Thursday, May 15, 2014

BOTB: THIS MASQUERADE


It's the fifteenth of the month and you know what that means!

No, put away the checkbook, I'm not from the finance company-it's time for another installment of Battle Of The Bands!

Started on the Far Away Series, and joined by the bloggers noted below, I've been somewhat of a scab player (not really following all the union rules...)

Far Away Series

Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

Tossing It Out

Your Daily Dose

The way it works is, I put up two versions of a song and you tell me which one you like better.

Simple right? If you look at past comments, some people agonize over this decision, but I'll let you in on a little clue.....there's no wrong answer! Whatever you like IS the right answer!

Where I fail to follow rules is, there's supposed to be a post in five days or so where I tally up the votes and disclose my preference.

Well usually I disclose my preference in the comments, I assume anyone who can get to this site can also count, and I'm generally not motivated enough to do that second post. Plus, I stink at following rules!

Anyway, this song was inspired by one of the choices on Far Away Series' last BOTB post.

Ya see, I love Leon Russell-have always dug his voice, and could listen to his Carny album every day for the rest of my life (in between spins of Todd Rundgren's Nearly Human, of course).

So here's my song-Leon's original composition, "This Masquerade," from Carny. It was released as the B-side to his single "Tight Rope," which peaked at number 11.




5/15 update (9:10 am MST) It looks like the label pulled this video-I am sure it was costing them millions of album sales...all I could find was this live version-thanks ABFTS for pointing it out...






Facing off against Leon is George Benson's version from his 1976 signature album, Breezin'.




The song has also been covered by such acts as The Carpenters, Helen Reddy, Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers. The Carpenters performed it on TV with Ella Fitzgerald, but it was George Benson who hit gold with it, making the top ten and taking home a Record Of The Year Grammy.

So now that you've heard 'em, which one do you like better?


21 comments:

  1. Don't even have to listen to either since I've heard both versions so many times they are ingrained upon my memory. Have both albums and I like them both. This is really kind of tough to choose from since both versions are so good.

    But I have to hand it to Leon. George comes across a little too smooth and breezy. Nice but not enough genuine emotion.

    Leon delivers. I need to break out my Leon's greatest collection. I've been thinking about it a lot lately and you've reminded me again.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Lee-

      I've been doing the comments from the bottom up, and wish I'd re-read yours, because you nail it-GB's version is just too smooth!

      LC

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  2. So now that you've heard 'em, which one do you like better?

    Uh oh, only one problem - I haven't heard 'em both! That one you posted for Leon Russell says it was taken down because of copyright. I went to Youtube and tried to do a search of my own, and each one I found was also taken down by copyright. Apparently the copyright police are really cracking down on Leon Russell songs.

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    1. Funny-it played fine on Sunday when I scheduled this. And my second choice played fine, but gave the same message when I reposted...let's hope the third video's the charm, as there is only so much effort I will put into a blog post...

      This was one of the reasons I considered not doing these posts-too many times I'd have a great selection of songs but run into this bs...

      I wish I knew how to play my own .mp3 files on the blog.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the fix! Not to discredit Leon and his accomplishments, but it's amazing to me that you can find a billion untouched uploads of a new pop song but 2-3 copies of a song from Leon Russell, a guy most people my age and younger don't even know, is being policed like nobody's business.

      As for the battle itself, I'm not a big fan of that scatting doop dop zip zop that Benson starts off with, and it's a little TOO smooth for me even after that. Leon, on the other hand, has the perfect voice for this. It really conveys the emotion of the song. Or maybe that's just the way he comes across in the live version. Either way, another vote for Leon.

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    3. Bryan-

      While I do like the Benson cover, I agree with you on Leon's voice-it conveys an emotion that is missing on the cover.

      LC

      Delete
  3. LC ~
    I learned two things from this one post:

    I've heard 'TIGHT ROPE' truly countless times, but I never knew who did it. It has a kind of Doctor John feeling and sound about it (think: 'Right Place, Wrong Time'), although I don't believe I was ever under the impression that it WAS the good Doctor. It also conjured images of Leo Sayer.

    Anyway, I've always liked 'Tight Rope' - it's a strange little song and Russell's got a strange voice, but it's a good, quirky little song.

    The second thing I learned is that Leon Russell wrote 'This Masquerade'. I knew for certain that George Benson's recording was a cover, but I wasn't aware of who actually penned it.

    Anyway, despite the YouTube video problem (which, thankfully, you were able to fix), this was a fine 'BOTB' installment!

    And finally, I am casting my vote. I'm casting it for... You-Know-Who. (I don't really have to type his name, do I?)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. You're voting for Todd?

      One of my brothers played the Carny album to death, and when he went off to college, it was one of the titles that ACCIDENTALLY made it's way into my collection (still there).

      I actually thought "Right Place Wrong Time" was a Leon song at first. I'm not surprised about "Masquerade" being news to you-I don't recall hearing the Russell version on the radio-"Tight Rope" got lots of play on Philly radio.

      Russell's voice has a quality that I can't describe, but it just works for me.

      Kind of like a shot of bourbon over ice.

      I'm still bummed you beat me to "Ol' 55!"

      LC

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    2. I'm going to beat you to it in age, too! (You probably won't be quite as jealous about THAT though.)

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    3. When I read this comment in the preview window, I thought it had to do with the album sales post and wondered what the heck you were talking about.

      One drawback to this BOTB thing-I could not find an easy way to search to see if anyone had posted a couple of songs I'd chosen before.

      I've got my next three (it was four until you posted the Waits song) scheduled, and one of them I had a feeling may have been used. I started the current naming convention after that (even went back and renamed my old ones) to at least make the search on my blog easier..

      Delete
  4. George lost me on the Intro. All of the "bidda bidda" business (or whatever he was doing) does not appeal to me. It sounds forced and like filler to me. I suppose the goal is foreplay... making me look forward to the "action" of the song. I suppose that I just don't care for that sort of foreplay. We all have our preferences, after all. And then as the song went on there was a whole bunch more of that "nonsense" singing... and stretching the words and not staying on the note. Really just a whole bunch of stuff I don't like. He gets so lost in Jazzing It Up (or whatever he's doing) that I totally lose the message of the song.

    So, Leon wins this easily for me. I like how the piano complements his voice and he caresses the lyrics of the song. I follow his lead easily and enjoy it beginning to end.

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  5. Don't you hate it when they block your video?
    The song is not my thing. I'm also not a jazz fan, but if I had to pick, I would go with Benson's version. Smooth and little more upbeat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex-

      I don't get the point of them blocking the video.

      Do they really think it costs them a sale? I think of it as free promotion.

      Delete
  6. Wow. A great song done well by two great talents. George by a whisker.

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    1. Kind of hard to go wrong either way on this one, CW!

      Delete
  7. Sheboyganboy SixMay 16, 2014 at 2:32 AM

    LC -

    I own both these versions, and like both the artists. But an old girlfriend of mine LOVED Leon Russell. Her favorite song in the world was "A Song for You" from his debut solo album. I had this album "Carney" from day one. A sentimental vote for the under-appreciated Russell.

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    1. SBBVI-

      You certainly cannot go wrong with either version, but while "Breezin" got all the hoopla, I think you're right-Carny is one under-appreciated durn fine album!

      I'm gonne pull out the debut album and give it a listen (been a while)

      Why is it that every other guy on the planet finds women who like cool music, and every one I meet only listens to the Dixie Chicks?

      LC

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  8. Did you check out my BOTB post? I didn't see your vote in the comments.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I thought I did...odd...sometimes I get a network hiccup when leaving a comment and they go off into comment limbo...

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  9. OK, I'm really late to this party. So late in fact, that I had to scroll back through 'older posts" YIKES! Sorry about that, I've been having the week from hell.

    Also, I couldn't help but read the last paragraph of your last comment. Ha, ha, ha. Hey, I'm not a big fan of the Dixie Chicks and I like cool music. But, I guess you're talking about 'real live women' not the cyber kind. Ha!

    Anyway...I like both of these versions, but you may have already guessed; whether your call it elevator, dentist office, or lounge music, I like me some Leon. This one in particular is and always will be a Leon Russel song.

    Give that ole' Santa lookin' guy my vote. That is if you even find this comment.

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    1. I'd NEVER call Leon elevator music!

      Cyber women are still real live women, and you do like cool music...darn that geography!

      In fairness to country music, it's really the only genre that's making an attempt to reach the over 30 demographic..probably explains some of it's popularity...

      LC

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