BATTLE OF THE BANDS: It’s a DOG vs CAT Battle Showdown! This is ROUND ONE…

SAY WHAT?? You read that right. It’s the first ever DOG vs CAT Battle of the Bands TOURNAMENT. You’re going to want to get a front row seat for this one because it’s about to go down with ROUND ONE.

So what the heck is this Dog v Cat Battle of the Bands Tournament anyway? Well, I honestly can’t remember exactly how it all came together but Mary over at Jingle Jangle Jungle started it all. We were chatting about her idea for a cat vs dog battle and you know me and dogs: I’m gonna jump all over something that has to do with dogs so I said “Hey, whaddya think of us teaming up together on this idea?” and she shot right back that she was just thinking the same thing so Voilà, we now have a major event on our hands. 

This will be a THREE ROUND BATTLE culminating in a Championship Title Fight. Simply put: In today’s Round One, I’m pitting two Dog songs against each other and Mary is pitting two Cat songs against each other. The First Round will feature harder edge song versions (think Hard Rock).

Round Two will be on August 1st where we’ll both be doing it again, me doing Dog songs and Mary doing Cat songs, except this time it will be the softer sounding versions (Soft Rock type).

Round Three on August 15th will feature battles with the winners from Rounds One and Two duking it out, Hard vs Soft: so it will be a battle of a Hard-Rock Dog song vs a Soft-Rock Dog song here at my place and a Hard-Rock Cat song vs a Soft-Rock Cat song battle over at Mary’s place.

The Championship Title Fight — on September 1st — will be taking place exclusively at Mary’s Jingle Jangle Jungle where the Ultimate Showdown will happen:

DOG versus CAT!

Just how this tournament will end is anyone’s guess at this point. Gamblers: have your bookies on speed-dial to place those bets. This will be a showdown for the record books! And it is sure to spark those age-old debates: Who is better, dogs or cats? Oh boy, buckle your seatbelts because this could get crazy!

Okay, so that’s as simple as I could make it. By nature I’m a word person. Mary made a great chart that will be updated as the Tournament progresses. Here’s where we are now:

Without further ado, here is my ROUND ONE BATTLE to choose the HARD-ROCK DOG SONG winner. Contenders are Ted Nugent’s DOG EAT DOG vs Led Zeppelin’s BLACK DOG

Contender #1: DOG EAT DOG by Ted Nugent

Written by the Motor City Madman himself, this song from Ted Nugent’s second solo album Free-For-All (1976) was inspired by the 1967 Detroit riots:

Sabotage in the downtown streets

Police cars overturned

Can’t do nothing to beat the heat

And if you don’t you’ll get burned



Nugent isn’t taking a side, but looking at the riots from the perspective of a citizen who gets caught up in them. “It’s necessary to keep authority in check to some extent, but not always,” he told Sounds. “A lot of times riots are just stupidity in action. A lot of times I can’t tell you whether they are righteous or stupid and there may be occasions of both.”

Ted Nugent didn’t sing on many of his early tracks, and on this one, Derek St. Holmes did lead vocals. Nugent would often introduce the song, making it clear that he was the alpha dog in this outfit. Big surprise there, right?

In the last verse, Nugent sings:

Kamikaze from the hundredth floor

Swan dive to the street

He couldn’t handle this madness no more

He craved that sweeter meat



This represents people who can’t cope in the dog-eat-dog world and turn to suicide. “What it implies is that ain’t nobody eatin’ this dog,” he said. “I’m a part of that city world, I was for many years and I was able to deal with it and take nourishment.”

Oh brother! Listen, no matter your view of Ted Nugent, he did turn out some good music, in my opinion. I grew up on Nugent tunes, I saw him in concert twice in the 70s and although I can’t stand the guy today, I do really like a lot of his music from back then. This is one of those songs that are part of the soundtrack of my life so I thought it only fitting to include his Dog Eat Dog in this Round One battle. Here is the Hard Rock Dog Song contender #1:

 

Contender #2: BLACK DOG by Led Zeppelin

“Black Dog” is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin, the opening track on their fourth album Led Zeppelin 4 (1971), which became the band’s best-selling album. (Note: The album itself is technically untitled, with symbols on the cover instead of words., but since it was their fourth album, it became known as Led Zeppelin 4).

A wide range of musical styles show up on the set, with “Black Dog” exemplifying the blues-rock that was the bedrock of the band’s sound. It was released as a single in the United States and in Australia with “Misty Mountain Hop” as the B-side, reaching number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 10 in Australia.

Music sociologist Deena Weinstein calls “Black Dog” “one of the most instantly recognizable [Led] Zeppelin tracks.”

In this song, Robert Plant is singing about a woman who appeals to his prurient interests, but is clearly no good for him – he tells himself he’d rather have a “steady rollin’ woman” come his way.

Robert Plant explained in an interview with Cameron Crowe: “Not all my stuff is meant to be scrutinized. Things like ‘Black Dog’ are blatant, let’s-do-it-in-the-bath type things, but they make their point just the same.”

The title does not appear in the lyrics, and has nothing to do with the song itself. The band worked up the song at Headley Grange, which was a mansion in Hampshire, England. Headley Grange was out in the country, surrounded by woods. A nameless black Labrador Retriever would wander the grounds, and the band would feed it. When they needed a name for this track – which didn’t have an obvious title – they thought of the canine and went with “Black Dog.”

The Retriever, despite his advanced age, was still sexually adventurous, like the song’s protagonist who reiterates his desperate desire for a woman’s love and the happiness it provides. As Plant explained to a 1972 concert audience:

Let me tell you ’bout this poor old dog because he was a retriever in his early days, and the only thing he could ever find in his late days was his old lady who lived two houses away from where we were recording. And he used to go see the old lady quite regularly, but after he’d “boogied” and everything else he couldn’t get back. And we used to carry him back.

Here is our Hard Rock Dog Song contender #2:

 

IT’S TIME TO VOTE FOR THE HARD ROCK DOG WINNER! Which hard-rock dog song do you like best? And tell me why. THEN be sure to go check out the other half of Round One in the Dog v Cat Battle of the Bands Tournament : Mary’s hard-edge Cat-Fight battle over at Jingle Jangle Jungle.

And when you’re done with that, be sure to check out the other cool battles that are happening this week. You can get links to all the other participants in the sidebar at Stephen McCarthy’s Battle of the Bands page. 

 

UPDATE NEWS FLASH: Before I forget, if anyone still even cares: here are the results from my battle last month. Before I announce that though, let me formally apologize to you all. I completely dropped the ball on this one. I put all that time into putting together a combined battle of two electonic versions and two acoustic versions of Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” and you all came over, listened to four cover versions and voted not once but twice…and then I never showed back up to tally the results and declare the winners. Shame on me! I am truly sorry about that. That is not how this is supposed to go. My only explanation is that life (or should I say Life with a capital L) got in the way and I never made it back to that battle post to even read the comments, let alone reply to the comments and then deliver the results…until just now. Hey, maybe no one really gives a shit anymore but I feel bad so, to all of you, my sincere apologies. And now, let me (finally) fill you in on the results!

The song was Drops of Jupiter by Train and the battle contenders were:

In the Electronic version category: Anthem Lights vs Matt McAndrew

In the Acoustic version category: Jess Moskaluke vs Boyce Avenue

And the winners are:

ANTHEM LIGHTS with 6 votes (over Matt McAndrew with 4 votes)

BOYCE AVENUE with 7 votes (over Jess Moskaluke with 3 votes)

btw, I really enjoyed all four of these contenders but I voted for Anthem Lights – their version just grabbed me more and the richness of their instrumentation pushed them over the top for me; and I voted for Jess Moskaluke – only three of us voted for her and many of you thought her voice was annoying. I can see that, but I liked her voice and her style and for sure I really enjoyed the piano over the guitar in her version. But she didn’t win. You all brought it home for Boyce Avenue (who I also liked a lot).

I know it was a month ago, but I really enjoyed putting that battle together. I hope you all enjoyed participating in it and I will definitely not drop the ball on any future battles. Thanks for your patience and your understanding on that one.

NOW PLEASE JOIN MARY AND ME IN WHAT WE THINK WILL BE A FUN DOG v CAT BATTLE TOURNAMENT! Give us your votes!

And remember to come back on AUGUST 1 for ROUND TWO of this fun and funky Battle of the Bands! 

I’ll post the results from my ROUND ONE Hard-Rock Dog v Dog battle in 7 days…

As always, thanks for participating and ROCK ON my friends!

 

 

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Battle of the Bands (#BOTB): Drops of Jupiter by Train

It’s mid-month in June and that means it is Battle of the Bands time. I am in love with the song I’ve chosen for today, and even more so after researching it and discovering how the song was inspired. Without further ado, let’s dig into “Drops of Jupiter” by Train.

Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” (simply “Drops of Jupiter” on the album) is a song written and recorded by American rock band Train. It was released in February 2001 as the lead single from their second album Drops of Jupiter. The song hit the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and also charted in the top 40 for 29 weeks. The song was ranked at No. 4 on Billboard’s 2001 list of top singles of the year, a spot higher than the song peaked. (I think that’s unusual, no?)

Anyway, the recording features the signature strings of arranger Paul Buckmaster, who won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for “Drops of Jupiter.”

Lead singer Patrick Monahan has stated that the song was inspired by his late mother, who had died after a struggle with cancer, and that the opening lines “came to [him] in a dream.” He said,

“The process of creation wasn’t easy. I just couldn’t figure out what to write, but then I woke up from a dream about a year after my mother passed away with the words ‘back in the atmosphere…It was just her way of saying what it was like – she was swimming through the planets and came to me with drops of Jupiter in her hair.”

The verse has a noted resemblance to the chorus of “Drift Away”, a song most famously performed by Dobie Gray, another song that is in my list of all-time favorites.

Critical Reception: Chuck Taylor of Billboard magazine reviewed the song favorably, saying that it

“demonstrates a truly artistic lyrical bent that merits instant acceptance of this credible rock-edged song.” He sums up the review saying “add piano, a splendid orchestral backdrop, and a vocal shimmering with passion and personality, and this is a runaway track for Train.”

“Drops of Jupiter” ascended to the top 10 of the Adult Contemporary chart in its 49th week, marking the longest climb to the top 10 on that tally by any act. The song has spent over 100 weeks on the Adult Contemporary charts, and is still charting on the Recurrents chart. Although the song was released years before digital download became commonplace, the song has sold over 1,000,000 downloads (it was also certified Gold by the RIAA), and hit the top 50 of the Digital Songs charts five years after its release due to Ace Young singing it on the fifth season of American Idol.

Here is Train’s outstanding “Drops of Jupiter.” This is not part of the battle and presented here only for your enjoyment. See battle contenders below.

 

Okay, I’m throwing a curve ball into my battle today…I think I found some decent covers of this song. As I was searching I also found some good acoustic covers so I thought I’d have two parts to my battle: Part 1 – a battle of Electronic covers, and Part 2 – a battle of Acoustic covers. If you all like the song as much as I do, you won’t mind this two-parter.

Part 1 – ELECTRONIC COVERS

CONTENDER #1: Anthem Lights – Anthem Lights is an American Christian group originating from Nashville, Tennessee. The group has released one EP under their former name and two albums under their current name. The group’s debut album was released May 10, 2011 by Reunion Records.

Anthem Lights began as a solo project for vocalist Chad Graham in the fall of 2007. Both he and Alan Powell were living in Los Angeles, writing music for Graham’s solo project. As the final vocal work was being installed, Powell and Graham came to a realization that the songs being written would be more appropriate performed as a group. It was then that Powell and Graham decided to alert their contacts at Liberty University in an effort to recruit members for what is now a singing group.

Powell and Graham’s contacts came to a consensus that Kyle Kupecky and Caleb Grimm would be the best candidates for the project. After receiving notifications by e-mail, Graham flew from Los Angeles to meet with Kupecky and Grimm, who gladly accepted membership. Powell joined the group at the last minute. (The original name of the group was Yellow Cavalier. The group recorded one self-titled EP under this name in 2009. The EP was released independently on May 26, 2009. The group changed their name to Anthem Lights before any other projects were released).

This is the Anthem Lights version of “Drops of Jupiter”, released in July of 2015:

 

CONTENDER #2:  Matt McAndrew – Matthew Brendan “Matt” McAndrew (born September 6, 1990) – Hey, he has the same birthday as me! Although I guess I have a few years on him…

Matt is a singer-songwriter best known for his appearance in Season 7 of NBC’s reality TV singing competition, The Voice, where he finished as the runner-up as part of Adam Levine’s team.

McAndrew grew up in the small town of Barnegat Light, New Jersey, and has been writing songs and performing in bands since he was a young child. During his senior year at the Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin, New Jersey, he decided to pursue a music career. He attended the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, graduating in 2013.

In his earlier days, McAndrew started writing solo acoustic material and playing his songs at open mic nights, ice cream parlors, and bars in 2010. He worked at Bach To Rock, a national music school franchise with a location in suburban Philadelphia, teaching voice, guitar and ukulele. He self-released an album called View of The Pines on March 1, 2014.

His big break came later that year. On September 4, 2014, it was announced that McAndrew would compete in season 7 of The Voice. During his Blind Audition, he covered Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.” Three coaches (Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams) turned around. He chose Adam Levine as his coach.

At the Battle rounds, McAndrew faced Ethan Butler where they sang “Yellow”. McAndrew was chosen over Butler, and advanced to the Knockout rounds. During the Knockouts, McAndrew covered “Drops of Jupiter”, defeated Rebekah Samarin, and advanced to the Live Playoffs.

For more details of his performances and standings in that season, see the Matt McAndrew Wikipedia page.

Here is his version of “Drops of Jupiter” from his performance on The Voice:

 

Part 2: ACOUSTIC COVERS

I found four really good acoustic covers of this song and had a hard time deciding which two to showcase. I’m still undecided at the 11th hour but I guess I’m going to go with these two, one a female vocalist from Canada and the other a trio of brothers from Florida. If you are interested in hearing the other two acoustic artists that I was considering, let me know in the Comments section and I’ll include them in the Results post.

CONTENDER #1: Jess Moskaluke – Jess Moskaluke (born June 4, 1990 in Langenburg, Saskatchewan) is a Canadian Country/country pop singer. She released her debut studio album, Light Up the Night in April 2014, which includes the Platinum-certified single “Cheap Wine and Cigarettes.”

In June 2011, Moskaluke won the Next Big Thing contest, sponsored by Big Dog 92.7 and SaskMusic. In September 2011, she won the New Artist Showcase Award at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. She was chosen to represent Canada at the Global Artist Party at the 2012 CMA Music Festival.

Her version of “Drops of Jupiter” is from her album Cover Up, Vol 2, released in June 2012:

CONTENDER #2: Boyce AvenueBoyce Avenue is an American pop and rock band formed in Sarasota, Florida, by brothers Alejandro Luis Manzano, Daniel Enrique Manzano, and Fabian Rafael Manzano. The brothers attended Pine View School in Osprey, Florida. The band is named after a combination of two streets the brothers lived on as children. As of August 9, 2011, they are no longer signed to Universal Republic Records and have started their own independent record label called 3 Peace Records. Boyce Avenue releases original music as well as covers of contemporary and classic songs on YouTube. Boyce Avenue has also collaborated with many other YouTube artists.

Boyce Avenue frequently tours in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.

This version of “Drops of Jupiter” was taken from the Covers EP Influential Sessions (2009), which came right after doing four volumes of Acoustic Sessions.

 

TIME TO VOTE! Which versions do you like better and why? Please choose one contender from each of the two battles, the Electronic battle AND the Acoustic battle.

When you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

Thanks for your participation and your votes! Voting will be open until midnight on the 21st and I’ll post results on the 22nd or shortly thereafter. Until then, Rock On my friends…

BATTLE OF THE BANDS – “Too Late to Turn Back Now”

 

It’s about time I got back to Battle of the Bands! I have been MIA for too long! You can read a little about why and what’s been going on in my most recent Monday’s Music Moves Me post from last week. I’m obviously still not truly “back in the saddle” as I didn’t have time to put together anything for yesterday’s 4M hop. But I’m moving in the right direction. Slow and steady. I’m thrilled to be back among my Battle of the Bands pals and looking forward to visiting you all this week!

Since it’s been a minute, just a quick refresher on how Battle of the Bands works. A bunch of us choose a song, find two covers of that song and then present a music video of each cover in a blog post and you all get to give a listen and vote on which cover is the best. Then I’ll tally up the votes 6 days later and declare the winner in a Results Post.

Some folks do this once a month (I’m in that category and will post my battles on the 15th of each month) and others do battles twice a month (on the 1st and the 15th). It’s fun! Join us! And be sure to visit all the other BOTB (‘Not Ready for Prime Time’) players. You’ll find links at the bottom of this post.

My battle for the month of May features the song “Too Late to Turn Back Now” by Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose:

“Too Late to Turn Back Now” is the 1972 follow-up single of Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose to their debut hit “Treat Her Like a Lady”. The single had previously been released in 1970 on the Platinum label.

Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose was a family soul singing group from Dania Beach, Florida, that was formed in 1970 and gained popularity in the early 1970s. It was composed of siblings Carter Cornelius, Eddie Cornelius, and Rose Cornelius, who were joined by sister Billie Jo Cornelius in 1972. Cleveland E. Barrett (a childhood friend), an original member of the group, was killed in a car accident before their chart success.

Rose Cornelius had already appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in June 1967 and had been performing in Las Vegas and worldwide, touring in 1970 with a group called the Gospel Jazz Singers. She went home to Florida at her mother’s request to help form the group. Rose wrote most of the background vocals while Eddie wrote most of the songs.

The group hit the pop chart in 1971 with the single “Treat Her Like a Lady” (U.S. R&B Top 20, Billboard Hot 100 #3). The record was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America on 2 August 1971.

The act succeeded again in 1972 with “Too Late to Turn Back Now“. This song, written by Eddie Cornelius, had great success upon its re-release, peaking at #5 in the U.S. R&B, #2 in the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 in Cash Box’s chart of the Top 100 Singles for the week of July 29, 1972. “Too Late to Turn Back Now” is ranked as the 34th biggest U.S. hit of 1972. The record was awarded a gold disc on August 2, 1972 for one million sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

While the group failed to find any further success on the scale of their first two singles, two releases, “Don’t Ever Be Lonely” and “I’m Never Gonna Be Alone Anymore” reached the Billboard Top 40. Their final charting single was “Since I Found My Baby” in 1974, from their third and last album.

Here is their hit from the 70s that I so fondly remember. (NOTE: It is only included here for your enjoyment and is not eligible for votes. The battle contenders are listed below).

THE BATTLE

BATTLE CONTENDER #1:  Taylor Manning:

I didn’t find much about Taylor Manning but I believe she’s from the Carolinas and is well-known among the artists and groups in Carolina Beach. If found her on compilations of Southern Soul, Shag and Carolina Beach Music. She recorded the cover of this song in 2007.

 

BATTLE CONTENDER #2:  Pepe Marquez (featuring Steve Salas of Tierra):

This cover appeared on Pepe Marquez’ self-titled album released in 2010.

 

Okay, it all comes down to this:

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

Thanks for your participation and your votes! I’ll be back on the 21st to post the results. Until then, Rock On my friends…

 

 

Battle of the Bands RESULTS: Jump Into the Fire by Nilsson

I’m finally coming in with my Battle of the Bands RESULTS post. Sorry for the delay but my Mom had surgery today and it’s been a bit crazy getting everything ready and taken care of beforehand — like getting her taxes done yesterday, which was a long grueling process, and just all the rest. You know. Anyway, I just bounced in to tally up the votes. Our battle was between the Hollywood Vampires and Low Cut Connie as to who did the best cover version of Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire.”

Before the winner is crowned I’ll share with you my vote:

I thought this was a tough battle because both bands brought their A-games to this one. The Hollywood Vampires version is great and I love how they incorporate into the song two of Harry Nilsson’s other hit songs, “One” at the beginning and “Coconut” at the end. This all-star supergroup no doubt has some powerful musicianship.

However, as much as I liked the Hollywood Vamps version, I was bowled over by Low Cut Connie’s energy and the band’s synergy that come together to crank out some kickass music. Frontman Adam Weiner rocks the piano…and I love me some decent piano-playing. I also enjoyed watching their video as it’s obvious that this group of guys really enjoy what they’re doing and they have fun performing.

So my vote for “Jump Into the Fire” goes to Low Cut Connie.

Now, how did everyone else vote? Well, it was a nail-biter battle for sure. It’s pretty evenly split. In fact, had I voted for Hollywood Vampires, this battle would be ending in a tie. But since my vote landed with Low Cut Connie, the tally shakes out like this:

LOW CUT CONNIE   –  7 votes

HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES  –  5 votes 

Thanks everybody, for playing along. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you. I’ll close out this Results post with another great music video of Low Cut Connie doing their song “Boozophilia”, which you know if you read my battle blurb on the band, was on Obama’s 2015 summer Spotify playlist. Give this a watch and you’ll see why I like these guys so much. So much in fact that I’ll be doing an “Artist Spotlight” on the group in one of my upcoming Monday’s Music Moves Me posts. Stay tuned.

So, what did you think of this Low Cut Connie music video?

Hey, I’ll be back next month on the 15th with my next Battle of the Bands. Until then, shake it up and rock on…

 

 

Battle of the Bands RESULTS: Covers of “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner

The battle for love, or finding out what love is, has been fought and a winner is being declared. Two amazing female artists, Tina Arena and Wynonna Judd, put out some awesome vocals to earn their place in the winner’s circle, singing one of the all-time great love songs by Foreigner, “I Want to Know What Love Is”.

It was a pretty decent battle actually. Most voters really like the song. Some folks knew right away who they were going to choose and others wavered a bit, trying to decide which one to pick for the win. That’s how it was for me too. I thought both versions were incredible, all the way around: powerful vocals, musical quality, background vocals & harmonies, the emotional delivery…these two had it all and both came together to bring us two fantastic covers of this incredible song.

I listened to both versions several times and thought to myself how I could easily have each of them playing on a continuous loop and really never get tired of hearing them because every time I listened to each song, I found something new to appreciate. It was a tough call for me to make but in the end I chose Wynonna Judd’s version.

A tally of the votes shows Wynonna Judd as the clear winner, capturing 7 of the 11 votes. But Tina Arena had quite a respectable showing with 4 votes overall. Speaking on the toss-up I had in determining my vote, the final tally could’ve easily been Wynonna with 6 and Tina with 5. So there you go.

The prize is awarded to WYNONNA JUDD as the winner in this battle for Foreigner’s love song “I Want to Know What Love Is”. 

In searching for covers of this song, I found one that I almost used in this battle but I felt pretty strongly that had I chosen to use this version, it might not have been a close race. Considering how popular this artist is, it might’ve been a blowout. You’ll have to tell me. So I’ll close now with yet another fantastic version of “I Want to Know What Love Is by one of the biggest-selling artists in music history: Mariah Carey.

Give a listen to her version and let me know what you think. Would you have voted for Mariah over either or both of the others? Or would your vote have stayed the same?

 

As always, thanks for participating in my battle. See you next month, on March 15, for my next battle!