Battle of the Bands: Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games with Me)

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It’s time for another Battle of the Bands and today I’m featuring a One Hit Wonder from the 70s. “Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games with Me)” is a song written and recorded by Minneapolis-based band Crow that appeared on their 1969 album Crow Music. It reached #19 on The U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Pop Chart. I’m pitting Crow’s original version against the cover by Black Sabbath.  Give a listen to the two contenders and vote which one you like best. I’ll post the results in 6 days!

Contender #1: Crow

Crow is a blues rock band, that was first active from 1967 to 1972. They are best known for this song “Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games With Me),” which was notably covered by Black Sabbath. Crow’s version features some outstanding brass. Ironically, the Crow band members were at first against adding the horns.

 

 

 

Contender #2: Black Sabbath

Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games with Me) was covered in 1970 by Black Sabbath –an English rock band formed in 1968 by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward and the widely recognized singer Ozzy Osbourne. It was released as their first single (also known simply as “Evil Woman”). The song also appeared on Sabbath’s debut album, Black Sabbath, later that year.

Despite being Sabbath’s first single, “Evil Woman” was excluded from Black Sabbath’s debut album in the United States, being replaced by “Wicked World”. The song was first officially released in the U.S. in 2002, on the compilation Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978. Their version has some fantastic guitar work.

 

 

TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why? And when you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

 

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46 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands: Evil Woman (Don’t Play Your Games with Me)

  1. Hi, Michele!

    This Crow 45 has been in my collection for many years and so has their 1970 single “Cottage Cheese” b/w “Slow Down,” the latter a cover of the Larry Williams song famously covered by The Beatles. In fact, “Slow Down” is my favorite Crow side. I think the record company suits dropped the ball by releasing “Cottage Cheese” as the A side. The campus radio station at Paterno State played “Slow Down” heavily and pushed “Cottage Cheese” to the back of the fridge.

    What a great piece of trivia that the members of Crow weren’t jazzed about adding the horn section to “Evil Woman”! I love the brassy horn bands of the late 60s and early 70s – Chicago, the Buckinghams, BS&T, the Ides of March, Jay & the Techniques, the Okaysions, Cold Blood, Rare Earth, Chase, etc. The Crow recording became a classic of the period with the addition of those glorious horns.

    I enjoyed the cover of “Evil Woman” by Black Sabbath, never heard it before, but think the song works better delivered in a tongue-in-cheek manner, the way Crow does it. Ozzy’s vocal is too dark and sinister and not as much fun for me. I admit that the Black Sabbath guitar work is sensational, but the horns on the Crow original won me over big time. I vote for Crow!

    Thank you, dear friend Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m listening to Slow Down right now. Great song. Hard to believe that went to the B side. Cottage Cheese is good too though. Slow Down should’ve been a single in its own right.
      Isn’t that interesting that Crow didn’t want the horns at first? That’s one of the strong features of the song. I’m sure they were glad they finally agreed to it.
      I love horns and most of the bands you mentioned I love (Chicago, Rare Earth, Ides of March in particular).

      Thanks for your vote. I’ve got you down for Crow. Hope you had a good Sunday!

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  2. I well remember the Crow version of this song, but I don’t remember Sabbath’s version though I listened to that album plenty of time. I guess the song seemed so out of context for them to me that maybe I just shut it out.

    There is plenty of similarity between the two versions other than the horns in the Crow version. That makes for a very tough choice. I prefer Ozzy’s vocal and I like the guitars better than the horns for the most part. However the jazzy horn break and the change-up in vocal harmonies that comes afterward tips the vote in favor of Crow.

    It’s a close call, but I’ll vote for Crow.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you were listening to Black Sabbath’s debut album back in the early 70s, Evil Woman wasn’t featured; it was only released on the European version of the album. Later it was added to their 2002 compilation album. Maybe that’s why you don’t remember it.

      Thanks for your comments and your vote. I’ll put you down for Crow. Glad it was a close call for you. I like my battles to be tough choices. It doesn’t always work out that way, as we well know, so I’m glad to hear that you were torn for a minute or so… 🙂

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      • Well, that explains a lot then. Me and my friends used to listen to that album an awful lot so I think I’d recognize what I’d heard off of it. “Evil Woman” seems very out of character with the rest of that album.

        Arlee Bird
        A to Z Challenge Co-host
        Tossing It Out

        Liked by 1 person

        • Probably why the label decided not to include it. I’m glad it made it onto the compilation album though. They do a great cover of this song…

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    • I knew you would choose Black Sabbath Debbie! 🙂 The guitar work in this song really rocks.
      And yes I did see them live. On the Black and Blue tour (when they toured with Blue Oyster Cult): GREAT concert!! I had really great seats too… 🙂
      Thanks for your vote: the first one coming in for Black Sabbath.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That must have been a great show! Tony Iommi is one of the greatest guitarists on the planet, IMO. (Not to mention, easy on the eyes 🙂 ) Did you know that two of his fingertips were sheared off in an industrial accident? He wears finger guards because of it and that’s how his signature sound came about.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I did not know that! Fascinating. I can’t imagine having my fingertips sheared off….just reading that gave me chills.

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    • The guitar on Black Sabbath’s version of this song is really quite extraordinary. Glad you found something redeeming in it. Thanks for your vote Barbara. Another one in for Black Sabbath…

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  3. I’ve heard Crow’s version a million times and I hope to hear it a million more times before I depart this mortal plane. It’s a great song, and while Black Sabbath does a great job (I liked Tony Iommi’s guitar break in the middle, but the heavy bass and rhythm guitar made it hard to hear), they’re missing the brass and the organ; I never realized how much the organ added to the original. Give my vote to Crow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oo, I’m glad that you are such a fan of this song John! Me too!
      I think this contest is coming down to guitar vs. horns.
      Thanks for your vote. Another one in for Crow.

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  4. First time I’ve ever heard this song and as I’m not a fan of either group I can give a totally unbiased opinion – definitely Crow for me but don’t tell my beloved as he is a huge Sabbath fan.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is one battle where I instantly lock in to one band over another but I’m not sure why. I don’t have a pre-existing preference for either. Great battle, give my vote to BLACK SABBATH. Pure Ozzie in his element. Great battle between two great bands.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. MICHELE ~
    I’d never heard this song before (and I don’t think Electric Light Orchestra is losing any sleep over it), and I was pretty much “…whatever…” about it, generally.

    My favorite musical genre, and thus the one I probably know most about (although Rock is very close) is JAZZ. So, obviously, I LOVE horns. And based on the descriptions, I expected I’d vote for Crow. But… somehow I found the horns rather pedestrian sounding. They were OK, but not remotely approaching Chicago; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Average White Band (on ‘Pick Up The Pieces’), etc. Let alone the Jazz greats.

    So, I just wasn’t “Wowed” by Crow. And although I’m no Black Sabbath fan (‘Technical Ecstasy’ was the only album by them I ever owned), I thought they put it all together better somehow. Color me “Surprised”.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I’m excited that you’re surprised. That’s better than an Eh… 🙂
      I’ll put you down for Black Sabbath…
      Thanks for your vote Stephen. Have a great week. Hope you’re feeling better…

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  7. I had not even heard of Crow until now. (hiding head in shame). I think they did a stand up job, but from the very moment that Black Sabbath’s version started playing… I was immediately drawn in by the bass. That combination with Ozzie’s vocals just … works for me. I found myself grooving along to the song.

    Please give my vote to Ozzie and his pals.

    Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have to give it over to Crow because I like the horn section and I like the vocal better than Ozzy’s which, strangely, sound too soft for this song. By the way…isn’t Ozzy’s an idiot!? I wonder who in their right mind would sleep with that guy who will probably have early onset dementia and then I saw her face. Poor Sharon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know. She’s given so much of herself and her life to him and he does her like that. He’s a pig.
      Thanks for your vote. Another one for Crow…

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  9. This kind of music is really out of my “comfort zone”. My oldest son was a huge Black Sabbath fan. And I was a typical mom in telling him that his music was ‘crap’ Lol! And now here I am, today, giving my vote for Black Sabbath. I don’t know why. I found it less irritating than the other one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol. Life comes full circle… You’ll have to tell him that you voted for Black Sabbath. Wonder what he’ll say?? Let me know if you do tell him… 🙂
      Thanks for your vote Paula

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  10. Should I make a comment about this song and my ex-wife? Nahh, I won’t be that evil.
    Of the two versions, I love the first, Crow. The inclusion of the horns won me over.
    Hmmmmm, a song about an evil woman and the inclusion of horns. That has not escaped my notice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol. Yeah, some women can be downright evil… And you don’t even see their horns!
      Thanks for your vote. Another one for Crow. This is a neck and neck battle. Love that!

      Like

  11. Not a fan of Black Sabbath and I didn’t think I had ever heard of crow, but I had heard this song before. Actually, it sounded quite familiar. That was a little strange. Anyway…I just plain don’t like Ozzy’s vocals. Kind of like nails on a chalkboard for me. So give my vote to Crow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Fae. I’m not surprised that you were unfamiliar with Crow. This song is pretty much a one-hit wonder for the group. Thanks for your vote: Crow brings in another vote in this race to the finish…

      Like

  12. Stephen has it right, comparing Crow’s talent to Chicago, and others, but I really love the horns’ addition. A new song to me but I’ll be adding it to my favorites.

    Vote for Crow.

    Like

  13. I know this will come as a shock, but this isn’t really my “kind of music.” So, I’ve not heard either of these before. I can’t say I fell in love with either of them, BUT I didn’t hate either of them, so there’s that. I expected to prefer to Crow and found that I didn’t. I’ve heard some of Ozzy’s later stuff and his voice seems harsher. I don’t know if that is age or a choice, but I preferred this incarnation. So, give my vote to Black Sabbath.

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  14. I love Black Sabbath; one of the first underground groups I heard back in the day. But I really liked the horns in Crow’s version, it was a good choice for sound.

    Awesome match up; wonder why the Crows didn’t catch on as a group?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Getting your vote in under the wire Donna. I was just about to tally the results! Another one for Crow. Stay tuned for the results…
      Thanks for your vote.

      Like

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