Tuesday, July 15, 2014

BOTB-BLACK MAGIC WOMAN





Started on the Far Away Series, and refined by the bloggers noted below, I've been somewhat of a wannabe player in the Battle Of The Bands blogfest, which happens on the first and fifteenth of each month. These guys are to blame for this foolishness:

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!

There's supposed to be a post in five days or so where I tally up the votes and disclose my preference, but I'm generally not motivated enough to do that second post. Plus, if you can sit infront of a computer, I am assuming you can count.

Sometimes, a cover song becomes more popular than the original-in fact, sometimes the original goes largely unheard and people assume that the cover is the original.

Such was the case with "Love Is The Answer," a song I featured on an earlier BOTB post, and it is also the case with today's song.

Most people hear the song "Black Magic Woman" and think it was a Santana original.



Heck most people aren't even aware that Santana is actually the band name (although it is also the guitarist's surname).

But I digress.

The original "Black Magic Woman" was written by Peter Green and released on a Fleetwood Mac single in 1968, later appearing on a compilation album, English Rose



By the way, didja know that Fleetwood Mac started out as a blues band almost a decade before that pop version sold boatloads of records with the Rumours LP? In between there were enough lineup changes to make King Crimson feel stable.

I know at least one of you reading knew this, and I have a sneaking suspicion that a second one of you knew it as well.

But I digress again.

Fleetwood Mac did not achieve popularity in the US until the mid-70's, so when Santana released his version in 1970 (went all the way to number 4), many people (mistakenly) thought it was his.

So here is the version most people know...



And here is the Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac version...



You know what to do and where to do it...and if you want to know who got the most votes, count 'em yerself! My vote will come out somewhere in the comments section.

21 comments:

  1. I followed Fleetwood Mac years before the version that most of us know best. I'd forgotten all about their version of "Black Magic Woman".

    This is a somewhat tough choice since the renditions are approached in similar ways. I like the rootsy sound of Mac, but in the end I have to go with Santana--it's the version I know best and it just has a smoother sound.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Lee-I figured you'd know about the history of FM...and I cannot argue with your choice...

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  2. Great battle! This is one that I had planned on back when I was doing the BOTBs.

    I really like the Fleetwood Mac version -- it's all Peter Green, who is a very-sadly too-unknown talented blues guitarist. He played with John Mayall and formed Fleetwood Mac after leaving and it was originally called "Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac". Unfortunately, like many musicians, he battled drug and emotional issues for much of his life. But this version of "Black Eyed Woman" is fabulous, with some wonderful leads, and the ending up-tempo blues change is great.

    However... By mixing in the very cool "Gypsy Queen" and changing the chord pattern slightly, Santana took the song to a whole new level. The blues influence is still there, but there is just so much more emotion and power in the song. Gregg Rolie's organ and singing also add so much (and it's cool seeing the video of him and a very young Neal Schon on guitar, before they left to form Journey). Their ending of the song on the up-tempo "Gypsy Queen" again just jams!!!

    Truthfully, I wish I could vote for both. But between the two, I give the edge to the Santana in this battle.

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    1. Chris-I am doing comments from the bottom up, but you just confirmed my memory that Rollie was doing the singing.

      Yeah, this is a tough one...on the one hand you want to give Peter Green his due, but on the other...Carlos and the band NAIL it.

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  3. Actually did know about all the stuff you pointed out. Oh, Well, Albatross, and Hypnotized have made it on to some radars. But... Santana gets the vote for familiarity.

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    1. CW-well more people know about the pre-Stevie Nicks version of FM than I thought. There were so many lineup changes before Rumors that when I first heard of the PG version, I assumed it was two bands with the same name.

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  4. Listening to the original, one can definitely hear its 60's roots.
    Since I'm more for a modern sound, I'll stick with Santana's version. The music also sounds richer.

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    1. Can't fault you, Alex, although if you're a fan of blues, Peter Green is worth checking out.

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  5. Seahawkboyganboy SixJuly 15, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    I didn't know that the song was not Santana's. This was pretty interesting stuff(s).

    I liked both versions and I was about ready to surprise myself and vote Mac... until the band broke into a trot at about the 2:20 mark. That cost them a couple of hundredths of a point from the Russian judge. So the vote is Santana.

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    1. Well at least I surprised someone! Yeah, this is looking like a sweep by the California band..

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  6. Yes, I knew that Santana is Carlos surname and Yes, I also knew that Fleetwood Mac Started out as a Blues Band until they ah… er… ‘sold out’ or should I say cashed in. OK, that’s just my perspective. Can't blame anyone for wanting to make a buck and be famous. Now, do I win a prize or are you just going to tell me I’m old (again).

    Anyway… The Fleetwood Mac version has a soulful sound but it does seem a little dated and that ending – what were they thinking? (Other than the few seconds of Jack from ‘Easy Rider’{another unfortunate reference to age?} tacked on there at the end – and I suspect that’s not a part of the ‘real; video for this song).

    On the other hand, Carlos version is so smooth. Oh yeah, I feel that ‘Black Magic Woman’ creeping around. I might be mistaken but I believe that’s Carlos himself singing there, right? I love the beat during the instrumental segment (maybe it’s just my mood today), I could be real dangerous driving down some open Nevada road with this song blasting out of my speakers.

    Today, Carlos wins two votes from me.

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    1. Important distinction that Santana is also the name of the band...and I am impressed you know about the origins of Fleetwood Mac. Most people think of early Fleetwood Mac as the self-titled album that preceded Rumors...

      Actually, if memory serves me, Greg Rollie sang lead-he and Neal Schon left Santana (the band) to find moderate success with an obscure band called Journey.

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    2. PS-I would never tell you you're old...because then I would have to face the fact for myself!

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  7. >>... I know at least one of you reading knew this, and I have a sneaking suspicion that a second one of you knew it as well.

    I'm not sure if you were alluding to me as the first one or the second one, but I KNOW you had me in mind when you wrote that sentence. And, indeed, I did know this.

    I agree with Alex that the Santana cover sounds richer, and part of that has to do with the percussion work - something I have always loved in Santana's recordings, along with his very emotional, spiritual guitar playing.

    So, yeah, I'm also voting for the Santana cover.

    Somewhere down the road, I'm planning to do a BOTB featuring a Peter Green original versus a Gary Moore cover. (Interestingly, with Moore actually playing the exact same guitar Peter Green used on the original, having obtained the instrument directly from Green). But that's a ways off yet.

    This was a very cool BOTB installment. I think it's obvious that Santana's gonna run away with it, but you'll turn a lot of readers onto the (little known) original by Peter Green of ancient Fleetwood Mac fame.

    I didn't see this but my Brother told me about it: Many years ago, Whoopi Goldberg appeared on a TV talk show and Carlos Santana was another guest. During Santana's interview, Goldberg thanked him for his song 'Black Magic Woman' which (she thought) was singing the praises of Black women everywhere.

    According to Brother Nappy, Santana just smiled and nodded but didn't correct her.

    And to think that Leftists like Goldberg love to portray Conservatives as the people who don't know beans 'bout nuttin'. What a Woefully Wrong-headed Whoopi, eh?

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. You were the first, Lee was the second who I assumed would know about the origins of Fleetwood Mac.

      You could actually do a whole series of BOTB installments of Green vs. Moore just using the one Gary Moore album!.

      I never heard that Whoopi story, but she has always made my skin crawl, so I'd have seen her as a guest and changed channels. She's the reason I stopped watching Star Trek The Next Generation after one year.

      I figured Santana would take itI am actually on the fence but will probably follow the crowd...

      Did you know I was doing a Santana post or is it coincidence that we posted his songs on the same day?

      LC

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    2. No, I had no idea. Total coincidence!

      I knew that Person 1 and Person 2 were Lee and me, but I wasn't sure which of us you had imagined as 1 and which as 2.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    3. Pretty funny-I remember asking you about a song, but did not think it was this one...I compose these pretty far in advance (otherwise I'd forget), so was not sure if I'd let it slip...

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  8. I like the obscure King Crimson joke. I don't know a single person in my life (outside of me) that even knows who they are, so I appreciate the reference.

    I figured I'd vote Santana on this one - and I did - but I liked the Peter Green version better than I thought I would.

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    1. Bryan-

      Crimson is touring this fall, but the dates are on the coasts...probably not in the cards for me to travel to one...

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  9. Well, I don't mind being the person to end the shutout. I really liked both versions. I would have actually liked Santana's version best if it hadn't gone on so long at the end without really switching anything up. This is similar to the comment I made out about Santana on StMc's battle. If it isn't driving the song forward in some way it is either just showing off or stalling out. And I get bored with both of those scenarios.

    So, chalk one up for Peter Green and the Mac.

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    1. Robin-

      If it isn't driving the song forward in some way it is either just showing off or stalling out

      Might I suggest a little medicinal ganja to assist with your musical appreciation of jams?

      You certainly can't go wrong with PG's version...

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