Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BoTB ~ Christmastime Is Here (and a Quick Update)

Can you believe that we have officially stepped into December???

I hope that all of you ate to your heart's content over Thanksgiving, actually enjoyed spending time with your family, managed to not engage in any fistfights or other fights at the dinner table, and can honestly say you're looking forward to Christmas! I AM!!!

I don't spend as much time talking on this blog about how I'm feeling or what's going on as I used to (which, let's face it, I used to drone on constantly about the state of how pitiful things were in the Land of Robin). Somehow I've swung from vomitous overload of content on that front to an icy desert of silence. Yeah, those shouldn't go together, but I think it works. It is MY PLAN to actually put something together soon on the state of affairs on that which is me.

But, for for right now, I'm feeling hopeful, which I consider to be an awesome thing. My personal health is far from perfect, but I do sense a shift happening (a positive one), so I'm doing what I can to to build on that. I'm excited about the Christmas holiday. I'm excited about 2017. And maybe I'm beginning to understand/accept/learn that I don't have to have it all figured out for me to feel good about it. It doesn't have to be perfect or even the way I want it (because it isn't yet) for me to simply be happy in the moment that is. Happy that things are moving in a good direction. Things in life really do happen one step at a time, and the people who enjoy life the most are those that appreciate each step (even if it isn't precisely where you want to be). I think I haven't been very good at this in the past, which suggests that we really can/do make our own misery simply by not being able to access the grace to accept what is.

So, woohoo, Christmas is here. And that means so many things I love. Christmas lights. Snowmen everything. Did you know I collect snowmen??? I love snowmen. I hate living in cold places, but I love snowmen. Long sleeves. Sweaters. Being able to drink coffee any time of the day. Christmas music. Christmas movies. Scarves. Boots. I love boots. I wish I looked good in hats. Because if I looked good in hats, hats would definitely be on my list. Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (I make them at least once this time of year... yum!). These are just a few of my favorite things. I love Christmas, and it's here!

The song for this round of Battle of the Bands is Christmastime is Here. This song has been covered by so many artists. It's even been done in previous battles a couple of years ago, but that's A-Okay because I'm using different contenders! That is just one more thing I love about Christmas!!!

Back in the 1980s contemporary Christian music was really just gaining a foothold (I think). I'm not consulting the wikipedia on this, but speaking from my memory. Artists like Amy Grant blew onto the scene in the mid-late 70s or early 80s (I'm pretty sure on this... again, working from memory) and really changed how the world heard Christian music. This fellow by the name of Michael W. Smith came onto the scene in the early 80s and rocked my world with a song called Friends. Anyone else remember this??? I can't tell you how many times I've cried to THAT song. I could write more about that, but we all have lives we need to get back to... So, moving on... Turns out he would eventually cover the song Christmastime Is Here. And voila. Here we are.

In the mid-2000s a contemporary Christian music band called MercyMe crossed over from contemporary Christian music into mainstream music (pop?) with their song I Can Only Imagine. That song will also make me cry pretty much every time I hear it. I suppose a conclusion could be made that I am a crier by nature.** MercyMe also covered Christmastime Is Here. I think you can see where this is going. Michael W. Smith is still going strong in the contemporary Christian music world as is MercyMe, BUT which one does this song better? YOU be the judge.

**Sad commercials make me cry. Those darn Budweiser commercials with the horse and puppy that are featured for the Superbowl get me every year.

Take it away Michael W. Smith (with a little help from Vince Gill):

Take it away MercyMe:

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles. I've stopped trying to keep up with who is running a battle and who isn't. To see who is participating, go here: Stephen T. McCarthy's Battle of the Bands Blog.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better) Breakdown ~ BoTB Results

If you didn't come by to vote in the battle on November 15, well you missed out (but you can still check it out). What fun!

The song was Anything You Can You Do (I Can Do Better). If you've seen the play or movie, Frank and Annie are both excellent marksmen who work together for a time in a traveling show. Then ego gets the best of them and it's splitsville. During their separation they realize how much they miss one another, but they can't even get through their "I miss you and let's get back together" before they fight and this song happened (Anything You Can Do). If you recall from the first clip Annie was calling for a contest to happen on the following day to prove who was better once and for all before all the singing started.

It all sort of reminded me of my favorite episode from the iconic series Seinfeld. Without ruining it for you (I hope), the ending was much the same as well.

Frank, for very different reasons than Kramer, decided he was out of the bet. The entire show/movie is entertaining, so I highly recommend watching it! You won't be disappointed. Plus, the music is tops (written by Irving Berlin).

So, how did the voting shake out in this battle???

It was a bit confusing. My fault. Apologies. I think most of you were clear on the who sang it better versus the performance vote. If you only voted once, I credited both of your votes in the same place. For example, if you voted for Keel and Hutton without distinction I gave them a vote in both the song and performance category on your behalf and no vote at all for Frank or Annie. Speaking of the vote for Frank or Annie... that was the confusing part. What I MEANT was who won the battle the way that Irving Berlin wrote the song in your opinion, Frank or Annie? Or do you think he designed it as a tie? But your interpretation of what I meant was fascinating, so I let you run with it.


Keel & Hutton: 8
Barrowman & Henshall: 12 WINNER

These numbers include my vote, which was for Barrowman and Henshall. I think the movie version is A plus, so imagine my delight when I found the clip on YouTube of Barrowman and Henshall singing this song. I listened to many versions of this song thinking I was going to have to use something OTHER than the movie clip (because it would decimate everything else), and then I found this gem. And it was ON. Suddenly I had a battle. I think the voting from you guys reflects that as well!!!


Keel & Hutton: 11 WINNER
Barrowman & Henshall: 9

These numbers also include my vote, which was again for Barrowman and Henshall. I had a tougher time on this decision than the other one. It was a neck and neck decision for me, and I almost went the other way on it. I just love the Barrowman/Henshall version so much. It's the one that makes me laugh. I can't tell you how many times I've watched it now. What I love, though, is that in both of these races the numbers were close, AND that one version won song while the other won performance. That really says it all about how much you guys loved BOTH of these offerings.


Many of you just opted out of this one. Some of you got very specific. Not just Frank or just Annie. But Annie from the movie or Henshall's Annie. I love you guys. Seriously. You make my day more than you know. Poor Frank got his gun handed to him in this contest. Annie whooped him fair and square. 11 said Annie won. 3 said Frank won. Some of you had no opinion. I don't think anyone said it was a tie except for ME. I think it was a tie. I think that Irving Berlin wrote the song in such a way that was intended to leave the watcher feeling like they were equals at the end of the whole thing. Equally silly. Equally hot tempered. Equally pigheaded. Equally talented. And, in the end, equally in love. After all, who doesn't want someone who will outlove them in the end??? And that is Frank and Annie, unless they kill each other first!

So, what say you? Did you enjoy this battle of the bands? This song? The movie/play? I feel a bit like Frasier... but, talk to me... I'm listening. (Yeah, I know... this blog is turning into a sitcom. So not funny.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)

Well, peeps, my last Battle of the Bands was painful.

(You can thank me for that visual in the comments.)

So, I'm not going to sugar coat it. (I mean, you're too smart for that anyway.) We both know that sometimes I just don't put these things together well. I would've had a much better battle if I'd have put the Kate Bush original up against Greg Laswell. As it was, I ended up with a blowout. That ain't no fun. Honestly, I was so bored with it when I realized how it was going down that I just stopped checking on it. Plus, there were other things happening in the news that had me distracted. And there are always migraines.

Given all of those things, I realized I really wanted a FUN battle this time. I mean we NEED some fun. AmIRight?

Mom and I went with some friends to the dinner theatre this week to see Annie Get Your Gun. It's a musical that was made into a movie back in 1950. The music was written by Irving Berlin. If you haven't seen it, the most famous number is probably There's No Business Like Show Business. But, I really enjoyed the duet at the end sung by Frank and Annie: Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better). And that inspired my battle for this go-round.

In the spirit of FUN, you shall vote in numerous categories (which has never been done on this here blog).

In the case of the latter, and only the latter, you can abstain or call it a tie. That would be the Annie vs. Frank vote. Why? Because I said so, and I can say it louder, softer, longer, and sweeter! ;)

First up is the movie version from 1950. Frank is played by Howard Keel and Annie by Betty Hutton. So, if you like this version it's a vote for Keel and Hutton.

The Sound of Musicals was a 2006 four part BBC series starring several different musical theatre actors and some other professional singers who performed acts from different musicals. Each week the standard cast was joined by a celebrity guest host who also performed their favorite numbers.It aired weekly (every Saturday) for four weeks starting Saturday 14 January 2006. In Episode One, John Barrowman and Ruthie Henshall sang Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better). If you like this version best, vote Barrowman and Henshall.

Okay, remember that there are multiple votes to be cast this time. The first vote is strictly for which couple SANG it best. The second vote is for which PERFORMANCE you enjoyed most. And the last (optional) vote is for who won the battle within the battle and who actually did it better... Annie or Frank. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles. I've stopped trying to keep up with who is running a battle and who isn't. To see who is participating, go here: Stephen T. McCarthy's Battle of the Bands Blog.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ This Woman's Work

I just noticed that this will be my 900th post (according to my blogger dashboard). How about that?

One of my favorite movies in college was She's Having A Baby. My college roommate and I rented it from the video store so often we really would have come way ahead just to buy the thing. We trekked down there almost every weekend and ended up leaving with either that one or Better Off Dead (sometimes both) darn near every weekend. Don't ask me why. Teenagers do stupid things. Let's just say we weren't financial planners. I loved the movie so much that I bought the soundtrack to the movie on cassette tape. Yes, still talking about She's Having A Baby. I don't know if Better Off Dead had a soundtrack... If it did, I didn't buy it.

I tell you all of this to tell you how I found my song for this installment of Battle of the Bands. I've been seriously infatuated with Greg Laswell's song Dodged A Bullet. Quite honestly, I can't remember how or when I heard it, but now I can't stop listening to it. I'm a song junkie who just discovered a new form of crack. It's sad really. So, picture this: I'm listening to Dodged A Bullet for the fifteenth or so time on YouTube (yeah, I know... junkie) when I see in the videos below the one I'm listening to other songs by Greg Laswell. And there it is... Battle of the Bands Gold. Or, in this case, a song I happen to know is a cover because I know the original. The song is This Woman's Work. The reason I know it is because it was on the She's Having A Baby Soundtrack. See how all of my stories circle back perfectly? It's a freakin' gift.

And thus begins the work of sifting through the many covers (yes, there are many) of This Woman's Work. I still think the original by Kate Bush is the definitive word on this song. Of course, some of you are scratching your heads and muttering, "Never heard it." I know who you are, and I still love ya! Point of fact, I had to take that into consideration as a reason to allow Kate Bush's original be used in this battle. After all, what do I know about who will beat whom? I picked The Tractors for the last match up and I couldn't have been more wrong.

However, I think Kate Bush has an unfair advantage. If you want to hear her version, you can click on the link "the original by Kate Bush" highlighted above.

The most famous cover of this song is by Maxwell. Let's give him a listen.

And then the man who started the insanity in the first place... Mr. Dodged A Bullet Himself... Mr. Greg Laswell.

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles. I've stopped trying to keep up with who is running a battle and who isn't. To see who is participating, go here: Stephen T. McCarthy's Battle of the Bands Blog.