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Cover Battle – “In My Life” – Pt 2 April 4, 2014

 

Welcome to Part 2 of the “In My Life” Cover Battle.

 


 

I always enjoy listening to Tuck and Patti. What strikes me most about this video, is the adoring way that Tuck looks at his wife during this. Why can’t I find a guy like this? Oh, and their performance is deeply emotional too. ;-)

 

Johnny Cash brings tons of hard-won life experience – happiness, mistakes, regrets, hard-living and redemption – and a complete openness and honesty to this. He has an everyman kind of voice, but you can hear the poetry of his soul through and his truth coming out in it.

 

The poignant version done by the late Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, seems very somber and almost eerily prophetic, in a way. Known as being a bit of a wild man and a clown Keith does a very serious, respectful take on this.

 

On a tribute album to George Martin, The Beatles’ longtime producer, Sean Connery gives us a recitation of the song. Love. That. Voice. But it’s still a little odd.

 

Crosby, Stills & Nash attempted the song as well. It was less than successful. A lot less than successful.

 

Surprisingly, legendary model and fashion icon Twiggy covered the song very, very well. Who knew she had such a wonderful voice?

   

   

 

Cover Battle – “Benny and the Jets” March 7, 2014

 

The song “Bennie and the Jets” was originally recorded in 1973 and is one of my favorite Elton John classics. It features a seriously catchy piano hook, intensely singable lyrics (by Elton and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin), and a great screeching falsetto. It’s a really good example of his many talents.

 

Rap artist Biz Markie gives a totally over the top performance of the song on The Chris Rock Show. It’s funny, it’s wtf?, and crazy as hell, but it’s totally sincere, and I can’t fault him for it. I think it helps that the backup band is really, really good, though. And it’s kind of nice hearing classic music being acknowledged by artists who came after.

 

I think he fares much better on this than on the live version he did with the Beastie Boys. Honestly, in some parts, it sounds as if he’s drunk and/or has no clue as to what the words are, or he’s just half-assing it.

 

American Idol contestant Haley Reinhart brought something slightly different to this. She did it with kind of a torchy vibe. Her studio version is nice, but doing it live you can see how engaging she is. She showcases more power – her voice goes from a growl to a hiss to a scream to a whisper. It’s all unique and it’s all pretty great.

 

   

   

 

Cover Battle – “Something” February 14, 2014

 

In honor of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to America (via The Ed Sullivan Show) I decided to do one of their classics. Also last Sunday I saw part of a special on CBS celebrating the anniversary and this one really spoke to me.

 

This song has been covered, by, like, a billion talented, well-known artists so it’s maddening to figure out who to include and who to ignore. There are plenty of covers I don’t like by people I do like. Seal, Ike & Tina Turner, and Bruce Springsteen, for example, but I’ve put in a couple others as well. (Whoever put up the Springsteen one set it over scenes from Cinderella, which I don’t get the connection at all.)

 

Something” is absolutely one of the most beautiful, romantic songs I’ve ever heard. The original is so simple and straightforward yet so powerful and passionate. The depth of feeling and love in this composition is amazing. It acknowledges that’s everything’s not all butterflies and roses, and there could be doubt, but it’s still hopeful and devoted. It’s bloody brilliant.

 

We get to hear the song done live by George Harrison and Eric Clapton. The enduring friendship of these two men is astonishing, given everything they’ve gone through together. The video itself is a fan made piece in honor of Mr. Harrison, so watching it and hearing him live is a bit melancholy. Although I love Paul McCartney, George Harrison was my favorite Beatle crush.

 

The Lauryn Hill performance on David Letterman – wow. I’m not going to say it’s better than the original, but the full backing band and the whole bluesy-rock interpretation is audacious. She took this classic timeless song and just put her own unique stamp on it. As the video fades out you can even hear the awe and admiration from Dave and his band leader, Paul Shaffer. And it’s richly deserved.

 

Another truly unique rendition comes from James Brown. George Harrison actually stated that this was his favorite version. It’s funky and rhythmic, and unlike any other take I’ve gone through. It’s so far out of the realm of how you think of this song that you really have to work hard to open yourself up to it. I’m trying, a bit, and the more I listen the more I can appreciate James’ vision of the song.

 

I don’t really think I’m feeling the studio version by Dame Shirley Bassey. Great singer, powerful voice, full orchestration in the background, but – meh. Now, conversely, I can actually enjoy the live version better. Could be because there seems to be less unnecessary fluff and gimmicks to it, maybe.

 

Frank Sinatra is awesome. He truly shows the versatility of the songwriting involved. It’s modern and it’s old-school classic romance, all at the same time. It’s universal. During the performance you can even see Frank getting lost in the beauty of the song

   

   

 

I’m gonna need a minute here … February 2, 2014

 

 

I’m watching part 1 of a performance of Waiting for Godot, written by Samuel Beckett, on YouTube. It’s directed by Beckett himself. I’ve never seen it performed nor have I ever read the play. I consider myself a fairly intelligent, literate individual, capable of comprehending literal and figurative meaning, subtext, explicit and implicit connotations. But good grief, my head is spinning right now.

 

After 45 minutes I’d already taken two breaks. I don’t know if it’s age or the internet that’s ruined my attention span. Or the play itself. (Probably some combo of all three). Not sure I could sit still for the actual theatre production, with Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan, that’s currently on Broadway, or even a recreation of a much earlier staging with Steve Martin and Robin Williams in the principal roles.

 

Why did I suddenly decide to explore the play? Well – I saw a clip of Bill Murray on Letterman. He was dressed as Peter Pan and he was flying on wires over the stage and I just got the thought ‘I’d love to see Bill Murray and James Spader in Waiting for Godot‘ ????? Where the heck did that come from?

 

As I said I’ve never seen this on stage or even read it, but hey – a crazy idea from a fractured mind is a terrible thing to waste. Or something like that, so I went with it. I was going to find the text online and read that but then the idea of YouTube came to me and I found a few hits.

 

I’m writing this in the (self-imposed) intermission of parts one and two. I need a definite break before diving into the remaining hour.

 

This is definitely a play you need to see and read and ruminate on. There’s no real plot – just two guys waiting for some dude name “Godot”. A couple of things happen, but mostly nothing happens. Yet there’s a bunch of stuff going on. Kind of mind blowing and really thought-provoking. And – head spinning. I can just tell this is going to be in my head for a good while.

 

It’s probably better that I’m seeing this, for the first time, at home, at my own pace, with actors I don’t know. I’d probably be too enthralled by the lovely British of SirPatStew and Sir Ian. *swoon*


 

   

Waiting for Godot (Part 1)

Waiting for Godot (Part 2)

Waiting for Godot text (Guttenberg Project)

Beckett Directs Beckett

   

 

All The Doctor Who Doctors As Tim Burton Animation Characters (With BONUS Animated GIFS Of A Few) | Geekologie December 18, 2013

Filed under: Found Objects — jerzygirl45 @ 3:58 pm
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All The Doctor Who Doctors As Tim Burton Animation Characters (With BONUS Animated GIFS Of A Few) | Geekologie.

 

Aamer Rahman (Fear of a Brown Planet) – Reverse Racism November 30, 2013

   

   

 

*Welp* (more Hiddleston Lady Tingles) November 13, 2013

Filed under: Found Objects,Videos — jerzygirl45 @ 4:29 pm
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Hundreds Attend Lonely Veteran’s Funeral After Sad Obit Goes Viral November 11, 2013

Hundreds Attend Lonely Veteran's Funeral After Sad Obit Goes Viral.

 

Cover Battle – “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay” October 25, 2013

 

(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay, originally performed by Otis Redding is one of those classic songs that everyone knows. Especially with the whistling at the end. Despite the melancholy and homesickness you hear in the tone of the song, it somehow comforts you when you’re listening to it.

 

The Pearl Jam cover was an unexpected gem. In the intro Eddie Vedder mentions how honored he is “to play one of his songs with him tonight”. For the record – there was no hologram of Mr. Redding. (That whole singing with dead people thing is just creepy to me. The Natalie/Nat King Cole thing, and the Tupac hologram in concert, etc? No. Just stop it.) Steve Cropper, who co wrote the song with Otis, was onstage with the band.

 

He’s also onstage with Justin Timberlake at a White House performance. Looking dapper and slick, Justin brings it. But, it’s Justin, so you know he’s got the chops to pull it off. Maybe the falsetto is a bit off, but he acquainted himself very well.

 

Steve Cropper also pops up in a live performance with Dave Edmunds and Robert Cray. The gentlemen share vocals during the course of the song and I think Robert does the song the most justice. The guitar showcasing, though is a good addition that plays to the strength of each artist, and the horns sound nice as well.

 

 

Neil Young, with Booker T & the MGs, is good. I’m not into Neil Young, but I don’t hate this. I know it sounds like I’m damning it with faint praise, but I did enjoy this. Really. I swear. Okay, the harmonica opening threw me a bit, but I’m fine now. Stop laughing at me.

 

One of my Twitter friends introduced me to Shinedown, and it’s a great band. I very much enjoy the casual way they do the song on stage.

 

The fabulous, the talented Sara Bareilles gives a nice stripped down take on the song that really highlights her skills. Simply fantastic. There’s also a concert version with her on piano.

 

Another really good stripped down performance comes from artist Craig David. And, you know, he’s pretty easy on the eyes. It would be nice if we could see his eyes, too, though. ;-)

 

 

The deeply impassioned singing of Michael Bolton, with the modern pop arrangement sounds good and helped bring the song back to mind for a modern audience. I love Michael’s voice.

 

From the very first notes of the Sammy Hagar version I was not thrilled. A few seconds in that feeling of underwhelm continued. It sounds sooo cheesy. Sammy doesn’t seem to have a bad voice but this whole production is just not my thing. Sorry Sammy.

 

Now, from the ridiculous to the sublime. The version by Billy Valentine & The Forest Rangers, recorded for an episode of Sons of Anarchy, is so freakin’ good! It’s extremely soulful. Billy’s voice and the familiarity of the song draw you in without losing the sense of sadness at the heart of the song. And, I think … I’m just gonna say it: I think this might be even better than the original. I’m also including a live video.

   
   

   

 

Cover Battle – “Last Train to Clarksville” September 27, 2013

 

The Monkees original version of Last Train to Clarksville, written by Boyce and Hart is upbeat, kicky and fun. And it’s a really good song. The music and the lyrics – imploring a lover to meet you in Clarksville for one more meeting seem a little cheeky. Exploring information about it, I discovered the lyrics go much deeper. It was actually a bit of a protest song, in its own way. The key is in the line “and I don’t know if I’m ever coming home”: The lover is a soldier being sent off to Vietnam.

 

The lovely Cassandra Wilson turns this song on its ear and gives it a smoky seductive feel. How could anyone refuse her request? You get wrapped up in the deep warm silkiness of her voice, especially when she scats.

 

So, what can I say about the Flatt & Scruggs version? Um … it’s super super twangy. And banjo-y. And I think there might be an actual train whistle in there somewhere. Or maybe it’s just a harmonica. Although, originated by The Monkees I can see how this would seem to lend itself to a country interpretation. And I think it works well in this vein. But, personally, I just can’t hang with the twang.

 

George Benson. Great artist, immensely talented. Sorry to say, I really dislike his version. It’s so fast, it’s almost frenetic. You know it sort of sounds like background music you’d hear on a game show while waiting for the contestants to finish writing out their final answers.

 

Jerry Reed’s recording is a country version I can actually get into. It’s nowhere near as … twangy as Flatt & Scruggs (thank goodness). The tempo and the vocal is much smoother than The Monkees, while still maintaining a peppiness to it. There’s a richness to Reed’s voice that I quite like.

 

Pam Tillis is another country performer presenting the song. She tries to be a little saucy with it. It seems like she’s just using the song as a filler to make a quick change from one kinda cute hippie outfit to a decidedly uglier hippie outfit. The bulk of the song showcases her band – guitars, pianos, and violins. Oh sorry – it’s country so I guess that would be “fiddles”. I like her band more than I like her 57 seconds of actual singing. (Yes, I did time it)

 

The Shadows present an all-instrumental version. No lengthy vocals to drag it out, just a quick little musical interlude. It’s nice, but it doesn’t do anything for me.

 

Finding out The Knack did a cover was a nice little treat. It’s extremely faithful to the well-known Monkees version, and very well-done. They didn’t overdo it trying to be different and they didn’t detract from it. Except this version doesn’t seem like a pointless recreation; it sounds like a very appreciative homage to a great piece of music by an extremely underrated band.

 

Ludichrist (no, not the rapper, that would be Ludacris) seems to be some sort of thrashy, metal-ly type of artist reworking. It’s beyond up-tempo – it’s hyper tempo, so it might actually be more of a punk thing. It’s really loud. And doesn’t bring a sense of wistful romanticism that seems to be told by the song’s lyrics. It sounds like a mental patient making demands “TAKE THE LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE!!!”

 

Now, frankly, I have no idea who Fonda Rae is, but I thought I’d throw this one in anyway. This version is such an oddity to me: it’s got some semi-interesting drum work, some robotic-electronic sounding stuff and a little funky guitar in there, too. It doesn’t bring anything new to the song. Well, let me restate that – it brings a lot of new stuff to this song. Like instruments and tempos and … stuff that I haven’t heard used on it before, but that’s not really any sort of improvement or reinterpretation. It just seems kind of pointless, like they said “Okay we’ve got all this stuff in the studio, let’s just throw it in. Oh, and does anyone have a kitchen sink we can add, as well?”

   

   

 

 
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