… but I digress

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Cover Battle – “Time After Time” January 3, 2014


The original recording of “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper is so sweet and tender you just want to hug her. As much as you think of her as the fun, goofy, trippy dippy 80’s singer, she has a beautiful openness and honesty that can break your heart.


Patti Cathcart (of Tuck and Patti) has a deep velvet voice that’s on the opposite spectrum from Cyndi’s woman-child vocals. With just her singing and her husband Tuck’s guitar they create an incredibly full, lush sound – soothing while still being impassioned and powerful.


Cassandra Wilson is another singer in the same deep toned category as Ms. Cathcart, except Cassandra’s voice, I think, is even lower. Her style is also slower and much more languid. She definitely can lull you into a beautiful, dreamlike state.


I loved the beautiful, ethereal simplicity of Cyndi’s duet with Sarah McLachlan. Just a few instruments and two amazing voices joining together.


Matchbox Twenty also did a pretty nice cover of this song in concert. Keeping the simplicity intact is always a good idea for this song, and they’ve done that here.


I don’t think Quietdrive (???) adds anything to the song. It’s more pop and makes it kind of forgettable. They don’t sound bad, they just don’t do much for me on this.


Eva Cassidy’s rendition is quite emotional. I didn’t think any other version could hold a candle to the original but Eva’s is on a par with Cyndi’s.


Pink also gives an emotion-filled performance in a live concert. The audience is right there with her, which adds an extra element of conviction to the moment.


There’s also a nice Miles Davis instrumental version if you’re in a jazzy sort of mood.




Cover Battle: “Piece of My Heart” July 12, 2013


The first version I ever heard of “A Piece of My Heart” is by the late rock icon Janis Joplin. With her raw, cigarettes and whisky voice she screams out the pain of love’s devotion. But she’s also playful, teasing and sexy on this track.


I discovered that the song was originally done in 1967 by Erma Franklin (Aretha’s older sister). I had never heard of this before so I was wary, but I really like this. It’s more of a soul take on it than Janis’s rock and bluesy vocalization.


My reaction to the Faith Hill version: what the hell is this southern country-fried piece of crap?! I can’t even call it craptastic; there is no tastic here to be gleaned. This is … it’s … it’s … freaking painful! And despite my extremely brief country music period and my continuing love of the show Nashville, I have a limited tolerance for twang so — good lord, no.


Now from the ridiculous to the sublime: Phoebe Snow. Her voice is deep and throat yet light as angel’s wings. She has it all: jazz, blues, soul, funk, passion and … heart. You feel the sexiness of the song, of Phoebe, through her rendition when she slows it down to a simmer around the 3:14 mark. Then she ramps it back up and brings it home with her characteristic fire.


I found a track by Dusty Springfield which I think is okay. I like it, but not as much as Janis, Phoebe or Erma’s versions. It’s kind of a typical 60’s pop take on it. I don’t think it has the same power or impact as the other ladies.


Now Mary J. Blige. This actually gives me goose bumps every time. In a fantastic live performance Miss Mary tears it up. Mary is so good at revealing the emotion of a song and her voice is literally a force of nature. I think the power is elevated by the fact that she’s doing it in her element: live in front of audience. She has them in the palm of her hand and they’re totally willing to go wherever she wants to take them. Sometimes I prefer to listen to studio versions rather than live because studio versions aren’t generally subject to glitches that happen live. But live can also bring a magic that a sound booth just cannot create, and this is definitely something that should be heard live. Even if you don’t watch the video and just listen to it there’s still that incredible impact of Mary’s spirit in this song. I also found a short clip of her doing it a cappella


I think Melissa Etheridge comes the closest to duplicating Janis’s screaming vocals. Maybe duplicating is not the right word. I think she echoes the feeling and rawness of Janis while still doing it in her own way. I have a 1995 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance with just Melissa and her guitar. I also have her 2005 Grammy performance with the fabulous Joss Stone. The Grammy performance came right after the end of her breast cancer chemotherapy.


I like, the audience at the Grammy’s, was so ecstatic to see her beautiful (bald) , brave, and strong, and it just made the performance all the more meaningful when she sings the lines … “And each time I tell myself that I, well I think I’ve had enough, But I’m gonna show you, baby, that a woman can be tough.”


Pink is another artist that brings back touches of Janis in her cover. Pink definitely has that raw screaming power and toughness that Janis brought to her music.





RIP – Blake Edwards December 16, 2010

Blake Edwards at IMDB

Blake Edwards at wiki

Julie Andrews at IMDB

Julie Andrews at wiki

L.A. Times report on the death of Blake Edwards

L.A. Times biography

Blake Edwards vs. Hollywood

Most Irreverent Acceptance Speech

The art of Blake Edwards

Honorary Academy Award

Senses of Cinema article

The Great Race

The Pink Panther

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Days of Wine and Roses

Victor, Victoria



Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


RIP – Elizabeth Edwards December 8, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards

Wade Edwards Foundation

What Makes Elizabeth Run

Remembering Elizabeth Edwards

Touched by Breast Cancer

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Pink Ribbon

John Edwards


It’s the humane thing to do … September 18, 2010

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I think he’s kind of sexy … September 2, 2010

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Breast Cancer Research Study Op – Chicago Area August 26, 2010

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Army of Women Call to Action – Chicago area


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