Hi all. First of all, thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers for my Mom. She decided to have the surgery to remove the mass on her brain and on Tuesday morning she had the 7 hour surgery. She came through it good; the surgeon got 90% of the mass — he said it was one of the largest masses that he’s ever taken out. Mom is still in a sleeping state and still intubated because breathing on her own would be too much effort and energy expended which would cause further swelling in the brain so the breathing tube is doing the work instead. We are far from being out of the woods yet though. There is significant swelling in her brain and we desperately need it to come down so, if you all will, please continue to pray and keep good positive thoughts and energy flowing for her. I want my Mom back home!
I just finished tallying the votes for the Goin’ Out of My Head battle. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go and after counting all the votes and casting my own (for the Zombies version), I am unable to declare a winner because it ended in a TIE with 5 votes for Classics IV and 5 votes for the Zombies.
I don’t know how I feel about a Tie result. In a way it means the battle had evenly matched contenders, which is a good thing, I strive to have evenly matched contenders because blowouts are never fun. But a tie result in a battle is kinda like watching a really good movie that has a crappy ending, leaving the audience unsatisfied and hanging.
In any case, it is what it is. So rather than not declaring a winner, I’ll declare both contenders in this battle a winner. Obviously both Classics IV and the Zombies did fabulous covers of Little Anthony & the Imperials R&B hit “Goin’ Out of My Head.”
So as to not leave you all disappointed and unsatisfied, let me close with another cover of this song that I had considered using in this battle. I didn’t because I figured that to pit this cover up against either of the two I did use would end the battle in a blowout. What do you all think? Do you agree? If I had used this cover against either the Zombies version or the Classics IV version, would you have liked this one better and cast your vote for the great Luther Vandross?
Here is Luther Vandross covering “Goin’ Out of My Head”:
Please leave a comment and let me know if you would’ve chosen Luther had I used his cover in this battle. Or not.
See you next month on June 15th for another Battle of the Bands entry.
Wow, it’s been a minute or two since I’ve participated in the Battle of the Bands! I’m coming off of a fairly lengthy blogging hiatus. I don’t even know how long it’s been. It’s been so long that Stephen said he didn’t think I was ever coming back! Well, what do they say? You can’t keep a good rock & roll woman down…
I’m thrilled to be back with all of you and will look forward to making the rounds. Just know that it may take me a few days to get around to everyone as my Mom is having brain surgery this week. We just found out about it today, it was completely unexpected and we’re pretty freaked out. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.
[UPDATE 5/15: I talked to the neurosurgeon this morning and they don’t want to rush into surgery until the cardiac team evaluates her current heart condition. As many of you know she has been having cardiac issues since her valve replacement and repair surgery in 2016. So there will be a team of specialists working to determine the best course of action, being that the surgery is a major one (6-8 hours) and they need to have all the vital information and test results before proceeding. The evaluation probably won’t be finished until the end of this week. I will keep you posted but please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers if you are so inclined. Thank you all.]
As luck would have it, I already had this battle post queued up to publish on the 15th. So here it is:
First, a quick refresher: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB) is where you listen to different recordings of the same song and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 15th of each month (and some participants also do battles on the 1st of each month as well), and voting stays open for six days. You vote by leaving your choice in the Comment section below. Voting closes at midnight on the 21st, I place my own vote, tally them all up and announce the winner on the 22nd.
For my comeback battle, I’m tying into my theme for the Monday’s Music Moves Me blog hop: Songs with Body Parts in the Title. The first in my “Rock & Roll Head to Toe” seriesposted on Monday and features songs with the word HEAD in the title. (Click here if you’d like to check it out. There is some really great music in my playlist).
Today’s battle is veering a little off the rock & roll vibe and instead going mellow with one of my favorite R&B ‘Head’ songs, “Goin’ Out of My Head” by Little Anthony and the Imperials.
Little Anthony and the Imperials is an American rhythm and blues/soul vocal group from New York City founded by Clarence Collins in the 1950s and named in part for its lead singer, Jerome Anthony “Little Anthony” Gourdine, who was noted for his high-pitched voice. In addition to Collins and Gourdine, the original Imperials included Ernest Wright, Glouster “Nate” Rogers, and Tracey Lord, the last two of whom were subsequently replaced by Samuel “Sammy” Strain. The group was one of the very few doo-wop groups to enjoy sustained success on the R&B and pop charts throughout the 1960s. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 4, 2009, 23 years after the group’s first year of eligibility for induction.
“Goin’ Out of My Head” is a song written by Teddy Randazzo and Bobby Weinstein, initially recorded by Little Anthony & the Imperials in 1964. Randazzo, a childhood friend of the group, wrote the song especially for them (having also supplied the group with their previous Top 20 Hit “I’m on the Outside (Looking In)”.
Their original version of the song was a Billboard Top 10 Pop hit, reaching #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 in the Canadian RPM-list in 1965. The song peaked at #8 on Cashbox magazine’s R&B chart (Billboard was in a chart recess for R&B listings at that time). The Little Anthony & the Imperials original recording is the best-known version of the song, although it has since been covered by many other artists.
Here is the original for your reference and enjoyment only. It is NOT part of the battle, so don’t vote for this one!
HERE’S TODAY’S BATTLE! The battle for this song features covers done by these two groups:
CONTENDER #1: THE ZOMBIES – The Zombies, an English rock band formed in 1962 led by keyboardist and vocalist Rod Argent and vocalist Colin Blunstone, released their cover of Goin’ Out of My Head in 1966 on their album called The Original Studio Recordings, Vol. 3.
CONTENDER #2: CLASSICS IV – The Classics IV is a band formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1965. The band is often credited for establishing the “soft southern rock” sound. The band, led by singer Dennis Yost, is known mainly for the hits “Spooky”, “Stormy”, and “Traces”, released 1967 to 1969, which have become cover standards. Their cover of Goin’ Out of My Head appeared on the Classics IV 1968 album Spooky.
TIME TO VOTE! Which versions do you like better and why? Tell me in the Comment section below.
When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:
It’s December 1st, typically a day when new battles are featured but since the last two weeks have been insane in my life, I’m just now getting to present my Battle of the Sexes Results from the November mid-month battle.
The championship round in the Battle of the Sexes for the cover of Lee Michaels’ 1971 hit “Do You Know What I Mean” had Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys in the male corner up against Genya Ravanin the female corner.
Both came out swinging but you know how it goes, there’s only one winner in this battle. And although Genya Ravan gave it her all (she earned my vote too), the majority of folks preferred the male vocals for this song, giving the win to Kevin Naquin and those Ossun Playboys.
The final tally was 4 votes for Genya and 7 votes for Kevin.
But one thing was apparent: most everyone agrees with me that no matter how good the cover, no one does it better than the original, Lee Michaels.
I found this fabulous video on YouTube of Lee playing live on a short-lived TV show called the “Faberge Album of the Month”. Does anyone remember that show? I never heard of it but when I did a search, I discovered the announcement of the show development in a February 1971 issue of Billboard, an industry trade magazine. The blurb as published read:
Hughes TV Series to Feature Acts
A series of television specials, which will feature top contemporary recording artists and their hit LPs, will kick off on the Hughes Sports Network late in March. Jackie Barnett, president of Dawn Productions, Inc, a newly formed television production company, will put together the series in association with Faberge. The TV series will be titled the “Faberge Album of the Month.”
Plans call for the development of ten “Faberge Album of the Month” specials to be simulcast in 140 top markets via the Hughes Sports Network.“Each half-hour special,” Barnett said, “will delve into the performance of the artist’s music as well as probe into the personal motivation and musical attitudes of various artists.
The first major artists signed for their own half-hour special are Steppenwolf, Three Dog Night, Dave Mason and Mama Cass.
(Source: Billboard, Feb 6, 1971 issue, page 24)
Lee Michaels appeared on the show in August of 1971 and the video includes performances as well as interview clips and other cool tidbits about him, like his love of big cats, complete with footage of him with several of his beautiful Siberian Mountain Tigers! The battle song can be found at the 8:50 mark on the video.
In case this video doesn’t embed, here is the direct link to it on YouTube.
As always, thanks for participating in my battle. As previously mentioned, I’m going to go on a temporary blog hiatus for a few months…and a temporary life hiatus, if all goes as planned…
But I will make the rounds and vote in all of your December 1st battles. So see you soon!
It’s mid-month already! How did that happen? It seems it’s been happening more and more lately, this flyin’ time thing. I find myself saying “Stop the bus! I wanna get off!” … I just want to take minute and breathe. Do you know what I mean?
So I’m going to grab that minute while I can. After dealing with one crisis after another over here I need to take a break. I’m going to pull back from blogging for a few months, at least until after the New Year. Today’s battle, the culmination of my Do You Know What I Mean Battle of the Sexes, will be my last for 2018.
So let’s talk about this battle: One of those crises mentioned above caused me to miss posting the Results for the Female round earlier in the month. Let me fill you in on how that ended. If you were following the comments, you might already know how it ended: Between Gwen McRae and Genya Raven, poor Gwen took a thumpin’. The battle was nearly a shutout but for the vote cast for Gwen by John. Genya Raven handily captured the win in the Female round with a 9 to 1 final tally (including my vote).
And now we have our final duel in declaring the best cover of Lee Michaels’ hit song “Do You Know What I Mean.” Will it be the version with male vocals or female vocals? While I think most will agree that no one does it better than the original recording artist. After all, Lee Michaels, who wrote, performed and produced the song, took it to #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the Cash Box Top 100 in the summer of 1971. The song also closed the year with an impressive finish garnering a rank of #19 on Billboard’s Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1971.
You’ll get to decide which sex does it better as we kick off this Do You Know What I Mean Battle of the Sexesas our two finalists take the stage. First up is the male contender:
Contender #1: Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys
As a quick reminder: Kevin Naquin is a Cajun accordion player in south Louisiana from Ossun, Louisiana. Naquin is the lead singer and accordion player in the Cajun band Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys. In 2000, he won the CFMA – 2000 Album of the Year with his album “Pour La Premiere Fois” and CFMA – 2000 Song of the Year. He has recorded with Swallow Records and Bayou Groove Productions. He released a version of this song on his 2014 album, No Guarantee.
And here is this battle’s female contender:
Contender #2: Genya Ravan
Genya Ravan, a.k.a. Goldie (born Genyusha Zelkovicz; April 19, 1945) is an American rock singer and producer. She was lead singer of The Escorts, Goldie & the Gingerbreads, and Ten Wheel Drive. In 2013, Genya released an album entitled Cheesecake Girl and this cover of the Lee Michaels hit is from that album:
Now it’s up to you to declare the winner in the Battle of the Sexes for Best Cover of Lee Michaels’ “Do You Know What I Mean”.
TIME TO VOTE! Which version gets your vote, the Female contender or the Male contender?
When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:
It’s November 1st and time for another Battle of the Bands. Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween last night. As per my usual tradition, we turned all the lights out, pretended not to be home to avoid incessant doorbell ringing by neighborhood trick or treaters and watched scary movies (Scream and Scream 2).
Speaking of scary movies, I’ve been a long-time fan of the original slasher film Halloween, directed and scored by John Carpenter back in 1978, which introduced the world to the creepy (and until now, apparently indestructible) Michael Myers. Last year on Halloween night, I introduced my Mom to that movie and its many sequels. Yesterday I took her to the new 2018 Halloween.
Set 40 years after the original film, the plot follows Laurie Strode as she prepares to face Michael Myers when he returns to Haddonfield, Illinois, after his killing spree on Halloween night in 1978. Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle reprise their roles as Strode and Myers, respectively, with stuntman James Jude Courtney also portraying Myers.
So how was it? Well, the Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus gave it a 79% and had this to say:
Halloween largely wipes the slate clean after decades of disappointing sequels, ignoring increasingly elaborate mythology in favor of basic – yet still effective – ingredients.
I liked it okay. Jamie Lee Curtis was fantastic, in my opinion. And she looked terrific. I loved her attitude. And I really liked her hair…although that was probably a wig. But then, I’m a Jamie Lee Curtis fan. At the end I asked my Mom if she liked the movie. She said, “Honestly?” Yes Mom, honestly. “No.” So there ya go…
And that’s it for Halloween. Today’s battle has nothing to do with the creepy holiday. It is the second of a three battle event, the Battle of the Sexes for covers of Lee Michaels’ hit “Do You Know What I Mean” and will feature the Female cover artists competing for the chance to take on the winning Male cover artist later this month.
In case you missed it, the first round was the Male round on October 15th, featuring Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys battling Myles Goodwyn (with Lee Aaron).
The Male Round RESULTS post announced that Kevin Naquin & his Ossun Playboys would be advancing to the final battle, to take on the winner from today battle.
So now we’re on to the Female cover contenders as they battle it out for the gender win in this three-part battle. If you’d like to listen to the original song by Lee Michaels for reference, this link will take you to YouTube to hear it. It is a great song and one of my favorites from the 70s.
Now let’s listen to our female contenders:
Female Contender #1:Gwen McRae
Gwen McCrae (née Mosley, December 21, 1943, Pensacola, Florida) is an American singer, best known for her 1975 hit “Rockin’ Chair.” She began performing in local clubs as a teenager, and singing with local groups like the Lafayettes and the Independents. In 1963, she met a young sailor named George McCrae, whom she married within a week.
From 1963, she recorded as a duo with her husband George; the couple received a solo recording contract, with Henry Stone’s TK Records. The couple were discovered in 1967 by singer Betty Wright, who helped get them signed to Stone’s Alston record label.
Signed to TK subsidiary Cat as a solo artist, she found success on the U.S. R&B charts with her cover version of Bobby Bland’s “Lead Me On” in 1970, followed by “For Your Love”. Following husband George’s unexpected solo success with “Rock Your Baby”, Gwen went on to have a major hit of her own in March 1975 with “Rockin’ Chair”, a #1 R&B hit which also reached number 9 in the United States’ Billboard Hot 100. The follow-up “Love Insurance” also made the R&B chart (#16).
After TK Records collapsed, McCrae moved to New Jersey and signed with Atlantic Records, recording two albums and having another hit with “Funky Sensation” in 1981 (#22 R&B). She continued to record and the success of some of her earlier recordings on the UK’s Northern Soul scene maintained her popularity as a live act in Europe. McCrae moved back to Florida, recorded this cover, a one-off single for the small Black Jack label in 1984 called “Do You Know What I Mean”, and then temporarily retired from the music industry.
This is her long version so there is a lengthy introduction with a lot of “Do You Know What I Mean” line repeats and can get a bit monotonous when time is of the essence so to get right into the song, start at the 1:00 minute mark:
Female Contender #2: Genya Ravan
Genya Ravan, a.k.a. Goldie (born Genyusha Zelkovicz; April 19, 1945) is an American rock singer and producer. She was lead singer of The Escorts, Goldie & the Gingerbreads, and Ten Wheel Drive.
Genya was born in Łódź, Poland, and arrived in the United States in 1947, accompanied by her parents and one sister. They were the only family members who had survived the Nazi Holocaust in Europe; she also had two brothers, who both died. They did not speak any English. Genya was named ‘Goldie’ by her mother, who claimed Genyusha was not American enough.
Goldie’s career started in 1962 on a dare in a Brooklyn club called The Lollipop Lounge, which is also the title of her autobiography published by Billboard Books. On a dare in a bar, she jumped up to sing. “That was the first time I ever heard my voice”. She was asked to join the band The Escorts. In 1963 she formed Goldie and The Gingerbreads after Genya met drummer Ginger Bianco in a Greenwich Village bar.
After seeing the band at a party for the Rolling Stones, Atlantic Records Chairman Ahmet Ertegün signed them to Atlantic subsidiary Atco Records. Goldie & the Gingerbreads were the first all-girl rock band in history to be signed to a major label and climb the charts.
While playing New York City’s hot spot The Wagon Wheel on 45th Street in Times Square, Mike Jeffries, Eric Burdon, Hilton Valentine, and Chas Chandler spotted them, and wanted them to come to England. Goldie and The Gingerbreads toured with the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Kinks, and Manfred Mann. They reached the charts with their hit “Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat” in 1965.
They recorded three albums for Polydor Records: Construction number 1, Brief Replies, Peculiar Friends Are Better Than No Friends. They had many fans, but the group did not take off. Genya left the band in 1971. She was signed to Columbia Records by Clive Davis where she made one album in 1972 titled simply Genya Ravan. Four more solo albums followed through the 1970s.
Ravan performed at the Atlanta Pop Festival, twice at Carnegie Hall and twice at Madison Square Garden, along with various clubs in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia, including the famous CBGB. She appeared on The Mike Douglas Show, The Johnny Carson Show, Della and The Dick Cavett Show television shows.
In 2011, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum included Goldie and The Gingerbreads in their Women in Music exhibit which traveled from state to state. Genya Ravan toured in 2013, selling out New York City’s Iridium and is going back by popular demand.
Also in 2013, Genya released a new album entitled Cheesecake Girl. This cover of the Lee Michaels hit is from that album:
TIME TO VOTE! Which version of the Female contenders do you like better and why? The winner of this battle will go up against the the Male Artist cover winner in the grand finale Battle of the Sexes on November 15th!
When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles: