Monday, March 31, 2014


I’m sitting here thinking… thinking… thinking… about my BATTLE OF THE BANDS post for tomorrow April 1st. I’ve had my song and participants chosen for over a month now and a general idea of what I want to write, but no motivation to do so. Anyway…don’t expect too much, OK?

Whenever I have a little extra money, and some time on my hands I go back to school. I have no degree but probably enough credits for at least three. My problem is that I don’t have the corresponding credits in any one area of study to qualify for the completion of a degree. What can I say? I like to learn, but as the years go by my interests have changed. Also, I have avoided college level math courses like the plague. Don’t broadcast that around, especially to the people who I have done accounting work for.

One of my most exciting ventures back to college was while I lived in Breckenridge, Colorado. There I attended Colorado Mountain College. It was an accredited college with courses that were later accepted at other major universities, but they were a little bit quirky. Like they had a precision ‘lawn chair’ marching band, no musical instruments, just the clicking and clacking of lawn chairs being folded and unfolded, twirled around and all with precision that would put to shame any collegiate ‘normal’ marching band. I guess you had to be there.

I lifted this picture from a file for the Vail, Colorado 2013 4th of July Parade (so you could get the general idea). I know they stole the idea from Breck, cause I saw it there years ago. Anyway… I’m getting off track here. While studying at CMC during one summer session, I took a ‘Music Appreciation’ course and it was a blast. As part of our class time we were required to attend several of the concerts that were a part of the ‘Breckenridge Musical Festival.’ At the time I was ther, the ‘BMF ‘ was held outdoors in large canvas tents. Since that time they built a permanent tent-like structure that became lovingly referred to as the ‘Madonna dome’. Maybe you can figure out why. At one of those concerts I was excited to see David Ogden Stiers conduct ‘Peter and the Wolf’. Great concert, marvelous conductor, and a whole lot of frivolous fun.

For my final project, I produced a short film of pictures I took on the ranch were we lived at the time. It was set to a piece of classical music that I fell in love with. The piece is Tomaso Albinoni’s ‘Adagio in G minor for strings and organ’. If you’re not familiar with the term ‘adagio’, it’s from the Italian word ‘adagio’ (DUH) meaning slowly. In music, adagios are slow movements that tend to evoke strong emotion. You know one well and probably don’t even realize it. Read to the end of this post and I’ll clue you into this more famous/popular adagio.

For now I want you to listen to “Albinoni’s Adagio in G minor for organ and strings’.

I bet you scratching your head wondering what I’m going to pit against this beautiful piece of music. Well is seems Jim Morrison had an appreciation for classical music, or at least for this piece of classical music. Next up, The Doors with ‘Adagio in G minor'.

Not to influence your vote in any way, but you have to admit that Jim Morrison and ‘The Doors’ where an enigmatic, and unique troupe of musicians. Wikipedia quotes ‘Rolling Stone’ as saying; Morrison was, and continues to be, one of the most popular and influential singer-songwriters in rock history. To this day Morrison is widely regarded as the prototypical rock-star: surly, sexy, scandalous, and mysterious.[76] The leather pants he was fond of wearing both onstage and off have since become stereotyped as rock-star apparel.[77] In 2011, a Rolling Stone readers' pick placed Jim Morrison in fifth place of the magazine's "Best Lead Singers of All Time.

OK, enough of my yakking. You know the drill. Leave me a comment with your vote and the reason you chose as you did. I’ll be back on the 7th with my vote and the results in this BATTLE.

Since this is the beginning of the infamous A to Z Challenge, I’m not exactly sure who with be posting BATTLES, but I know Stephen T. McCarthy won’t let you down. So, head on over to his site by clicking HERE. I’ll trust that he’ll tell you who else is participating and provide links to their blogs.

One last thing. If you have time here’s one more music video with scenes from the movie that made this piece of classical music ‘more’ famous. (Not a part of BOTB - Just for fun!)

Enjoy, and thanks for voting. See you in a few.

Friday, March 21, 2014

BATTLE OF THE BANDS XVI RESULTS - 'They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot'

Time for the results in BATTLE OF THE BANDS XVI. This was an interesting match-up for me. I truthfully expected a runaway in the voting. If you remember, in my original post, I said that I was unprepared. You can feel free to interpret that as me pulling this song off my BOTB list at the very last moment, cause that’s exactly how it happened.

It wasn’t until today in preparation for THIS post that I did a little research on this tune. You all know it’s an original by Joni Mitchell, but did you know it’s consider one of her most ‘covered’ songs. According to Wikipedia there are 223 covers of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’. Wow! I had no idea. Aren’t ya glad I narrowed it down to two? The competition cover by Counting Crows is one of the newer, if not the newest, cover recorded.

I found some of your comments to be rather interesting if not downright hilarious. Arlee bird said, “It’s like she’s trying to imitate some Jamaican accent or something—it just sounds kind of weird to my ears.” Then Robin said, “Joni Mitchell sounds odd on this track. Clipped maybe. I’m not sure what is going on with her…” Both Arlee and Robin voted for Counting Crows.

Finally Stephen said, “It just sounded like Joni Mitchell to me. (And, by the way that’s one reason I was never a real fan of hers; she had such a distinctive voice and singing pattern or lyrical rhythm that most all of her songs always seemed to sound the same to me.” Stephen did vote for Joni because he didn’t feel that Counting Crows, scored a knock-out over Joni.

Well I didn’t really hear no Jamaican accent, but I agree that she does sound odd on this track. I’m not sure if her voice is clipped, but I do agree that basically it just sounds like good old Joni; distinctive – yeah, lyrical rhythm – maybe, but certainly her ‘signature sound’ that contributes to all of her songs sounding, at the very least, similar.

No matter what any of us think, I for one, have to give this woman credit for being incredibly prolific and an amazing poet. Can’t say I agree with all of her politics and I think some of her messages are quite ‘off the mark’ but none the less, she exhibits enormous talent is more than one art form. I do personally feel that most of her songs are better served by other artists. Therefore, is should not come as a surprise that my vote goes to Counting Crows. ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ may be Joni’s song, but I enjoy it more performed by others.

It seems most of your agreed with me. The final tally, including my vote, is:

                                    Joni Mitchell                       5 votes

                                    Counting Crows                  8 votes

On another note today is my very best friend’s birthday. I want to dedicate a song to them. It’s one you’ve heard before in a previous BOTB. Sit back and enjoy or pass on through to the comment box. This one’s for you Boo Boo, Happy Birthday! I love you.

Thank ya'all for participating. I’ll be back on April 1st with another BATTLE OF THE BANDS.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Here we are at the Ides of March already. It's time for another BATTLE OF THE BANDS, and what do ya know? I'm late to my own party. Not really surprised are you? I'll also freely admit that I'm not exactly prepared.

I had entertained the idea of being clever and using a song by that Chicago 'garage band made good', 'The Ides of March'. I always liked the big brass sound of their hit 'Vehicle', but unfortunately I couldn't find a cover that was strong enough to give them any kind of a fight. Next, I flirted with another idea that has been rattling around my brain for a few months now, but don't quite feel it this morning (or is it getting on to afternoon? Seeing as how I just got up, I'm not sure).

BUT, this Saturday morning on the actual Ides of March, I am feeling this one. So, let's get on with it, shall we?

First up, the original; Joni Mitchell and her 'Big Yellow Taxi'.

Next, Counting Crows still lamenting that 'You don't know what you got till it's gone'.

Well, there you got 'em. My choices for this BATTLE OF THE BANDS, brought to you this morning, ah er...afternoon by Far Away Eyes.

Now you know the drill. Leave me a comment with your vote and tell me why you voted thew way you did. Remember to choose wisely, it is The Ides of March, after all.

Next, get yourself on over to the home of Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy and see what craziness he has for you in his BATTLE OF THE BANDS. I'll also trust Mr. McCarthy to have a link to other participants who are BATTLING it out today. (Ya'all know I'm normally to lazy to include all the links, but today I'm hopin' that link to STMc works. Yeah, it's THAT kind of a morning.)

If you're not a regular participant and want to host your own BATTLE, please say so in the comment box so that I, and others can visit your site also. I'll be back on the 21st with my vote, my reasoning (however unsound it might be) and the final tally. Thanks for your continued participation in this fun little event.

Friday, March 7, 2014


It’s time for the results in BATTLE OF THE BANDS XV and what a BATTLE this one was, despite a prediction that ‘(Mark) Chesnutt was roasting Aerosmith over an open fire’. HA! It just goes to show that in these BATTLES you really can’t ‘call em’ until the final vote is in.

Mr. Bird over at Tossing It Out likes to use some really obscure songs, or at least more obscure artists in his BATTLES, because he thinks that we only vote for the familiar, and don’t really give a ‘unique’ version a fighting chance (or something like that). For of that very reason, I almost didn’t go with this particular BATTLE.  I was pretty sure that most of you would vote for Aerosmith, being that they recorded the more popular version of this song attached to that ‘craptacularly entertaining blockbuster’ Armageddon.

I don’t know what it is about my BOTB posts, but I seem to have a knack for picking artists that garner the most negative responses (think Celine Dion, back in December) and it was no different with Aerosmith. Many of you seemed to cast a vote not so much FOR Mark Chesnutt as AGAINST Aerosmith. Regardless of anything else, I do agree with those of you who commented that Mark’s version of the song was more sentimental and you felt the love.

Normally my taste would lean more toward a Country version vs. a Hard Rock/Heavy Metal version of just about anything, BUT not this time. I cast my vote for Aerosmith. I really like the largeness of the Aerosmith version. That Philharmonic sound in the intro and even Steven Tyler’s screaming/screeching vocal acrobatics seem to lend something to their version that takes it over the top for me. I realize that it’s supposed to be a love song, but maybe it’s because of its attachment to that dramatic disaster, with a Swiss cheese plot, and utterly fantastic storyline, of a movie which somehow manages to be entertaining, notwithstanding some all-out silliness and a whole lot of very bad over-acting, that gives Aerosmith the edge. Or, maybe Mr. Bird is correct. Either way for the VERY FIRST TIME, here in one of my BATTLES we have a tie.

Counting my vote, the final tally was 7 votes each.

 Now that is a true BATTLE OF THE BANDS. These two artists duked it out until the very end with the final ‘outside vote’ coming in on Wednesday (after this BOTB post been covered over by another post). I really enjoy seeing something like this happen. I was encourage when the second voter, Mr. Bird, noted that he was having a hard time deciding, but it quickly seemed to go downhill from there. In the end, it just goes to show that we really can’t see how it will all end until it does.

One last thing.   I warned you to vote for the song and not the video, but I really liked the tricky little music video Aerosmith used for this song. As you may or may not know (spoiler alert – just in case you haven’t seen this flick from 1998) at the end of the movie Bruce Willis (Harry Stamper) stays behind on the asteroid to save the world by hand detonating a nuke. There is an emotional scene where Liv Tyler (Grace Stamper) and her father say goodbye to each other via some sort of space telecommunication like SKYPE. In the music video some of those scenes replace the video footage of Grace/Liv’s movie father Harry/Bruce with her real father Steven Tyler singing to her. I always kind of viewed that as the love song – father to daughter – telling her not to miss a thing and how sorry he was that he had to save the world and miss so much of her life. Corny, YOU BET, but also kind of clever, or maybe it’s just me.
OK, I’m done. Come back on the 15th for BATTLE OF THE BANDS XVI and see if I can come up with another close one for you. Now go check out the results for the other BATTLES that ran this past week.