eh?

      ~ D-FensDogG
      [Link:) Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

      Delete
  8. I love the Little Rascals and used to watch them all the time. Darla was such a tease. As for the battle, I give it to Nat King Cole who sang this so beautifully. I could really stand the Sparky Gang singers and could never listen to that style even though the trumpet section was excellent. You dad is always sending you messages which is very nice indeed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BIRGIT ~
      Thanks for checking in with your vote. I appreciate it.

      I haven't heard from my Pa in awhile, but I know he's still watching, and I expect he's got another trick up his sleeve.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      (link:] Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

      Delete
  9. First: great choice of songs. Hoagy Carmichael, like the Gershwins and Irving Berlin, was a national treasure.

    Nat King Cole gave this song his always-great treatment. He had a gorgeous voice, and kudos to him for including the verse at the beginning of the song that so many songs from this era had. Under most circumstances, he would run away with this.

    But Spanky and Our Gang damn near knocked me out of my chair with that four-part harmony that was always so great in the big-band era. Think The Modernaires, or their latter-day equivalent, The Manhattan Transfer. I love that kind of harmony, mostly because there are so few performers that do it anymore. And the way they slipped from "Stardust" to "Like To Get To Know You" in the last minute as the song faded was just wonderful.

    Put me down for Spanky & Our Gang!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, JOHN! It's hard to go wrong when you start with a genuine classic of a tune.

      Yes, sir, that arrangement by S&OG is really something else. Somewhere, while putting this Battle together, I ran across a comment where a person stated that it was actually S&OG's version of 'STARDUST' that was the inspiration behind the formation of The Manhattan Transfer. I can't confirm that, but it seems possible.

      And I'm glad to see S&OG get another vote, because this Battle has not been close, as I (mistakenly) thought it would be.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      (link:] Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

      Delete
  10. Al Bondigas here. Hmmmmm, you done picked a goot juan here. Im a big fan of Spanky and our Gang as I am The Mammas and the Pappas. Probably even more so than Nat King Cole. But, with this song I'm going to have to make a rulin' fer The Nat Man. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Nat's as well, but, you know how I am with my less than sophisticated taste in music. Gotta have my hooks, right? Anyway, rulin' fer Nat King Cole over the hippies. That's it, that's my rulin'. Ohh, and tell pa he's more than welcome to contact me as well. You know, ME, the middle child.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JUDGE AL ~
      No one cares about the middle child. C'mon, man, you know that!

      Besides, Pa did contact you on that Christmas Day, just like I said he would. Crossword puzzle, remember?

      Yer vote really surprises me here. I know how much you like vocal groups such as the Beach Boys, Mamas & Papas, 5th Dimension, etc. So I figured your vote for Spanky & Our Gang was in the bag.

      BOTB -- still full of surprises.

      Thanks for the vote, Bro.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      (link:] Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

      Delete
  11. And Stephen,

    Good battle, good song...My vote goes to Nat King Cole just a bit classier. I do like Spanky's harmony but Nat gets my vote. Now for a Baretta Roll over the ottoman because "It's Saturday! It's Saturday!"

    JW,
    Pooh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...AND POOH, THAT'S NOT ALL!!...
      Thanks for the vote.

      I got your post card the other day, and I totally get that triad of personalities, Brother. Ha! But without Nappy's gyrations, which come across perfectly in those hands, it would just be another bearded guy with wild hair. Gotta have the Napster's drunken epilepsy. :o)

      That was great. "The madness of Summers spent together" -- you said it, Pooh!

      Thanks for the vote AND the POST CARD. Now Baretta Roll yer ass back to work. Your troops are lost without you, aimlessly wandering the concrete parking structure jungles.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      [Link:) Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

      POSTSCRIPT: When you have a chance, check out my latest review at the site linked above. It's about both Robert Johnson's music AND "The League".

      Delete
  12. I guess I'll just get it out of the way right now and say nothing can top Nat King Cole's rendition. Pure perfection. Spanky and Our Gang is still great, but can't compare to Nat.

    Fantastic stories about your Pa and how he lets you know he's doing okay. My dad often lets me know he's doing okay. I'll be sitting there, and I can swear I hear his voice, calling out to me. It's faint, but it's there.

    I really need to get better insulation for my basement.

    ~JSA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. >>... I really need to get better insulation for my basement.

      Yeah. Either that, or get out of the Millennial mindset AND get out of your parents' basement.

      Glad to learn your Pa is doing fine... upstairs. (As opposed to the "Great Upstairs".)

      Thanks for the bote, Brother!

      ~ D-FensDogG
      (link:] Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

      Delete
  13. The four part harmony was a nice touch, but Nat King Cole earns my vote

    ReplyDelete
  14. ATTENTION PEOPLES!
    If you are interested in seeing the final vote tally for this 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' installment and my closing thoughts on it, you can put the following URL into your browser:

    https://stmccpresentsbattleofthebands.blogspot.com/2017/07/botb-results-for-2017-july-15-or-nat.html

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete

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