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.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

‘BATTLE OF THE BANDS #20’ (Or, ‘TOM WAITS VS. THE EAGLES’)


GOOD NEWS, BOYS AND GIRLS! FarAwayEyes and I have a new ‘Battle Of The Bands’ contest running through May, and one lucky cuss is going to win the compact disc of their choice. No jumping through hoops necessary; no coupons to clip, no cereal box tops to collect, and nothing to buy. All you gotta do is vote and comment on our ‘Battle Of The Bands’ posts. And, hell, you were gonna do that ANYWAY, right? Be sure to check out FAE’s ‘Far Away Series’ blog for rules ‘n’ regulations (which ain’t many). Alright, let’s get this party started...
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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, 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...
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THE  BATTLE  OF  THE  BANDS! (‘BOTB’)
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Shoop-Shooby –
Shooby-duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah –
Buh-Doo-Wah!
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EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
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This is Part 2 of my 2-Part ‘BOTB’ look at American Automobiles. In the last installment I used the song ‘Mercury Blues’ and put Steve Miller up against David Lindley. This time, it’s a song about a 1955 automobile – the make is undeclared, but I’m going to call it a Chevy.

In my youth, I had a great friend named Kelly “Andy” Anderson. Sadly, he killed himself in 1986.
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There was almost nuttin’ Kelly couldn’t do. He was a professional animator, he was a locksmith, he was a mechanic (rebuilt the engine in his Chevy pickup truck by himself), he was a firearms expert who handloaded his own ammunition, and he was the photographer who took and developed all of my publicity photos during the years I was attempting to put an acting career together (I paid him in beer).
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GRADE  A  QUALITY  PHOTOGRAPHS  FOR  12  CANS  O'  COORS.  WHAT  A  STEAL  DEAL!
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As mentioned, Kelly owned a Chevy pickup truck, and we had numerous adventures in it. With the help of Sheboyganboy Six, I narrowed it down to a 1953 to 1955 or ’57. I eventually decided that it was most likely a ’53.
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STMcC  &  KELLY:  DRINKIN'  LONE  STAR  BEER  &  SMOKIN'  CHEROOTS
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Kelly had his issues, but he was as good a friend as I’ve ever had, and a better friend than most people ever have in an entire lifetime. On any given day, I could have called Kelly at 3 AM and said, “Andy, I’m stuck in Wyoming with no way back to L.A. Can you come and get me?” By 3:15 AM (or the time it would take to brew a cup of coffee), Kelly would have been in his Chevy pickup and on his way to Wyoming to pick me up. SERIOUSLY!!!
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So, every time I have ever heard the song OL‘55, I have always thought of Kelly (even if his Chevy pickup truck was really a ’53). It’s a song I would love even without the Kelly “Andy” Anderson association.

It was written by Tom Waits and was the opening track on his 1973 debut album ‘Closing Time’. Here’s the original:

TOM WAITS – OL’ ‘55 (album: ‘Closing Time’, 1973)


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GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
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OL‘55 was covered by The Eagles the following year and included on their 1974 album ‘On The Border’. I heard this song (and owned it) many years before I ever knew of the Tom Waits original. In Los Angeles, OL’ ’55 got a lot of airplay. In fact, I was sure it had been a Billboard Top 40 hit because I’d heard it so often, but in checking my copy of ‘The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Hits, 1955-1995’ I was stunned to discover that it had NOT cracked the Top 40; apparently it was just a big FM radio hit.

Here’s what an Eagle had to say about the song...

Liner Notes from ‘THE VERY BEST OF THE EAGLES’:

OL' ‘55
GLENN FREY: David Geffen played me a tape of Tom Waits in his office. "Ol’ ‘55" was the first song on a demo that had maybe three songs on it. I loved the song, got Tom Waits' version, and took it to the band. I played it for Don and said, "I think we should do this. We can split the vocals, it could be really cool, and we could do oooohs in this section here." I really liked the song. Still do. It's such a car thing. Your first car is like your first apartment. You had a mobile studio apartment! "Ol’ ‘55" was so Southern California, and yet there was some Detroit in it as well. It was that car thing, and I loved the idea of driving home at sunrise, thinking about what had happened the night before.

I agree with every word of that!

The Eagles had more radio success with this Tom Waits song than Tom did, so let’s hear how The Eagles interpreted this great song.

THE EAGLES – OL’ ‘55 (album: ‘On The Border’, 1974)


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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN
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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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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 their blogs to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)
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Voice Your Vote @ ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ by clicking HERE. (And check out the rules to the new ‘BOTB’ Compact Disc contest!)
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.
Voice Your Vote @ 'A WRITER'S LIFE IN PROGRESS' by clicking HERE.
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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.

Links To Previous 'BOTB' Installments:
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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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.

43 comments:

  1. I learn something new everyday. I may forget it tomorrow, but I know about it now.

    I'd always assumed this song was written by the Eagles and this was the original version. I've always liked the Eagles version. I think it's among their better songs. When I saw the match up I was ready to cede it over to the Eagles.

    But then listening to Tom Waits, having gone into it with lowered expectations, I was quite surprised. That's the way the song is supposed to be done. The Eagles give a smooth take with big production and there's nothing for me to really fault with their version, but Waits has won me over with his version.

    To my sometimes faulty recollection, this is the first time I think I heard Waits do this song. I probably just never paid attention to it because I'm certain I've heard the whole album. For that matter I think I might own that album. Just goes to show how closely I've listened to Waits when his disc is spinning. Thanks for putting this in the spotlight for me.

    I vote a hearty vote in favor of Tom Waits version, but still dearly appreciate the Eagles version.

    Good showdown at the music corral.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. McBUDDY BOIDMAN ~
      For a number of years I too thought OL' '55 was an Eagles original. That's the only one I'd ever heard on the radio and didn't know the first thing about Tom Waits at that time.

      In the early '80s, my pal Pooh owned the Waits album 'SMALL CHANGE' and he and I used to like drinking to that one (a perfectly "liquid" collection of songs for boozin' to!)

      I started really enjoying some of those songs on 'Small Change', so I decided to start looking into this Tom Waits character. I eventually bought the album 'Anthology Of Tom Waits' which included OL' '55. Then I got 'Small Change', and my Waits collection began to grow from there.

      I'm pleased that OL' '55 was one of his earliest recordings, which makes it more listenable to me. Beginning with his third album 'Nighthawks At The Diner' Waits began "putting on" that... artificially guttural voice, really laying it on thick, which diminished the quality of some of his songs for me. He backed off of it a little bit for the 'One From The Heart' movie soundtrack, and I suspect it was because that music was meant to appeal to a wider mainstream audience.

      OL' '55 has Waits using his more natural, yet still somewhat growling masculine voice, and I think it works well for the melody and theme of OL' '55.

      Thanks for that vote, Lee.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  2. What an awesome story about an awesome guy. And those were great years for trucks. I absolutely love the look of those. One day I'd love to either have a 51-53 Chevy 3100 or a 51-53 Ford F-100. Both look amazing in that hot rod red. Insert Tim Allen grunt here.

    As for the song itself, I've never been a huge fan of the Eagles, but I like their cover more than I thought I would. That said, Tom Waits still wins... x2.

    ~6B and other B

    ReplyDelete
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    1. 6-B ~
      Yes, Kelly was a terrific guy - truly a one-of-a-kind person who was loyal to his few friends almost to a fault. It tore me to pieces when I heard about his suicide.

      He was also very much into skydiving ("Blue skies, black death!" was one of his oft repeated sayings. And I got the line "You know the gig" from Andy, too).

      I've never skydived, but I went to Kelly's "funeral", which basically means I was in the airplane when a group of his skydiving buddies jumped out of it and released Kelly's ashes while free-falling in midair. Kelly would have thought that was an absolutely perfect way to celebrate his life; he would have said no funeral was ever better.

      OK, I got you and Brandon down for Waits. Tom jumps out of the plane and takes an early 3-0 lead with him.

      Thanks to both of you Beer Boys for listening and voting.

      [Incidentally, I've been meaning to axe you for awhile now how you post those links to still photos. Is that something a computer illiterate person like me could learn? If so, when you've got a chance one of these days, would you send me an E with the instructions? Thanks!]

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
    2. What a wild way to celebrate a funeral. Don't know if it was your choice, but I would have also just spectated such a thing... skydiving is definitely not something you'll find on my bucket list.

      I have an e-mail coming your way either late tonight or tomorrow morning, and in addition to the reply, I'll explain how to insert links like the ones above. It's pretty easy and only requires one command of HTML code.

      ~6B

      Delete
    3. GREAT! Thanks, 6-B. I'll be watching for it.

      Skydiving isn't something you do without prior training, and since I'd had exactly NONE, I had no choice but to just accompany the blokes up and watch 'em jump out with Kelly's remains.

      I wouldn't fear skydiving, but it's a rather expensive endeavor and I really don't have a strong enough desire to even get started on it.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  3. Oh boy. This one is tough. I don't know if it is better or worse that the song is completely new to me. Maybe better. I don't have the prejudice of being attuned to hearing it a certain way.

    The Waits version strikes me as more melancholy. Part of that is his voice. He has this gravelly voice that you really hear more on the verses than the chorus. As he sings it, I feel him wishing that he had more time. Or could do it over. Or maybe just one more time. Even though he says he is "riding with Lady Luck," that isn't the feeling I get. Instead I feel the angst of "wishing I'd stayed a little longer and the feeling getting stronger."

    The Eagles version is more aesthetically pleasing. Henley and Frey's vocals are just so darn smooth. And they took this song and made it Eagles (does that make any sense?). With their version, it all feels happier. When they say they are "riding with Lady Luck" and "leading the parade" I believe it. For the record, this version is also more "singable," which only matters to those folks, like me, who enjoy singing along to the radio.

    I have now listened to both versions twice and when I listen to the Waits version, I think "Yep, that is the one." And then I listen to The Eagles and think, "Nope, this is the one." Can you tell that I am really torn here?

    I am going to ultimately go with The Eagles and here is why. By having two singers (Frey and Henley, I think) they capture the essence better of the song. Frey sings the chorus which is more melancholy while Henley sings the chorus which flips the coin and feels happier. I really feel like even though he left Lickety Split-ley (love that, btw) it is okay. He is taking the memory and riding with Lady Luck. Also, by being just a bit more upbeat it makes a better Ride Around In The Car song. I'd prefer to listen to Waits version in a dark bar drinking whiskey (if I drank whiskey). If I dove off that board, I'd probably take a coke with Captain Morgan. Anyway, that is how those two versions make me feel.

    So, I give to The Eagles by a hair. Or maybe the wind in my hair.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ROBIN ~
      I loved the way you dissected the performances and really analyzed the various parts of them.

      Although the arrangements of this song are not nearly so drastically different as some of my other 'BOTB' selections have been (and as your last one was), this one does differ enough, primarily because of the way the vocals are handled (as you noted) and also because the musical instruments that are the primary force in both of these versions are different.

      Yes, I could tell how difficult this decision was for you and I'm pleased that I concocted a 'BOTB' installment that didn't make your vote an easy decision.

      I'm really rather surprised though that you'd never heard The Eagles' version of this before. Out here in the "West" (California, Arizona) OL' '55 by The Eagles has gotten lots and lots of airplay and that's why I could scarcely believe that it had never broken into Billboard's Top 40 chart.

      Well, Robin, I wanna thank you for busting up the shut-out. No 'BOTBer' wants to see a shut-out.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  4. A nice tribute to a friend, so sad that he took the out option. Yes, California is CARS or was when hubs took me there for the first time. (San Diego) Every car that went by the window of a restaurant we were in was custom and looked very cool. Hubs loves cars. . .
    That said, my vote goes to the early Tom Waits, before he found his groove (the growly tone).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. D.G. ~
      Thanks so much for driving over here to my site, listening, and voting! Always pleased to see you here.

      Yeah, there's just something very Automobile-ish about Southern California culture. I think it started primarily because there was no subway transportation there (and still very little of it), but there was all those miles and miles of concrete ribbons (or, freeways).

      My guess is that more teenagers drive to high school in L.A. than in any other American city. I know I was driving to school my senior year.

      Unless the voting quickly makes a U-Turn, it looks like Tom is going to ride this 'Battle' to the finish line and get the checkered flag by a mile.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  5. I'll try to keep this simple. Didn't know it by name, but have heard the Eagles version many times, always thought it was one of their flat best. The story you told just gives it a more rich meaning. Almost cried, may yet thinking about it. I'll give my vote to Tom by a narrow margin.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. BROTHER MARTIN ~
      Thanks so much, my Friend!
      Not just for the vote, but also for the empathy.

      Yeah, something like that sticks with you... forever. And the sad fact is that Kelly was my second friend to leave like that. Ty Heath did a similar thing in the Summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school.

      I was beginning to think that being a friend of mine was a dangerous thing to one's good mental health.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  6. Damn...

    Looks like I can delete this scheduled post.

    Good choice...I assumed you'd forgotten this one since you'd not used it sooner.

    I'm thinking you know my vote...but I'll say it anyway...

    Tom Waits

    LC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LC ~
      Yep, I knew without a doubt where your vote was going to land.

      I still have several more good 'BOTBs' lined up that will seem "classic'... unless YOU beat me to those.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  7. Sheboyganboy SixMay 15, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    Perhaps I can begin to turn this vote around.

    Tom Waits is a great, great songwriter. However, I am not often thrilled to listen to him. I, too, loved the way Robin broke the versions down, but by the time I finished following the reasoning I am ENTHUSIASTICALLY casting a vote for the Eagles.

    To me, this is a case of Frey hearing an excellent song and recognizing the potential it had if DONE RIGHT... which they did.

    And with this vote, Armageddon may be postponed two weeks. To all heathens reading this: you're welcome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SBB-6 ~
      Ha!-Ha!

      I remembered that you rather strongly dislike LATER Eagles' stuffs. But this song, included on just their third album, is still "Early EAGLE", so I had a hunch you might attach your vote to their tail feathers in this particular instance.

      Thanks for keeping it interesting!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  8. I too am enthusiastically voting for the eagles...from a younger generation may I fact be a strong influence on this one...either way I just relate to the Eagles sound better!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. LUMA13 ~
    Thanks for coming by to listen and vote.

    Believe it or not, I think I'm starting to get an idea of which way you will vote on most of my 'BOTB' selections.

    I didn't tell anyone this, but while putting 'BOTB #20' together, I thought about my usual voters and tried to guess which way they would vote. I definitely imagined you voting for The Eagles.

    In fact, I believe the only one I've missed on is C.W. Martin. I thought he might lean slightly toward The Eagles. Turns out he leaned slightly toward The Waits.

    And Arlee Bird I wasn't too certain of, but thought Waits might edge out The Eagles, so that was another Eagle feather in my prognosticatin' cap.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  10. And here comes another vote for the Eagles! Robin expressed the reasons beautifully.

    Besides, I simply LOVE the Eagles, both musically and personally. Joe Walsh is an active amateur radio operator, and an all-around good, but nutty, guy.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. SUSAN ~

      >>... Joe Walsh is ... an all-around good, but nutty, guy.

      And as I hear tell, life's been good to him so far.

      Thanks for your vote.

      Now I'm going to get behind the wheel of my Maserati and fly like an Eagle.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  11. Al Bondigas here. When you were talking about making this your next BOTB installment, I thought for sure it would be a slam dunk for Waits, but, I must admit that the Eagles held their own. I still go with Waits, but closer than I would have guessed. That's it, that's my rulin'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Here come da judge!
      Here come da judge!"


      JUDGE AL BONDIGAS ~
      Thanks for your ruling in this case.

      Well, I guess that settles it then, and the court is adjourned.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  12. "And as I hear tell, life's been good to him so far."

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The really important stuffs I'm still able to remember.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'L.A.U.'

      Delete
  13. First, let me tell you that I am an Eagles fan. I really don’t know what caused all the hate directed at them. Sometimes, it feels like it doesn’t pay to be too popular.

    Anyway…I like their version of this song. It has a more fun feel to it.

    BUT, Mr. Waits feels this song, or maybe I feel this song when he sings it. That melancholy feel of regret. The suns comin’ up on another day and he sounds reluctant to let go of the one just past. Sometimes, I know exactly what he sings.

    Maybe, it also has to do with the overall tone of this post and your ties to Kelly that give me that sad; ‘I don’t really want to past to end’ feeling. Maybe it’s just me and my current state of mind. Maybe I’m just such a sucker for that gravelly voice, with the downhearted undertones that Mr. Waits does so well, BUT in this BATTLE Tom sings this song the way it was meant to be felt.

    I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get over here. It’s just been one of those weeks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FAE ~
      I have publicly said the same thing: I do NOT get the fairly recent 'EAGLE-Hatred' thang. My guess is that someone famous started it and all the Americonned Sheeple (97% of Americans have not had a single original thought in their entire lives - and that's official, that's "CLOCKED!") just jumped on that bandwagon.

      While I am NOT a big Eagles fan (owned no more than 4 of their albums in the Album-Buying Heyday of my young years - but 'On The Border' was one of them!), I will say that they were a good band who created a lot of good recordings, and their cover of 'OL' '55' is unquestionably one of them.

      My guess is that most of the Eagle-Haters are probably big fans of that fantastic loser, Kurt Cobain, who couldn't even stand having everything anyone could want.

      In my opinion, The Eagles weren't a "great" band, but they were a damned good one. Today, I don't own any of their albums on CD, because my tastes went 'Blues and Jazz' in the mid-1980s. But I'd be happy if someone bought me an Eagles' 'Best Of' type of C.D. which included their excellent cover of 'OL' '55' (and 'JAMES DEAN').

      I must admit though that I guessed WRONG on your vote. I knew you are a 'Country Music' fan, and the Eagles' version, with its focus on the steel guitar, definitely has a more 'Country' feel than does the piano-dominated Tom Waits original. And that's the sole reason I guessed you for being an Eagles voter here.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  14. No worries...that's an easy mistake, cause you know I like me some country music. Like you I tend to prefer the older stuff, but there is some new country that is OK.

    But, I would figure that by now you would have also recognized my tendency towards those gravelly voiced guys, who can just barely carry a tune, but still have a talent for singing to your (or at least my) heart, and write some of these best music.

    Well, I'll say it. WHOO WEE! I'm sure you broke some hearts back then, probably still do today!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hey Blogger: you ate a whole paragraph, that was there when I hit publish.

      I'll be back later when I'm not working off the 'dumb phone' to clarify.

      Delete
    2. HA!
      The only thing I break these days is...






      ...a sweat.

      (You thought I was going to say "wind", didn't you?)

      Have I ever mentioned that I HATE hotter'n hell Phoenix, Airheadzona? No? Well then I'll say it now: ..."I HATE hotter'n hell Phoenix, Airheadzona!"

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
    3. The missing paragraph...

      I'm surprised that with all the 'lady friends' you have, not a one mentioned that sexy picture of a young STMc. Nobody said a word.

      About your reply....

      Ha,ha,ha! And, yeah, I think I've got the picture of exactly how you feel about Phoenix, AZ.

      Delete
  15. Part 1 Of 2:

    STMcC’s Vote On ‘BOTB #20’
    And The Final Tally:


    As always, I am grateful for each and every person who took the time to listen to these songs, cast a vote and explain the reasons for their vote.

    I felt this was an A-List ‘Battle Of The Bands’ match-up with two really excellent versions of a truly great song going toe-to-toe. The voting results, however, were a bit more one-sided than I had anticipated.

    Often enough when I post a ‘BOTB’ installment I have some inkling about which participant I suspect will win the showdown. And by no means do I always think that the version I myself am planning to vote for is the version that is going to win the contest. Sometimes I figure the version that I prefer will likewise be preferred by the voters, and sometimes I suspect my own vote is going to be in the minority when the dust settles.

    I find it amusing to discover how wrong my preconceived belief often turns out to be. The one thing I usually feel quite certain about is that the voting results will be very close.

    The ONLY ‘BOTB’ blog bit I’ve ever posted in which I was already pretty sure the voting would end up in a landslide victory for one of the participants, was the time I put The Doors up against Tiny Tim’s cover of The Doors’ hit song ‘People Are Strange’. I figured Tiny Tim was going to get utterly wiped out in that contest. I knew it would NOT be a shutout because he already had my vote in the bag, but I expected mine would be the ONLY vote he got. But even there my preconceived suspicion turned out to be wrong because, while The Doors did DOUBLE the number of votes Tiny got, the final tally was 6 to 3, which wasn’t a bad showing for Tiny at all, considering he’s often (wrongly) thought of as the dregs, the bottom of the barrel of the American musical landscape.

    Well, my pre-‘BOTB’ expectations for this installment again turned out to be incorrect! Tom Waits Vs. The Eagles over the song OL’ ’55. I thought the voting might be pretty close because I knew of a few people who were expected to vote for Waits, the song’s writer, but the fact that The Eagles had scored a well-known FM radio hit with the song led me to believe that “familiarity breeds votes”. I thought The Eagles would win this Battle by a slight margin. I was wrong on BOTH counts.

    Also, I want to confess that I actually used this particular ‘BOTB’ installment to conduct a little experiment: In all cases, when I go to YouTube to find the song videos I plan to use, whenever possible I try to find a video with the LEAST amount of accompanying visuals, because I don’t want the video itself to sway voters in the least; I’m shooting for an evaluation of the song solely on its own musical merits.

    If I can find a video that simply displays a single image on the screen throughout the song’s duration, that’s ideal. Maybe it’s just a photograph of the cover of the album that the song derives from; or maybe it’s just a single image of the performer that remains unchanged on the screen throughout the playing time. THESE are the sorts of videos I look for first.

    If there are multiple images in the video or multiple visual effects, then I will select the video with THE LEAST number of images or effects.

    Continued Below...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Part 2 Of 2:

      However, in ‘BOTB #20’, I decided to try something different as a little experiment. At YouTube, I found the song OL’ ’55 in the ideal form for BOTH performers. There was the one I used here for Tom Waits in which the album cover was the only image displayed throughout the song.

      I also found OL’ ’55 by The Eagles in which the only image displayed was the cover of their ‘On The Border’ album. I was going to use that one until an experimental idea popped into my mind... I also found at YouTube the video for The Eagles’ version of OL’ ’55 which I decided to use HERE IN THIS CONTEST.

      I thought this Eagles video was a pretty good one – some interesting and cool images that really related well to the lyrics of the song. So I said to myself: STMcC, why don’t you – just this one time – conduct an experiment by using two unequally yoked videos for the performers? Use the Tom Waits video where the image is just the album cover from beginning of the song to the end. And then use the very creative, visually appealing video for The Eagles’ take on the song, and let’s see if we can determine just how much a fancy video can sway the decisions of the voters.

      Since I was already inclined to think that The Eagles were going to win this ‘BOTB’ contest by a slight margin, I wanted to see if having the better video presentation might help them to win the contest by a much larger margin.

      Well, obviously I was wrong about my original premise (i.e., The Eagles would win in a close race), and I think I’ve also determined that having the splashier, more eye-catching video doesn’t really help a contestant in these ‘BOTB’ installments much, if any at all. Because The Eagles got pretty well knocked for a row o’ liblabs in this Battle.

      As previously stated, for many years I thought OL’ ’55 was an Eagles original and I truly loved it. I still DO love it. I was always perfectly happy to own and listen to OL’ ’55 by The Eagles because I think it’s great. However, when I eventually came to hear the Tom Waits original, I realized that it is greatER.

      Why do I prefer Tom’s take? Primarily because of this: The song is about a guy driving home at sunrise after spending a wonderful night with a woman he’s extremely attracted to and fond of. He’s in his old car, heading home, and he’s all alone with just his thoughts of the night before to accompany him during the drive.

      A solo voice – Tom’s singing – better matches the mood of the words, the theme of the song, than does multiple voices – The Eagles – even though those multiple voices provide some damn fine harmonizing.

      Also, Tom’s rough-edged, slightly sandpaper voice provides a kind of ragged element to the sound of the song; after all, this is supposed to be a bleary-eyed guy who has had a rather memorable evening and has probably gotten little if any sleep. And then, as mentioned by both ROBIN and FAE, there’s a slight melancholy or sad undertone in Tom’s singing, and that works to further express the idea that our lone driver is sorry to have seen the night before come to an end, and now it’s back to the grind, with just his memories to keep him company.

      The Eagles’ version by comparison is smooth, very polished with intricately worked out vocal parts, but... it kind of misses some of those relevant aural touches that makes Tom’s version seem a bit more authentic. The Eagles’ version hits the dart board very near the center, but Tom’s version is an absolute bull’s-eye.

      For all those reasons, I cast my vote for Tom Waits, even though The Eagles’ interpretation of Tom’s song is really excellent and probably couldn’t be topped by anyone other than the songwriter himself.

      Vote Total:

      Tom Waits = 9 Votes.
      The Eagles = 4 Votes.


      Thanks again to all y’all, and I hope to see you back at ‘Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends’ on June 1ST for ‘Battle Of The Bands #21’.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      ‘Loyal American Underground’

      Delete
    2. So, you was using us a lab rats, eh?

      I actually laughed out loud when I finished reading this two part explanation, because when I was listening to BOTB on the 15th, in you case in particular, I clicked on the video and then got up and started moving around the house, picking up some of the carnage from the night before. So, in both cases I didn't even see what was playing on the screen. Ha! I'm going back to watch the Eagles version and see exactly what's there.

      Either way I would still vote fore the more 'melancholy version by the man with the throat full of gravel.

      I agree that this BATTLE was most definitely 'A-List'.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, FAE.
      I thought with these two versions of the song it was a Win-Win 'BOTB'. There was no possibility of casting a bad vote. Of course I try to make all my 'BOTB' match-ups like that, but my own preference is sometimes quite pronounced - like when I used the song 'My Favorite Things', and also the last 'BOTB' with 'Mercury Blues'. I had very strong preferences in those cases. But in this case, Tom Waits wins me over, but not by any vast margin.

      >>... So, you was using us a lab rats, eh?

      Heh!-Heh!
      Well, if it makes ya feel any better, I was thinkin' of y'all more as guinea pigs.
      [;0)

      The good news is that in the future I'm not going to worry so much about the video images in a chosen song, because I really don't think it impacts the outcome much if at all.

      "One by one your dreams will all come true."

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  16. I'm a bit surprised how much more Waits won by, but not particularly surprised that his version won considering your audience.

    I usually flip the song on and then listen while I do other things on the internet like skim through email or some task where I can listen to the song. Rarely do I watch the video unless there is something about it that draws me in. The video content is probably incidental to the BOTB concept--for me at least.

    Lee
    A Faraway View

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    1. LEE ~
      Yeah, it surprised me too.

      Had I known in advance that this BOTB installment would receive 13 votes, I probably would have guessed that The Eagles would win by a score of 7 to 6. Basing their slight edge on the fact that their cover is actually better known than the Tom Waits original.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  17. Interesting outcome. I am not at all surprised that Tom Waits won it. I was extremely conflicted over my own vote. I don't watch the videos because I don't want them to influence me. I tend to close my eyes and listen, so I didn't even know that The Eagles version had visuals. Ha!

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    1. ROBIN ~
      I always thought of The Eagles' version as an "A" song. I never dreamed it could get better until a few years later when I first heard the Tom Waits original and figured it to be an "A+".

      It's just an excellent song that, I think, a person would really have to work hard at in order to mess it up.

      I just now submitted a 2-part comment to your last blog bit. I'd forgotten that I'd failed to remember to return and leave the comment I meant to leave back when I alluded to it prior to forgetting about it.

      Who's on first?

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
    2. S. - any chance you can I can discuss Stairway of the Stars? Assuming no news is good news from Jubilant Sykes? Drop me a line, please.

      BG

      Delete
    3. DR. VIBES ~
      First, I attempted to reply to you on your own blog but it's damned near impossible. I don't know why (possibly because the multitude of links and videos posted) but it's a very frustrating thing to try to scroll down through your posts. Neither the mouse wheel or the sliding side tab permits one to scroll smoothly down through your installments. (I was trying to locate where I had posted there to you once before but it would have taken me 45 minutes to work my way down to it.)

      Second... at this point you probably think I'm an awful flake. Well, you're right, I AM a flake - but not an "AWFUL" one.

      There is no possible way I could have forgotten about you because the vast majority of comments I post on my blog and the blogs of others, I first compose in a Word File on a page labeled 'Correspondence'. Then I copy and paste my comments on the blogs. (If a bug should eat them, I've still got a backup copy in my Word File for a little while, so I can just copy and paste a second time, without having to try to remember the entire comment and retype it.)

      Near the very top of my 'Correspondence' Word File page it says "DORKER VIBES!!!", underlined, in bright red, and written in 18 point Verdana type. So, I see that just about every day when I go to compose a comment for any blog. Can't possibly fuhgeddabout ya!

      Quick Explanation: Yes, "no news" might very well be "good news" (for you, anyway) but I'm not certain quite yet.

      Here's the deal... after a lot of work, Googling various sites and names, etc. I managed (I "think") to finally locate the agent who represents Jubilant Sykes. On 2 or 3 different occasions I have Emailed him via the "contact" link on his website home page, but I have still not heard a single peep in reply. I'm now kind of irritated. The least the agent could do is get back to me with a "Yes, J.S. is interested" or "No, thank you, but J.S. already has it" (or just "doesn't want it").

      But maybe the agent is just a piece of crap human being (many agents ARE!) and he hasn't even bothered to tell J.S. about the ("free"!) offer.

      So, here's what I'm going to do: The website also includes a phone number. My next full days off are Tuesday and Wednesday. At some point on one of those days, I'll actually CALL the numbskull agent and ask him point blank on the phone about whether or not J.S. is interested in this album. (I'm sure I'll ALSO ask him why he never took even 3 minutes out of one of his "busy, busy" days to reply to one of my Emails!)

      So, buddy, just hang in there a little longer. I haven't forgotten, and I WON'T forget, and via the telephone I will get some sort of a response by, presumably, next Wednesday. Then I'll let ya know whether or not no news really has meant good news.

      Yak Later...

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'
      POSTSCRIPT:
      How come you aren't voting on these 'Battle Of The Bands' posts of mine? You know, all voters are welcome... and you certainly seem to have a great interest in music so... wha's up wid dat?

      Delete
  18. I think Lee has hit on the key when he says "considering your audience."

    Obviously, the decades have shown that most people prefer the Eagles to Tom Waits, in a general sense. They have sold millions of albums and can fill a stadium with $100 seats. "Eagles win."

    However, your friends and readers are a special bunch with rather independent minds, so Waits clocks the Eagles and even Tiny Tim gets a few votes in the earlier contest. I'd have bet ahead of time that Waits would win this one... AND that you'd vote for him.

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    1. SHEBOYGANBROTHER SIX ~
      Mmmm... I hear what you're saying, and there may be "some" truth to it, but there's not enough evidence (yet) to completely sell me on the concept.

      Without doubt you are correct that the majority of my readership possesses "independent minds" - and I love all y'all for that very trait! One pretty much MUST be willing to think outside of the lamestream media "box" in order to return to my blog time after time, because so much of what I present is simply unacceptable to the average Americonned person.

      And, indeed, The Eagles were far more popular in general than Tom Waits, who has remained a kind of fringe cult favorite. (Much of that, however, is due to the "facade" he's worn, and which he even ramped up several times over since 1983.)

      But in my opinion, this is still much too small a sample to draw any real conclusions from. For example, some of the younger voters, whom we wouldn't expect to know a great deal about Waits (e.g., The Beer Boys) voted for him over the more popular and commercial Eagles.

      Susan, whom I might have thought to be a Waits voter went with the Eagles.

      You yerself, definitely possessing an independent mindset, voted for The Eagles.

      I can tell you that a young guy, probably in his mid-twenties, had told me previously (a few years back) that The Doors was his very favorite musical group. And yet in the 'People Are Strange' BOTB challenge, he actually preferred Tiny Tim's version.

      So... in all honesty, I don't think there's enough of a sample size and enough clear evidence to really attribute Tom's win in this battle to anything other than the reasons given by those who voted for him.

      I think The Eagles' version is GREAT (as I wrote above), but for all the elements that I described - which I felt related a bit more to the theme of this song - the Waits version is just a tad bit more on target. And since the entire concept and scenario was conceived in HIS mind, it kind of makes sense that he'd have a slight edge when attempting to translate it into music. (Although I concede there are many cases when that really doesn't hold true.)

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  19. Thanks for getting back. So that we don't have to communicate by navigating the lengthy posts of our respective blogs, here is my email address: benjamin.gotts@yahoo.com (please edit or don't publish this comment!). Hope to hear from you this week once you've had a moment to call up Jubilant's gang. Thanks, Ben

    ReplyDelete

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