Saturday, November 15, 2014

BOTB-DUST MY BROOM

It works pretty simply.

Two versions of a song, and you, the unsuspecting reader, pick the one you like best and say why in the comments.

This pointless exercise was brought upon us by these two bloggers:

Far Away Series

STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS


The rest of us followed them like lemmings to the sea:

Tossing It Out

Your Daily Dose


Curious As A Cathy

The Creative Outlet of Stratplayer

The Sound Of One Hand Typing


As I mentioned on my October 1 post, a lot of rock and roll guitarists cite Robert Johnson as a key influence.

As an itinerant musician who played mostly on street corners or in juke joints, Johnson saw little success in his lifetime.

Legend has it that Johnson sold his soul to Satan to obtain his musical talent, and his music has certainly endured.

A few years ago, Todd Rundgren recorded an album of covers of Robert Johnson songs, although he described this as "covers of the covers," since his inspiration was the rock guitarists of the sixties.

The song "Dust My Broom" was my favorite track on the album, and I'm going to give away my vote right now-it is also my pick of the two  versions.

Here then, is the Robert Johnson original. 

Try not to let the fidelity of the recording sway you-it was recorded in 1936 in a San Antonio hotel room.




And here is Todd's cover.

It was recorded in his home studio in Princeville, Hawaii (on Kaua'i-not bad for a guy from Upper Darby). 


video


A stark contrast to the sparse acoustic rendition of the original. Definitely versions for two very different listening moods.

By now, this should be old hat-comment, tell us which one you like and why.


Postscript-Monday November 17-


Just wanted to apologize for getting to your comments (and also your own posts) so late .


I was away for the weekend (attended Neal Morse's first Morsefest event).


Between problems with the hotel's Wi-Fi, eight hours of musical performances, a worship service at Neal's church, lots of discussion with fellow prog rock fans into the wee hours, flight time (and associated weather delays) between Phoenix and Nashville....and I even slept for a few hours...well I am just now getting to my PC. 

26 comments:

  1. Between you and Mr. McCarthy, I am gaining an appreciation for Robert Johnson's music. I really enjoyed this song. Very soulful and I like the acoustic arrangement. Just me an my guitar singing the blues. I couldn't always understand the words, but it didn't matter, because it was all about the feeling.

    Now, I know you love Todd, and have already indicated he has YOUR vote. I think I would have liked his version better if it sounded more "traditional Todd" and not so heavy on the blaring guitar. So, don't hate me, but I wasn't crazy about his take on the song. Granted, it was VERY DIFFERENT from the original, and I think a cover should not sound exactly like the original. So, he achieved that.

    But this girl prefers the sparseness of the Robert Johnson original.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Todd made it a point to say he was not doing an album of Johnson covers, but of covers of the British guitarists in the 1960's who reinterpreted Johnson...so it certainly does lose a lot of Johnson's original in the translation.

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  2. Brown's recording is remarkably clear for its age. Signed a deal with the devil? Like the Faust contract?
    Todd's cover has a lot of layers and depth, and I like the tempo. That's definitely my pick.
    I'll be joining you on December 1 for BOTB!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Like Faust-or like the film Crossroads.

      Do you watch Supernatural?

      The show alludes to Johnson's "deal" often, right down to their recurring "Crossroads Demon" character.

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  3. As I think I mentioned in your earlier matching of Johnson against another artist, I can appreciate Johnson's influence and place in music history. It's good stuff.

    But for my listening pleasure I've got to go with Todd here. His version really rocks. It reminded me of a few other groups and artists and not so much of the Todd that I usually hear. The guy's definitely got talent. He should go on "America's Got Talent".

    My vote is for Todd!

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This is a tough one for me, since there are times when Johnson's sparse original is just the thing I am in the mood for...but if I am driving, I'll always go with the Todd covers!

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  4. he second one grabs you right away with the strong guitar and styling but there is something more true to the original one. Robert Johnson "knew" the lyrics, he lived it and breathed it, one can sense that in his style of singing so I go with the original

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  5. When I went back to get your BOTB, either it was further back than I remembered, or disappeared of my reading list. But luckily, I am smart enough to know that I can look down my blog roll and click, so here I am.

    Todd certainly gives a little different fire to old blues than most of the coverers out there. As the "sparse sound" doesn't do a lot for my too- popified ears, I'll cast a Todd vote.

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    1. I have to be in the mood for Johnson as well, but when I am...he delivers the goods!

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  6. I didn't really need to hear either of these recordings again, since I own them both (the second one thanks to you), but I listened anyway, just to make sure that I'm still voting for ROBERT JOHNSON.

    Too authentic, too raw, too much personal history to go against my man Bob at this point.

    However, for an electric Rock version, Todd's Johnson is short but to the point.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Yeah, you could have saved yourself the effort of typing-I'd already put you down for RJ.

      Did I give you the TRJ album or did you actually get a copy on your own?

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    2. No, you gave me a copy. I do play it every once in awhile too.

      ~ McDogg

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    3. I'm going to see him this Saturday (at Talking Stick)

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  7. The definitive version of this song, in my no-way-in-hell humble opinion, is Elmore James'. Todd Rundgen's version is the closest to that one, so he's the winner.

    Geez, first comment on this one...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry John-I was away all weekend and am just now getting to this...

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  8. YEP, definitely versions of two very different listening moods. VERY different.

    I give my vote to the 'old black man' singing and playing, 'old black man music' like nobody else.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'm not sure, but with that comment you may have committed a hate crime...

      Are we allowed to say "black" (or "old" for that matter) any more?

      And isn't the use of the term "man" sexist?

      I had no idea you were such a hater!

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  9. Wow -- this is an iconic song. Covered by Elmore James and probably every blues guitarist since at one time or another.

    And I really like Todd's version. Screamin' guitar and a lot of soul.

    But voting for his version would be like voting for Cecil B. DeMille and Charles Heston over God and Moses. The movie version was amazing and stirring and incredibly entertaining, but it just AIN'T the real thing.

    So one vote for Robert Johnson from me. ;)

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    1. Chris-

      I think I'd have to give it to Charlton Heston.

      The original Moses played the character like he was raised as an Egyptian prince...Charlton Heston really nailed the whole "son of slaves" vibe...

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  10. Man, this was a tough one. I've said before that while I can appreciate the talent that goes into Robert Johnson's songs, his simplistic style isn't something that I can just sit down and listen to. I'm big on arrangement. So while that's still true, this song is a great one, and I nearly voted for him. Nearly.

    But Todd's version was great, too, and above that it's something I could see myself listening to, so for that reason the vote goes to Todd.

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  11. Todd's version is good. I like your comment for two different moods so I will go with Robert Johnson.

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    1. How can you go wrong with the original Delta Blues King?

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  12. Johnson was different for me, but Todd's cover captured my ear and he steals my vote!

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    1. At some point, I would encourage you to check out the Elmore James version.

      I seem to always pit a cover against the original in these posts, even though enough people have pitted cover vs. cover-it might have been interesting to see how people voted in Todd versus Elmore.

      I could do BOTB posts of RJ songs for the next several years-he's been covered that many times.

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