Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NEW LEAF - 'Slight of Hands'

I’m turning over a new leaf. I been yakking about it around here for a while now, but as of today it’s actually happening. I’m trying my best to get ‘back in the saddle’ of blogging. By that I mean blogging something other than my normal bi-monthly BATTLE OF THE BANDS, and its subsequent RESULTS POST. This will still happen the FIRST and FIFTEENTH of each month with the results posts following on the SEVENTH and TWENTY-FIRST. If you don’t already come by regularly to have a listen and vote for your favorite rendition of the songs I post, please start this Sunday MARCH 1.

BUT, my ‘new leaf’ is to try and post something in between those bi-monthly posts. Something to thrill and excite you, well, at least, something that excites me. I toyed with the idea of doing the A to Z Challenge this year, just to try to get back on track, but then I thought about it for a few weeks and my answer to myself was NAW! I did do it once and that was enough for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great exercise for those of you who like that kind of stuffs, but being that disciplined to pick a theme, to post every day, then visit other bloggers each day as well; it was too much like ‘work’ to me. In fact it was work. I did finish (with a little help from a friend), but I really don’t want to do THAT again.

In my travels around the blogosphere I try to stop every Monday at the home of Chris Fries. He started something back in January that seems to really be paying off for him. Go on over to his space The Creative Outlet of Stratplayer and check it out. Anyway… Chris is a master at ‘flash fiction’, he manages to post 100 and 50 word stories that are really quite good. He also provides links to another site­­—a contest of sorts, that takes submission for 100 word stories. That site is 100 Word Story I also invite you to check it out.

Well, I wrote something and submitted it. I don’t expect it will be accepted for publication, but remember that ‘new leaf’ project of mine; well, today’s post is that 100 word story. There is a picture prompt for this story that is posted at the site. I will tell you I was prompted by the photo, and some images that came to my mind this past Sunday during a ‘Gong Immersion Session’. You might be wondering what that is. I’m not gonna tell you here, but maybe it will be another ‘new leaf’ post sometime in the future.

‘Slight of Hands’

Watching his fingers fly across the keyboards, I felt the magic. Those beautifully long fingers creating a sound to make the angels envious. How many hours of patient practice at a piano? How many months stretching into years before one could equal this type of spectacle?

I looked down at my own small, inadequate hands and knew they would never make wonderful music. No, these hands scrubbed too many floors, bathed babies, and cooked, cleaned, and cultivated a home. These hands were tired and worn. Yet when he stopped playing and took them in his, a different magic was born.

That’s it. 100 Words no more, no less. Go ahead have at it, and let me know what you think.

I’ve been listening to an incredible CD while I wrote my 100 word submission and this post. It’s Kenny Loggins, ‘Celebrate Me Home’. I love this music, so I’m gonna share and leave you with a tune. I think it’s a rather appropriate tune as we close out February—the month of LOVE. 

Please stop by on Sunday, March 1 for my BATTLE OF THE BANDS.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Before we get too far into this BOTB Results post, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. I did something here that I hope I never do again. What is that? You ask. Well, what I did was go for diversity and I posted two different versions of this song, neither of which I am terribly fond of. Let me explain.

The version by The Turtles was very popular and probably would have presented a lovely bit of nostalgia for a lot of you, and I figured would run away with the race no matter who they were pitted against. I thought the same might have happened if I used the original, solo version by Bob Dylan. Course maybe it would have been an interesting BATTLE between Bob and The Turtles, but we’ll never know for sure, now will we?

The two versions that I did use by June and Johnny Cash and Nancy Sinatra were very dissimilar to either the Bob Dylan or The Turtles versions and they were very, very dissimilar to each other. That’s what I was going for diversity of sound between the two combatants. It does seem as though I shot myself in the foot on this one, because I don’t particularly care for either version.
As stated by many of you Johnny’s voice (which I do kind of like on a lot of songs) seems way too gruff and gravelly for this tune. He not only swallows some of the words, but on others he seems to gnash them to smithereens. He totally drowns June out, and they seem to be having quite a difficult time harmonizing.

On the other hand (and also as stated by many of you) Nancy’s version seems kind of weak (someone even called her meek). There is no force or believability behind her singing “go away from my window” (it feels as though it should be followed by please, please, please!). I found that a bit surprising, because on some of her other stuff, she is anything but weak or meek (think - ‘These Boots are Made for Walkin’ or ‘Jackson’).

Truth be told, IMO, the best version is the original by Bob Dylan, by himself. I will admit that the version I posted here with him and Joan Baez was not too good, but ‘hideous’, I don’t think so. (Well there is just no accounting for some people’s taste.) It was, after all, a live performance and they seemed to be having a little bit too much of a good time.

Anyway…my vote really won’t matter here because the Cash’s ran off with this BATTLE. I certainly don’t think their version is the ‘best one ever recorded’ of this song, but in keeping with the general voting here (choosing the lesser of two evils), I would grudgingly give them my vote also.

The final tally is;
                Johnny & June              13 votes (including mine)
                Nancy Sinatra                6 votes

If you have the time here is another version that I like quite a bit. It's from an album this duo recorded (in 1965) titled 'Folk and Roll.

Here is Jan & Dean with 'It Ain't Me Babe"

Yeah, yeah, I know; this would have been a much better choice for this BATTLE.

Try not to hold this BATTLE against me and come back on the 1st of March where I will try to give you two better selections (with at least one that I can really get behind). Until then ‘Happy Trails to You!’

ALSO, I’m trying real hard to pick up the pace on my blogging, so don’t write me off until the 1st of March. I’m gonna try real hard to post something that I hope will be of interest in between then and now.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

BATTLE OF THE BANDS 'Oh no, not another love song!"

Today's selection is written by none other than the famous and infamous singer, songwriter and nefariously flawed individual Mr. Robert Zimmerman; otherwise known as Bob Dylan. Here's what Wacky-Watchee has to say about 'It Ain't Me Babe"

 It Ain't Me Babe" is a song by Bob Dylan that originally appeared on his fourth album Another Side of Bob Dylan, which was released in 1964 by Columbia Records. According to music critic Oliver Trager, this song, along with others on the album, marked a departure for Dylan as he began to explore the possibilities of language and deeper levels of the human experience.[1] Within a year of its release, the song was picked up as a single by artists who were forging the folk rock movement, including The Turtles and The Byrds.[2]

Dylan's biographers generally agree that the song owes its inspiration to his former girlfriend Suze Rotolo. He reportedly began writing the song during his visit to Italy in 1963 while searching for Rotolo, who was studying there.[1][3]
Clinton Heylin reports that a Times reporter at a May 1964 Royal Festival Hall concert where Dylan first played "It Ain't Me" took the lines "no, no, no, it ain't me babe" as a parody of The Beatles' "She Loves You".[4]

Now I know you all probably know this, but just for the sake of clarity, which by the way, is a rarity on this blog, I like to call wikipedia, 'Wacky-Watchee, because since we all live in the 'People's Republic of the Internet' any ole joker can publish something there (the same goes for YouTube as you will soon see) and the folks take it as gospel truth.

While looking for worthy opponents in this BATTLE, I found that just about everybody and their dog has recorded this one. Joan Baez, one of Bob's...ahem, cough, cough...lady friends was particularly found of it.

When I listened to one of the You Tube recordings of Joan doing this song she called it a 'protest song' or an 'anti-love song', then she goes on to say actually it's an 'anti-marriage song'. Little bit of 'bitter' there, Joan, eh?

Anyway...Here's a link to a recording of Bob and Joan trying to harmonize on 'It Ain't Me Babe'. NOTE - this is not a part of the competition here,  it's simply for your listening pleasure. Well, maybe not. But, if you have the time give a listen anyway. It apparently comes from a happier time for Bob and Joan as they keep breaking up during the performance. ALSO NOTE - whoever posted this at YouTube mistakenly said it was Bob and Janis Joplin. Don't be fooled by the images in the video, this is definitely Bob and Joan.  Are you thoroughly confused now, I know I am, but then what else is new?

Now, let's get to the heart of the matter. THE BATTLE.

You guys know I like to pit two very different versions against each other and I found two that are quite diverse. Let's start with Johnny and June.

Next up, Miss Nancy Sinatra

Well, waddaya think? Please don't vote for Bob and Joan, as they really are not a part of this competition, but if you must I'm not gonna take you to court or nothing.

Leave e a comment with your vote and the reason you chose as you did.

NEXT, head on over to the site of Mr. BOTB hisself, Stephen T. McCarthy, you can find him HERE. I'm sure he has  perfectly marvelous BATTLE posted for your listening pleasure AND he will provide you with the links to all the other participants.

I'll be back on the 21st of February (the day before George Washington's actual birthday - see my birthday post, if you're wondering what that's all  about) with my vote and the final tally.
Until then; "Happy Trails to You'!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Na, na, na, na, na!

I was all set to tell you just 'xactly how old I am today, and then I remembered this post at ABftS and I thought YIKES, I think I'll just be 29 AGAiN :-)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Better Late than Never - BATTLE OF THE BANDS Results

As usual, I'm a few days late and more than a few dollars short. I do apologize for not getting my BOTB results post up at the appointed time (February 7th), but I had some business over the weekend that needed tending to.

I'm here now so let's get on with the final results and my vote.

I guess I could call this the BATTLE OF THE WEIRD NAMES. I mean, Dicky Doo and Ry Cooder. I'm not sure which would be a worse moniker to grow up with. 'Course you all know from the original post that Dicky Doo and the Don'ts was a purely 'made up' name. Then of course, so is the name of every other band out there. Amiright?

Several of you mentioned that the versions done by Ry and Linda Ronstadt sounded similar. If you thought that, it's because they were the same arrangement (as arranged by Ry Cooder), and it was in fact, very different from the original.

While the original by Dicky Doo and the Don'ts kind of had that late 50's early 60's doo wop sound going on, it also sounded, at least to me, like an old recording my Daddy used to play of 'The Yellow Rose of Texas'. More in the style of a H.S. Marching Band to my ears. But then that's just me. I bet after that remark, you can all pretty much guess that my vote does not go to DD&tD.

More than one person said they liked Ry Cooder's version better for the arrangements but he kind of fell short on the vocals. I can't really disagree with you there, especially when you are comparing his vocal performance to that of the talented Miss Ronstadt. Linda definitely does have the smoother, almost like velvet, at least to my ears, voice. Kind of makes it all more the shame, as to what's happened to her.

Anyway, I cast my vote for Ry Cooder. I really like his arrangement. I think he took that H.S. Marching Band sound and turned it into the 'broken heart' song the lyrics intended. I suppose my vote in part might be swayed by his overall musical career (I know, I know, that's not how this is supposed to go, but hey; you know me.) in the end my vote really didn't make much difference.

The final tally:

          Dicky Do and the Don'ts          5 votes
          Ry Cooder                              4 votes Including mine
          Lind Ronstadt                         8 votes

Miss Linda Ronstadt is clearly the winner.  I do wonder how this might have turned out, had I not gone with the three-way, but we'll never know for sure.

I'll be back on the 15th with my next BATTLE OF THE BANDS. I do hope you'll drop by for a visit. Until then; "Happy Trails to You'.