I’m super late getting my Results post up. So sorry about that! But here it is:
The song was Al Green’s spirited Take Me to the River and the contenders were Al Green and the Talking Heads. It ended up being a very close battle. Al Green won by 2 votes.
My vote went to the Talking Heads. I definitely enjoyed Al Green’s version, loved his soulful voice and that gravelly scream and the horns but I was more connected to the Talking Heads distinctive sound. I was undecided for quite a time but my decision came down to one question: If I was stuck somewhere and only had one song to listen to, which version would I want to listen to over and over? My answer was the Talking Heads version.
Here’s the final tally:
Al Green: 9 votes
Talking Heads: 7 votes
As always, thanks for participating in my battle. See you on the 15th for the next one! Again, my apologies for being so late with this results post… But here’s another Al Green Great: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart — I’m in a little need of mending myself…
It’s November already and that means it’s time for another Battle of the Bands, hosted by Stephen McCarthy. Give a listen to the two contenders and vote which version you like better. I’ll post the results in 6 days. Today I’m featuring the song “Take Me to the River.”
“Take Me to the River” is a 1974 song written by singer Al Green and guitarist Mabon “Teenie” Hodges.
CONTENDER #1: AL GREEN
The original version was recorded by Al Green as a track on his 1974 album, Al Green Explores Your Mind, produced by Willie Mitchell and featuring musicians Charles, Leroy and Mabon Hodges (The Hodges Brothers), drummer Howard Grimes, and the Memphis Horns. Green and Mabon Hodges wrote the song while staying in a rented house at Lake Hamilton, Arkansas, for three days in 1973 in order to come up with new material. According to Mitchell, Green wrote the words and Green and Hodges wrote the tune together. Green dedicated his performance on the record to “…Little Junior Parker, a cousin of mine, he’s gone on but we’d like to kinda carry on in his name.” According to one writer, “Green’s song squares the singer’s early religious convictions with more earthly interests”, but when the singer became a pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in 1976, he dropped the song from his repertoire.
CONTENDER #2: TALKING HEADS
In 1976, Foghat made the first recording of the song by a rock band, on their album Night Shift. Two years later, it was recorded separately by Levon Helm and Bryan Ferry on solo albums, and then by the band Talking Heads on their second album More Songs About Buildings and Food. Their version, recorded with co-producer Brian Eno in Nassau, Bahamas, was edited and released as a single, and reached # 26 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1979, as well as hitting the singles charts in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Thomas Ryan wrote of Talking Heads’ version that it “broadsided the status quo by combining the best ingredients of conventional pop music and classic soul music, stirring them together, and then presenting the mix in the guise of punk rock.”
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: