Sunday, September 1, 2013


If you haven't heard of the Battle of Bands, you aren't following the blogs hosting this fabulous event.  It began with The Far Away Series and then my friend Stephen decided to partner up with her.  They are in cahoots and hosting a giveaway for people who vote on their sites.  The Battle takes place on the 1st and 15th of every month.  As you can see this is the third installment and it has been so popular that other folks, like yours truly, have decided to jump in on the fun.  However, I am not the only one.  Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out, Alex at Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Diane at Spunk on a Stick's Tips are also playing along and hosting their own Battle of the Bands on their sites.  I encourage you to visit each of them and cast your vote.  (Links provided so that you can easily check them all out:)

If you know of any other blogs participating that I didn't include, please mention them in the comments.  (Thanks!)

The whole thing is pretty darn easy.  You just listen to the selections and cast your vote.  I am not going to tell you what I think about either version of the song posted.  Stephen made the point very clearly in his first installment of the BOTB that the way a song is arranged can completely change it.   Some arrangements are more fundamentally different than others (as you will note in each of these pairings on all blogs).  Have fun listening and cast your vote below.

I decided to go with a song that we all know to kick off my participation in the Battle of the Bands.  Enjoy!


Cast your vote below. Which version did YOU like best?


  1. Madison, it gave me chills.

  2. My favorite is always the traditional version - and it's so rare to hear anyone sing it that way.
    However, I did like Madison Rising's version. That was a nice and pleasant spin on our National Anthem.

  3. That song always gives me goose bumps. Madison Rising is the best I have EVER heard this done. Actually brought tears to my eyes.

  4. This is a tough choice. Like Alex I tend to be a traditionalist when it comes to the National Anthem. I like the derringdo rocking out of Madison Rising. It's all good and I don't dislike this version in any way.

    However, I'm going to cast my vote for the crystalline simplicity of Jose's version.

    Tossing It Out

  5. Oh, gosh! All I want to ever hear is someone nail "and the rocket's red glare" without getting pitchy. That song, sung with passion means matter what the version. That said, I vote for number one.

  6. I vote for the first one. It's much more memorable. I almost dosed off during the second one.


  7. No doubt. The first one. I am a traditionalist, but Madison Rising says to the world, and our own misinformed citizens, that for those unaware, our flag is still there.

  8. What, no Jimi?

    I have to admit that I'm not too fond of either of these versions of the National anthem. In this day and age (even though that was 1968- hmmm, somebody making a statement I guess) it almost seems fitting to have Jose Feliciano perform it at the opening of the World Series; Ha, it doesn't get much more 'American' than that.

    In the end I guess I'll vote for Madison Rising, who at least maintained the basic melody.

    1. I did consider the Jimi Hendrix version. However, I wanted something with a completely different arrangement compared to the Madison Rising version. Most people have heard the Jimi Hendrix version. Decided to just go a different way... I had other contenders on my list, too. It's hard to decide on just two when it's a song so many people have done;)

  9. ROBIN ~
    This was a very interesting (and very "Robin") song to launch your BOTB blog bits with. Quite Qool!

    [Like FAE, my first reaction was surprise that the Hendrix version from Woodstock was not one of your selections, but your response to her makes sense. And besides that, I feel that both of your selected performers meant the tune as a tribute to America, whereas I always sensed that Hendrix may have actually been mocking the country with his Woodstock performance.]

    Well, Robin, in one way, you already know where I'm coming from so... in a sense, I believe BOTH versions are kinda bullshit. I will vote for the more rocking, more enthusiastic version - meaning Madison Rising - but why is it that I strongly suspect I could easily, quickly compose a ten-question 'U.S. Constitution' quiz that not one member of Madison Rising could pass (i.e., score 70% correct on)?

    Madison Rising sounds very inspired and patriotic, but I seriously doubt any one member of that group has 'Clue One' what "The American Way" is really all about. So... with reluctance, I will vote Madison Rising, simply for the (I suspect) "superficial patriotism" and outward enthusiasm.

    By the way, stripping away the real meaning of the National Anthem, and thinking of it strictly in musical terms, had I decided to use this tune as a BOTB installment, one of my performers would surely have been a Black trumpeter. I think [click:] JESSE McGUIRE performs one of the best renditions of The National Anthem I've ever heard. (His performance at the 2001 World Series may have been his best, but the one linked here is also excellent, and he has almost made a career out of playing that tune at public events.)

    But, I think my all-time favorite is probably the version I heard circa 1989 or '90 at Dodger Stadium by The Ray Conniff Singers. They stood out there in Centerfield and sang The National Anthem with vocal harmonies that nearly made my mind spin! It was like Brian Wilson put the harmonies together, but had access to about 30 voices instead of just 5. That was unquestionably the FIRST time I heard The National Anthem and believed it could be transformed into a highly enjoyable listening experience. (I attempted to find ANY version of The Ray Conniff Singers singing The National Anthem at YouTube but I came up empty.)

    Today, I cannot tell you who the Dodgers played that day, or who won the game; but I have The Ray Conniff Singers' version of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' pleasantly locked into my brain.

    Anyway... this was a very neat way to begin your BOTB participation. See ya again on September 15th.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. I am really trying with this BOTB experience to not allow my feelings about a performer trump the listening experience. Most celebs now spend a great deal of time trumpeting their views (like they are very important) and we should all follow their lead. So, I just don't think about it when selecting a tune or voting for one on another site. This really is about the song and nothing else. As for your thoughts about how well Madison Rising members remember their history... well, most Americans would flunk that test. I am coming to the place where I can no longer remember dates of things blah blah blah. However, if you can remember the event, know why it happened, and be familiar with your Bill of Rights (particularly), that will give you a good idea when someone is trying to take those Rights away. I would rather someone know THAT then on what date this or happened regarding the American Revolution. That isn't to say it isn't all important, just that I am aware most people can only store so much data in their brain.

      Ah... The Ray Conniff Singers. When I was growing up my mom had several of their Christmas albums on records. Yeah, we still had records. After Thanksgiving you couldn't walk into our house when she was home that there wasn't a Christmas record playing. I always enjoyed the times when The Ray Conniff singers were on. That was a lovely memory you brought back. I understand why their version of The Star Spangled Banner remains locked in your brain.

      I wasn't looking for it when I was on YouTube, because I wasn't aware that they had sung it, but I did find The Gaither Vocal Band singing it. For quite a while it was a strong contender on this blog bit. If you want to hear that, you can go here:

      I will definitely listen to the trumpet version by Jesse McGuire. However, I think with this sort of song, if you want to run it on your own blog at some time in the future, you should do it. There are so many versions of this song that it would be a completely different BOTB.

      Glad you liked it... and I am not sure what you mean about it being very "Robin," but I will take that as a compliment:)

    2. ROBIN ~
      Yes, of course I intended that as a compliment. I consider you a patriot - the good kind, meaning the "informed" kind - so I think it was a "Robin" thing to jump into the BOTB experience with such a patriotic song.

      I agree about keeping a performer's political views separate from their music in the BOTB contests. But I was not referring to dates and incidental facts in my little rant; I was speaking about the same things that are also important to you, such as what the Bill Of Rights is and why it was created; what are the branches of government and what are their functions, etc., etc.

      Unfortunately, most Americans don't even know those things, which is why we're in this mess. Jingoism pretty much rules the day in the U.S.A., not genuine patriotism. I KNOW that's not the case with you though.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

    3. Aha... now, I understand what a "Robin" thing is.

      I agree that too many people don't know or understand the basic function of government. It makes it very easy for that government to abuse power. An uninformed populace is very easy to lead (and manipulate).

  10. what a fun blog event! i like the first one best

  11. Like so many before, I was looking for the Hendrix version (or the Boston version from their Greatest Hits disc)....

    But I'll vote for the Madison version...


  12. Yo Robin,

    Blogfest alert! Arggghhhhh!!!! y'all! :)

    I like both videos in their own right. However I is leanin' more towards da first video. However, the best version of your anthem, I think, was done by a Canadian band named Mahogany Rush. The link on YouTube aint working. This is like the bestest I could find.

    Stay chillin',

    Snoop Bloggy Dog in da Gangsta's Pawadise!

  13. I'm going with Madison Rising too.

  14. Yeah -- yet another person mentioning the Hendrix Woodstock . But I agree with you -- that was probably too obvious of an 'alternate' version. Still the emotion was incredible, even if Jimi was likely NOT coming from a 'patriotic' point of view with his version in 1969.

    I respect Jose but I've never really connected with his music, and this rendition is another case. I don't really know Madison Rising, but I did connect with that version much more so for some reason,

    Still, a simple, clear voice that can handle the huge challenge of dynamics and range in this song is the best way to go, I think. But it's rarely done well -- either the singer can't handle it, or worse -- gets too flashy and puts a bunch of uneeded swoops and runs in that detract from the song.

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  16. Jimi Hendrix was playing the song AS the anthem, no hidden message. Let's not forget the times HE was playing the song - riots, students being shot, unrest in the land of the free, etc.
    So, Madison Rising gets my vote, even though can't say I've heard them before.


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