THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Sunday, December 1, 2013

‘BATTLE OF THE BANDS’ #9 (Or, ‘SINATRA VERSUS CARPENTER’)

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...

THE  BATTLE  OF  THE  BANDS!
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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'). But this is my first Christmas edition, so pour yourself some Eggnog or a “cup of cheer” and relax for a little bit.
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EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
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There are a few Christmas songs so associated or synonymous with certain singers that many folks think of those singers as almost “owning that song”. Many people think of ‘White Christmas’ as Bing Crosby’s song; ‘The Christmas Song’ belongs to Nat King Cole; and ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’? Brenda Lee “owns” it! But the majority of Christmas songs are generally thought to be open to many different interpretations by various performers in myriad musical genres.

According to Wikipedia, SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN was first recorded in 1934 and featured that traditional Christmas song instrument the banjo. Since then it’s been recorded more times than anyone could count, including a radio-friendly live Rock version by Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band.

Back in 2004 I created something at Amazon.com titled ‘So You’d Like To... Find Flaws In The Animated Christmas Classics’, and I later posted an updated, retitled version of it on my defunct ‘STUFFS’ blog: ‘HO!-HO!-OH! MERRY CHRISTMUS!

In that Piece O’Writing I pointed out the many funny flaws I’d found in the animated TV Christmas specials such as ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’, ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town’, et al., which I still watch and enjoy every single Christmas season. I mistakenly thought my guide to the funny flaws was going to be extremely popular. It took me years to figure out why they had gone almost entirely ignored: Most adults don’t watch the animated Christmas classics anymore, and sadly many of them have lost track of the little boy or little girl in them.

When I settled on the idea of using the song ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ in my first Christmas edition of ‘BOTB’, I was planning to use the version of that song sung by Fred Astaire in the animated TV special. I found a video where someone had cleverly synchronized the Christmas lights on his house to the Fred Astaire rendition. I later decided to go with a different male singer on this song, but if you’re interested, you can click HERE to see and hear the Astaire version. You can also vote for it if you prefer it to the two principal competitors I have matched up against each other below.
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GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
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In 1948, Frank Sinatra released his third studio album titled ‘CHRISTMAS SONGS BY SINATRA’. Included in the set was a sprightly swinging Big Band version of the song, with some sharp horn arrangements.
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See if you like this recording from back when “Ol’ Blue Eyes” was still “Young Blue Eyes”:



Karen Carpenter, the singing and drumming part of the brother and sister duo ‘The Carpenters’ passed away in 1983 at the age of 32. The following year, her brother Richard released a second ‘Carpenters’ Christmas album utilizing some tracks left over from their first Holiday album. It was titled ‘AN OLD-FASHIONED CHRISTMAS’, and was later combined with the first album in a 2-compact disc set titled ‘CHRISTMAS COLLECTION’.
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That second Christmas album included a recording of ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ which was envisioned in a dramatically different way from how Sinatra had presented it. Richard Carpenter arranged the song and Karen sang it as if it were a lullaby – I can easily imagine her singing it to some little boy or girl being tucked into bed and being gently reminded that Santa Claus is paying special attention these days, “So, you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout - I’m telling you why...”

I’ll tell you in advance that this video is pretty cute ‘n’ colorful, but ‘BOTB’ match-ups are strictly about the music, not the videos! So, if you think the images here may sway your feeling about the song in one way or another, you might want to close your eyes while the music is playing. Let us keep our musical focus, folks.



Alright now, you know the gig... I welcome EVERYONE to vote for their favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other. (NOTE: Comment Moderation is activated. All submitted comments that do not transgress "Ye Olde Comment Policy" will be posted as soon as possible. Thanks for taking the time to comment.)
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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN
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After voting here, I suggest - actually I insist - you pop over to FAE’s ‘Far Away Series’, Arlee Bird’s ‘Tossing It Out’, Robin’s ‘Your Daily Dose’, and LC’s ‘DiscConnected’ blogs 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 ‘Far Away Series’, ‘Tossing It Out’, ‘Your Daily Dose’, and ‘DiscConnected’ to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)

Voice Your Vote @ ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ by clicking HERE.
Voice Your Vote @ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
Voice Your Vote @ ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ by clicking HERE.
Voice Your Vote @ ‘DISCCONNECTED’ 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.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.

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44 comments:

  1. This is a tough choice since I'm a big fan of all of these artists, but I don't care much for that song. I'm not too much of a fan of most secular Christmas songs for that matter.

    Not a fan a swing versions of songs of this nature so Sinatra loses my vote.

    Fred almost gets my vote because his version is so short, but I'm not big on all the kids chiming in on the song. The house lights were pretty cool though.

    The Carpenters get the vote because of the big sweet arrangement. Now if only they had cut the length of the song in half.

    Carpenters. Bah! Humbug.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
  2. Okay, purist leader, I was doing Thanksgiving dishes while they played, so I was not corrupted by watching.

    I almost called it a draw, but in the end I'll go with the same reasoning I used on FAE's bit- I'm far too old not to vote for the Chairman Of The Board.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sinatra, for sure. He's not a fave, but he is heads above the Carpenters. Sweet pix don't sway my vote.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am one of those adults who STILL enjoys the animated Christmas shows. I try to watch them all every year, but don't always make it. However, I have seen Santa Claus Is Coming To Town many times. I was prepared to vote for the Sinatra version because I prefer the upbeat big band sound for that song (even though there was nothing wrong with the Carpenters interpretation... I just didn't like it as well). BUT I decided to go on and listen to the Astaire version from the movie....

    I still love it. The Astaire version is filled with the sheer fun that is Christmas. I liked the kids chiming in... because no one enjoys Christmas like a child. The Sinatra version might be better done musically, but the Astaire version made my heart sing.

    So, Astaire it is.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Can I vote for the Bruce Springsteen version?

    Assuming that the answer to that is no, I'm going to go with Mr. Sinatra.

    While The Carpenter's version is nice, it's a little too slow for my taste.

    But I'm partial to the Bruce version (which steals from the Phil Spector arrangement). The Jackson 5 would be my number two.

    LC

    ReplyDelete
  6. ---- BOID DOG ----
    Recorded: One Scroogey, curmudgeonly vote for Karen Carpenter.

    ---- BROTHER MARTIN ----
    Recorded: One geriatric vote for "Young Ol' Blue Eyes".

    ---- D.G. HUDSON ----
    Thanks for checking in again with your loyal 'Battle Of The Bands' support!

    ---- ROBIN ----
    It's damned good to know that there are still a few of us "young at heart" big kid adults out there who still watch the animated Christmas classics we grew up with. The only one that really doesn't hold up well for me now is 'Frosty The Snowman', but I STILL watch it every single year (also because it includes one of my very favorite flaws in the animation).

    I probably would have guessed you would go the Carpenter route, but you're thinking outside the box here a little bit instead, and I "get" your reasoning. Thanks!

    ---- DISCDUDE ----
    You assumed correctly: No vote for Springsteen would count. Although I do enjoy his version that gets played on the radio and (as I'm sure you have) I have seen him perform it live in concert more than once. But I wouldn't put an anti-Constitution Socialist like that into my Christmas 'BOTB' contest. So... a third vote for Sinatra.

    Thanks to everyone for the votes and comments.

    Yak Later...

    ~ Stephen

    ReplyDelete
  7. As you know I've been traveling for the past 5 days. Family crisis combined with the Holiday. What an explosive combination? The best part of the entire trip was going to see Santa yesterday. Watching the pure joy and wonder on the face of my three year old little sweetheart as she ran up to the jolly old elf, and threw her arms around him, giving him a hug, that quite frankly, took the old guy by surprise. Then her seven year old sister, who in the second grade has got to have heard some whisperings of her classmates feelings on the subject, walk sedately up to Santa and give him a sincere heartfelt hug also, really made my heart glad. I almost wanted to go sit on his lap myself. Who knows maybe I would have made his day, or given him a heart attack. Anyway...prior to our visit to Santa's Workshop we spent the afternoon singing this very song. We also watched the peanuts gang tell us about 'the true meaning of Christmas'.

    All that said...I'm most familiar with the Astaire version and felt a twinge of nostalgia as I listened. Sinatra does a nice big band version also. Both are energetic and convey the excitement, wonder and apprehension of knowing that 'he sees you when your sleeping, and knows when you're awake'. As the seven year old says these are Santa's powers (which BTW the way Mom has also.). BUT, the Carpenters version (which I had never heard before) was the best. I really like it slowed down and sung with such a sincere intensity.
    Color me surprised, but I vote for this new (to me) slowed down, sung with a slightly different feeling, but a whole lot of feeling none the less, version, by Karen Carpenter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FAE ~
      Sounds like 'Fun With Santa'. And of all the animated Christmas classics, 'Charlie Brown' has ALWAYS been my favorite.

      Like you, I enjoy all three of the versions I posted here - once again, I don't think there's a "bad" vote that can be submitted.

      Regarding the Carpenters version, it's hard to believe they actually "left that in the vault" and didn't include it on their first Christmas album. I don't know who was responsible for that decision, but it wasn't a smart one.

      The Astaire version I've known since I was a kid. And although I'm not a big Frank Sinatra fan, the FIRST time I heard his take on 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town', I was really surprised by how much I liked it. Well, you know, I do love Big Band music!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  8. Trying to find any fault with the voice of Karen Carpenter is as difficult as trying to find anything wrong with Dolly from the Island of Misfit Toys. Probably just some unresolved psychological issues. She'll be fine...Dolly that is. One vote for The Carpenters.

    Sig Freud Too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SIG FREUD TOO ~
      Man, that is DEEP! And the reason I KNOW it's deep is because I can't solve the riddle of it.

      Sometimes a Dolly is just a place to stick your cigar. And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

      Ya know, Bro, I have found more flaws in the animated Christmas classics than I have ever publicly revealed. As more of them came to me (and some pretty good ones, too), I didn't bother to add them to my public collection because NO ONE REALLY CARES. I still find that sad and hard to believe.

      But you're right - and that's one I have also pondered: Just what IS wrong with Dolly? She looks alright to me! If I were a Spotted Elephant, I'd pack her trunk too. (That sounds so "dirty", but if you analyze it, it really doesn't make a lick of sense... which also sounds a little bit "dirty". I'd better quit while I'm still a--- NO!)

      I really enjoy the flaws in the animated Christmas classics, and it seems that every year I find a new one that had previously escaped me. It also seems "The Grinch" was technically the best produced, because I've still only found one or two flaws in the entire program. Pretty impressive for a "cartoon".

      Another vote for Karen. This is shaping up to be a pretty competitive 'BOTB' installment.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
    2. HOHoHO Merry Christmus

      or http://stephentmccarthysstuffs.blogspot.com/2008/11/ho-ho-oh-merry-christmus.html

      Delete
    3. Yep, that's it. There's so much I'm able to do now, things I could apply to that blog bit and make it look so much better... Change fonts, better colors, highlighting, photos, even videos of some of the flaws mentioned.

      But what would be the point? Why work on it and spruce it up when nobody is really interested in finding flaws in the animated Christmas classics?

      Too bad, because with all these newer Blogspot tools now I could really make that old blog bit look good.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  9. Bah (humbug) this is a close one. I didn't think I'd like the Carpenters version, but then Karen bowled me over with that amazing voice of hers. Again.

    I love ol' Blue Eyes, but I think dear Karen edged him out. Just barely. One very surprised vote for the Carpenters.

    I'll be back later to yak about beer and other stuff, so as not to clutter up your post (yet). I also need something from you. And no, it's not to post bail for me.

    Ooh, the suspense. Stay tuned.

    ~4B

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 4-B ~
      Yak 'n' Axe away, Brother.

      The worst I can say is "Nah, it's not near hoppy enough" and "No, I ain't sending you celery through the mail!"

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground;

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. 4-B OLD SOUL ~

      According to my local 'TW&M' store, the date for 'Lagunitas SUCKS' has been pushed back to December 9th, which, as you know, TOTALLY SUCKS!

      >>... I thought I was smart by saving the box you sent me, but it seems that MacCATver had other plans and shredded your name.

      Ha!-Ha! You thought saving my return address on that box was "smart"? "Boy, are you dumb, Charlie Brown!" [An actual quote from the TV Christmas special.]

      Did you REALLY think I would illegally ship beer to you through the U.S. Postal Service and write my REAL return address on the label?!?!

      That return address led straight to a house in my neighborhood where the residents are illegally repairing automobiles (i.e., running a mechanic's garage in an area not zoned for business). Uhp! I'm an idiot... but I'm NOT mentally retarded!

      I figured that if they got caught illegally shipping beer too, what difference would it make? Illegal this, illegal that - it's all the same: "illegal".

      >>... it's my way of ensuring you have a Hoppy Holidays and all that.

      Is it a copy of 'Dead and Moaning in Las Vegas'? Because there's lots of hops in Vegas (I know, I've "drunken" my fill there), and after finishing 'The Graveyard Shift', I think that's what I want for Christmas... THAT and my two front teeth.

      Unless you're channeling Edgar Allan Poe and/or Rod Serling, you're a talented writer.

      Say, just out of curiosity... if some "lone nut gunman" should assassinate Brandon Myers from a book depository building while Brandon was riding in an open convertible automobile... would you be willing to collaborate with me on future writing projects? (No particular reason for axing, but sometimes these Qrazy Questions come to me.)

      >>... E-mail bryan@abeerfortheshower.com

      Will do... much later today, when I'm not so damned sober!

      [It SUCKS to be Lagunitas and behind schedule!]

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
    4. "Boy, are you dumb, Charlie Brown!"

      I never claimed to be anything other than a blockhead. My 5 cent therapy sessions are going well, though. I'm still having trouble, however, accepting that my dog is not a World War II fighter pilot and is just a result of my over-stressed, over-active imagination...

      Hey now, in all fairness I would have checked with you even if the address was intact (not eaten). Also, next time I have a problem with my car, I'm just going to mail my car part to that address and see if they can repair it for me on the cheap.

      What I'm sending is not Dead and Moaning, but I still think it's something you'll appreciate.

      ...would you be willing to collaborate with me on future writing projects?

      No need to assassinate my co-hort for that to happen. What do you have in mind? Something in the vein of fiction or nonfiction?

      You should actually be pleased to hear that our newest novel (in development) is inspired by you and your blog...

      Will do... much later today, when I'm not so damned sober!

      I hate having to be on the computer while sober. It just ruins the whole vibe of "I'm going to say whatever I want to say and this couldn't possibly have any real world repercussions."

      ~4B

      Delete
    5. 4-B ~
      Ha! I appreciate your obvious knowledge of the 'Charlie Brown' Christmas story. It does my heart good to know that there are still some other semi-adult folks out there (besides me) who enjoy "the classics".

      That would be funny if those blokes received a defective auto part with a request for repair from a Colorado address. They'd be going, "But how do he know?!"

      Heck, I wasn't going to assassinate your writing partner. I would have let some CIA patsy do that.

      >>... What do you have in mind? Something in the vein of fiction or nonfiction?

      Neither. I was thinking more about maybe writing something completely made up, or maybe something based on reality. But now that you've suggested those two other possibilities, I'll have to give this more thought.

      Whoa! Seriously? You're working on something inspired by me and my blog? How cool. And thanks for saying so... unlike those dudes who stole my 'Beer Battles: Blind Beer Taste Tests' idea but never bothered to acknowledge their source!

      Well, my friend, got a busy day ahead of me - beginning with getting C.W. Martin's compact disc in the mail for winning the 'BOTB Voting Contest'. Then a checkbook to balance (that shouldn't take very long) and some miscellaneous Christmas-related stuffs. But I will most definitely Email you my REAL address before Thursday be done.

      Thanks in advance for WHATEVER it is you're planning to send.

      Yak Later, Beer Brother.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  10. I was KIDDING about including KC in this week's BOTBs.

    Bah, humbug, is right.

    Please tell me you will lay off Carpenter for a while after this. I get this sense that the whole point of your selections week after week is to prove just how rotten my musical taste is. I am not interested in exploring that any further. Not that I am self-centered or anything.

    People like Karen Carpenter. I think I have figured out why. Research psychologists might coin a new term: the "Carpenter Syndrome." Rather like the Stockholm Syndrome, if you are forced to listen to her long enough you start to like her... just like hostages empathize with their captors after being held against their will for long periods of time. It isn't reality... just a psychological reaction based on the actions of others whose purpose is to harm you.

    I am looking forward to the upcoming remake of "A Clockwork Orange." I understand that in the new version, while the eyes of the main character "Alex" are propped open and violent images are played, he will be forced to listen to Karen Carpenter. In addition, in the new series of Star Wars films, every time Darth Vader appears, the traditional "dum dum-da-dum DUM de Dum dum DE dum" music is being replaced with "We've Only Just Begun." That is what characters will hear when going over to the "dark side."

    Sinatra. My money is in his basement. Or attic. Or latrine. Or anywhere KC ISN'T.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SHEBOYGANBROTHER SIX ~

      Ha! If you go back to our previous dialogue, you will find that the only promise I made was to NOT put Karen Carpenter up against Johnny Mathis, thus giving you no one to vote for. And since my Christmas 'BOTBs' were already formulated in my mind at that time, I knew I could make and keep that promise.

      However, don't be surprised if that "other one" shows up in 'BOTB #10'. He was going to... but a couple of circumstances (one being a lack of necessary videos at YouTube) have forced me to rethink #10, and left me rather unsure of what to do with it.

      >>... I get this sense that the whole point of your selections week after week is to prove just how rotten my musical taste is.

      Ha! (again), you think I need to re-establish that week after week? How many times does it need to be proven that the world is not flat?

      I jest, of course. But... you know... you could always start your own 'BOTB' blog, begin with Christmas music in 'BOTB #10' and show the world how rotten MY musical taste is when I vote the wrong way week after week. (Two can play at this game, ya know?)

      Go over to Arlee Bird's 'BOTB'... something tells me you'll like Petra's version of 'Handel's 'Hallelujah' Chorus.

      Nah, not really. I know you'd vote for the "Classical" version, just as I did.

      Thanks for playing and voting. A vote for Sinatra is a vote for... Sinatra.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
    2. >>However, don't be surprised if that "other one" shows up in 'BOTB #10'.

      You may just count my vote now against Ma..."the other one"... unless it is someone you know I also loathe. Then just count it as another abstention.

      >> Ha! (again), you think I need to re-establish that week after week? How many times does it need to be proven that the world is not flat?

      Touche'

      >> I jest, of course. But... you know... you could always start your own 'BOTB' blog, begin with Christmas music in 'BOTB #10' and show the world how rotten MY musical taste is when I vote the wrong way week after week. (Two can play at this game, ya know?)

      You may not have as large a number of readers as you would like, but you have SOME - and you are correct that they leave the best comments in blogdom. I could not possibly write a blog, as I would have ZERO readers. My only comments would be: "Why are you doing this? Have you thought of going into some other line of endeavor?"

      BTW - I sent off that Karen Carpenter story to you today. The U.S. Postal Cervix finally returned it to me.

      Delete
    3. SIXGUN BROTHERBOYGAN ~

      First of all, THANKS for resending the Karen Carpenter article, as I am VERY interested in reading and saving it.

      By the way, methinks your hating on Karen and Johnny has almost become a religion to you. And since their voices were true "gifts" from God, measks... What kind of religion is yours? (I'll bet you hate Mahalia too, eh?) Weather's warm where you're headed, Boy! Better pack shorts.
      :-)

      As for you starting a blog... you know, almost EVERYONE starts a blog with zero readers, but it doesn't stay that way for long.

      When I started, I had no regular readers. But within a week or two my friend the Flyin' Aardvark started reading it. Then gradually a few more people found it, we exchanged comments, others read the comments and started to follow, etc.

      And look at me today, like, 9 years later - I have a whopping 49 "Followers", about 8 to 10 of which actually read my blog.

      The same would happen for you. Plus, most of my 8 to 10 would immediately begin "Following" (and even reading) your blog, and others would find it via Blogspot comment sections, etc.

      Almost no one starts a blog with an automatic, built-in readership, Bro. It takes a little work to get people to like you and others to hate you. (I'm rather naturally expert at the latter; I have to work more at the former.)

      You know, when my friend LC first started blogging here, I was his ONLY reader. But now he probably has more readers than I have. (It's because he hasn't yet mastered the art of pissing people off - an art which I was born with and never really had to "master" at all.)

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  11. This isn't one of my favorite Christmas songs. Sinatra, however, is one of my favorite singers... but not doing that song. It just doesn't "fit" him, but I do like the instrumental section of his version. The Carpenters sound smooth and beautiful, (of course) but it strikes me as a little silly to sing such a lightweight song as though it were more than it is. My vote goes to Astaire. His version treats the song as simply and with as much light-hearted fun as the lyrics deserve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SUSAN ~
      I agree it's a lightweight song, but I'm not sure that presenting "a warning to little Santa believers to behave" as a lullaby is singing the song as though it were more than it is. I'm inclined to say that it is singing the song "exactly as it is".

      Regardless, thanks much for listening and voting. That's two votes for Fred Astaire now. And as I recall, you were one of the folks who voted "outside the box" for Fats Waller and helped him to beat Satchmo on Ain't Misbehavin. And maybe before this is over, you will have done something similar for Astaire against Sinatra. We'll see. Thanks again.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  12. Loved em both...that's the trouble with Christmas music they are all wonderful.

    Gonna give this one to the Carpenters - why Jesus was one :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LUMA13 ~
      Yeah, no bad votes here (I prefer it that way).

      And, yes, Jesus was the BEST carpenter. (How much do you suppose he charged for a bookshelf?)

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  13. For me, Fred Astaire does THE official version, having grown up to that Christmas special. But musically, it is a little generic.

    The Ol' Blue Eyes one is also hard not to like. He had such a gift of pitch and phrasing. He could sing a recipe for tuna on toast and I'd probably find something to like about it. This version of the song is great and classic and I thought it would be an easy winner for me.

    And with the start of the Capenters song and Richard's usual "Ever-Bland" (TM), Big-Band-Lite flaccid arrangement, I was even more sure Sinatra was the winner.

    Then Karen started singing... That voice. That amazing, heart-grabbing voice. Even with the white-bread "oooh-wahhh" harmonies, her captivating singing takes what could have otherwise been an castoff easy-listening outtake by the Percy Faith singers and gives it something incredible.

    So I vote for Karen. NOT the Carpernters -- just her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CHRIS ~
      Thanks for taking the time to vote and comment.

      I have to disagree with your assessment of Richard Carpenter's arrangement. Many professional musicians and music critics have publicly stated that they believe Richard was one of the premier arrangers of the 20th Century. Richard Carpenter quite likely invented the 'Power Ballad' format, or at the very, very minimum, he popularized it; and Jazz great Pat Metheny is one of those who have praised Richard's gift for arranging.

      So, I part company with you when it comes to Richard's part in this song, but I wholeheartedly concur with EVERYTHING you said about Karen's voice and singing.

      Thanks again for checking in with your two cents, Chris.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
    2. Ok. I'm willing to concede that I was probably a bit harsh on the arrangement. I have nothing but respectfor Pat Metheny, although I do lean more towards his Ornette collaboration type edgier jazz.

      There is a creative mix of instrumentation and some nice dynamic shifts. But there's not much of what I might call soul or groove. It's clear intent is to be easy on the ears and while it's very effective at that it doesn't really match my natural tastes.

      So it's definitely a personal preference thing and that's no reason to be so harsh as I was in my earlier comment.

      Delete
    3. CHRIS ~
      I sincerely applaud your willingness to reassess Richard's arrangement.

      >>... But there's not much of what I might call soul or groove. It's clear intent is to be easy on the ears...

      Agreed. But it was also clearly intended to be presented as a kind of "lullaby", and what lullaby is not "easy on the ears"?

      I am a HUGE Pat Metheny fan. I lean more toward the "Group" recordings, but not exclusively. For examples... I thought the album 'Song X' with Ornette was mostly unlistenable except for one or two tracks that I really liked, and just some snippets of other tracks. I thought 'Zero Tolerance For Silence' was unlistenable from beginning to ending.

      That said, I DO enjoy some of his other "outside the box" recordings, such as '80/81', which I think is FABULOUS throughout, albeit not "mainstream" Jazz.

      And for the record, I too have gone back and reassessed my initial impression on a 'Battle Of The Bands' installment...

      Arlee Bird joined this 'Battle Of The Bands' program with 'BOTB #3' using the Neil Young song 'Down By The River'.

      While only half awake, I left a comment. Reading Lee's response later inspired me to listen again to the cover version he had posted and I realized that my ears were also only "half awake" when I left my first comment.

      In a second comment on Lee's post, I retracted EVERYTHING I had said in my first comment (except that I was STILL voting for Neil Young's original recording of the song). Below is a link to that post:

      http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/2013/08/battle-of-bands-im-jumping-in-song.html

      Going back to Lee's blog to get the URL, I discovered that many of the later comments, including my retraction, have completely DISAPPEARED!

      Good ol' Blogspot.com - reliably unreliable as usual! If I had to pay money for this service... I WOULDN'T!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    4. I now don't recall what other comments were in that "Down by the River" post, but I do recall you sending a retraction. Puzzling if comments start disappearing. I'd never noticed this happening before.

      Lee
      Tossing It Out

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    5. LEE ~
      I've noticed other bloggers in our circle recently complaining (again) about disappearing comments or comments that "got eaten" by the system.

      This was a problem awhile back that seemed to have finally gotten resolved but has now returned.

      What this tells me is that Blogspot has AGAIN fixed something (that didn't need fixing) and the "fix" has resulted in another unrelated BUG being created.

      This is a never ending cycle which also occurred at Amazon.com constantly. These web designers can NEVER learn to leave well enough alone. (Actually, they continually tinker with things and make unnecessary adjustments just to justify their jobs, and every time they do, they manage to foul up something else that was working fine before the "unnecessary fix" was put in place.

      I don't know how many comments disappeared from your blog bit but I think there were plenty more, including my retraction and our later exchange there. There are probably LOTS of comments missing from ALL of our older blog bits now, but we are unaware of it because we don't usually go back to the really old ones and reread the comment sections.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    6. @Stepehn: Also true and a good point -- it's hard to fault an attempt at a lullaby for being too easy-listening. :)

      And I also lean towards Metheney's group stuff, and actually like some of Metheney's covers of Ornette tunes more than the Song for X album. As a whole "Off Ramp" is probably my favorite all together. I also tried to like "Zero Tolerance" bur failed. Yes -- I do prefer a little edge in my music, but too much does degenerate into chaos. You need that counterbalance of structure and form for the edge to play off of.

      It's like the Beatles -- Paul and John were greater together than either were apart. John's edginess and Paul's smoothness worked together to create balance and an amazing whole.

      Thanks for an interesting discussion!

      Delete
    7. Yeah, 'OFFRAMP' is a good one. If I could only keep one Metheny disc from my collection, I'd probably go with 'LETTER FROM HOME', but it would be a tough call. Would absolutely hate to never again hear the live album 'TRAVELS', which incidentally was the first one I ever bought.

      Back in the 1980s I kept seeing 'TRAVELS' on a shelf in a record store I often visited. I was really intrigued by the cover, although I'd never even heard of Pat Metheny before. Finally, one day I just broke down and bought it... for the cover! Got it home, played it, was blown away and that got me off and running, quickly adding more Metheny LPs to my collection.

      I am nowhere near the Beatles fan I once was, long ago in my high school daze, but your observation about Paul and John is spot on!

      Yeah, it was fun yakking music with ya. We'll do it again, I'm sure, in future 'Battle Of The Bands' installments.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    8. Oh yeah! "Travels" is awesome. I saw Metheny live several times during that period and I love that album!

      And it was fun yakkin' music, and to facilitate it even more, I'd like to join as a host for the next BOTB bout on the 15th, if that's ok. :)

      I have a lot of ideas for potential battles, but I'll kick it off with a Christmas tune.

      Thanks!

      Chris

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    9. CHRIS ~
      I have never seen Metheny perform live, however, I do own two or three of his concert DVDs and watch them periodically.

      And, yes, by all means please DO join the 'BOTB' party. The more the merrier. I'll be sure to visit your blog on December 15th for 'BOTB #10'. (And feel free to copy and use the 'BOTB' Dueling Guitars logo for your post.)

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  14. ‘BATTLE OF THE BANDS #9’
    STMcC’S VOTE AND THE FINAL TALLY:


    Well, the voting booth is now officially closed, the votes are in and counted and we have a winner for ‘SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN’.

    Frank Sinatra jumped out to a quick lead in this version of ‘Battle Of The Bands’ but he wasn’t able to hold that lead. “Ol’ Blue Eyes” or “The Chairman Of The Board” did, however, beat out Fred Astaire who surprisingly got two votes despite the disadvantage of having only a link here and not a front-and-center video presentation.

    My original idea was to match Fred Astaire up against Richard and Karen Carpenter, but then I began thinking it might not be a very competitive battle. I started looking for another version that I might want to replace Astaire with and that’s how I stumbled upon the Frank Sinatra version, which I don’t think I’d heard before.

    I am a BIG fan of Big Band Jazz and so I really liked the Sinatra version, primarily because of the exciting horn bursts and the Jazzy instrumental segment in the middle of the song. I felt that Sinatra against The Carpenters (two famous singers) would make for a better challenge than using Fred Astaire who is really remembered more for his dancing than for his singing.

    At the last minute I decided to include Astaire just as an “optional” link. Glad I did, since his version did not suffer a shutout.

    The final tally looks like this:

    Fred Astaire = 2 votes
    Frank Sinatra = 4 votes
    The Carpenters = 7 votes


    Although I liked the Sinatra version far, far better than I imagined I might, I voted resoundingly for Brother And Sister Carpenter.

    I simply LOVE Karen’s voice... what a loss when she died so senselessly. I also loved the lushness of the arrangement and the idea of presenting a song to little children who still believe in ‘The Fat Man In Red’ as a ballad; that was such a natural, perfect fitting idea.

    Arlee Bird said: >>… “The Carpenters get the vote because of the big sweet arrangement. Now if only they had cut the length of the song in half.”

    WHA’?! Cut the song in HALF? That would mean excising that wonderfully smooth yet sandy saxophone solo in the music break! Not on your life, Scrooge! I hereby sentence you to 40 lashes with a Mongolian horse hair fiddle bow!

    Thanks again to everyone for participating. I hope to see you here at F-FFF and voting and commenting again on December 15TH when I cook up my tenth edition of ‘Battle Of The Bands’.

    Until then... Bless And Be Blessed.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only they had used their extraordinary talents on a much better song. What next? "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer"? "Here Comes Santa Claus"? "Santa Baby"? Noooo--please not "Santa Baby".

      Lee
      An A to Z Co-Host
      Tossing It Out

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    2. Do you mean songs like 'Carol Of The Bells', 'Ave Maria', 'It Came Upon A Midnight Clear', 'O Holy Night', 'Little Altar Boy', 'Do You Hear What I Hear?', 'I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day', and 'Silent Night'?

      Well, they recorded those too (and believe it or not, Sheboyganboy Six even likes the last one on that list!)

      I just happened to choose 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' because I like...

      ....EVERYTHING about it.

      Agree with you totally about 'Santa Baby' - it's a big #1 on my all-time Christmas song HATE LIST!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    3. Yes, I much prefer the classics that are in true keeping of the message of the season and the melodies are usually nicer.

      Now Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" is a good one. Oh, and 'Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer"--I'm sure you love that one. It's even better than those dogs barking "Jingle Bells".

      Lee
      An A to Z Co-Host
      Tossing It Out

      Delete
  15. I'm pleasantly surprised at the outcome. I thought surly Sinstra was going to take it. As I mentioned, I had not heard the Caroenters version before, but would gladly add it to my regular Christmas listening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're using your "Smart"Phone to leave comments again, aren't you?

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know why.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete

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