Happy New Year!!!!!
I hope this is a wonderful year for you -- one filled with joy, love, peace, health, and many fabulous blessings!
I also want to thank you for making my blog a part of your new year. I greatly appreciate each and every reader I get, and I want you to know how grateful I am that you took the time to visit my little out-of-the-way corner of the blogosphere. Thank youvery much!
Well, since today is the first day of the new year, it is also the first day of the month, and that means it is also time for the regular blogging event, "The Battle of The Bands (BOTB)." The BOTB was started by Stephen T. McCarthy and FarAwayEyes back in August of last year. This event occurs twice every month -- on the 1st and the 15th -- and each of the bloggers taking part offers readers a choice of two (or occasionally more) versions of the same song, performed by different recording artists. And the the readers get to vote for your favorite rendition.
Today is January first, so I think an appropriate song to start out my blog's BOTB 2014 edition is Auld Lang Syne. This is the traditional song played at the stroke of midnight as New Year's Eve transitions into New Year's Day, and I wouldn't be the least surprised to discover that some of the other BOTB bloggers are using this song as well. But right now I'm not sure, because this post -- like many of the performances seen on the TV New Year's Eve specials -- is being prepared well in advance (You didn't think I was actually busy blogging live at this moment, did you?).
The English lyrics to Auld Lang Syne are based on an old Scottish poem, and I suspect that most people aren't quite sure what they're actually singing when they chime in -- "Old wang signs? What the heck does THAT mean???"
I could post the various translations of the Scottish poem and take the time to discuss what the lyrics are all about, but I won't. Instead, we'll just go the instrumental route again, like in my last BOTB post.
So below are three instrumental versions of the tune, each of which feature some very solid musical ability, I think. One I was familiar with before this post and wanted to use for this battle, and the other ones I found on You Tube as I was looking for potential contenders to do battle.
First up is renowed mandolin player David Grisman with a version from his 1983 album David Grisman's Acoustic Christmas, featuring a bluegrass quintet with banjo player Bela Fleck and others:
You know, if you do a You Tube search for "Auld Lang Syne guitar," you'll find a ton of videos uploaded by guitarists. I salute anyone who makes music, and it's not like I think my own playing is so great, but the vast majority of these videos are.. well, not likely to win a BOTB bout against the playing of David Grisman, Bela Fleck, and guitarist Mike Marshall. But here's one that caught my ear where the playing is actually very good -- a version done by a band called A Hero for the World from their 2013 Winter is Coming CD. The guitarist (and bass player) is David Sivelind, half of the Sweidsh duo that founded the band (which is now based in the Phillipines. So now you have an answer if anyone ever asks you to name a Swedish-Fillipino metal band.). For some reason, I couldn't get this video embedded into this post the normal way, so I had to futz with the HTML code, but it should still work. If not -- please use this link HERE to check it out:
So there you are -- three instrumental versions of Auld Lang Syne. Are you surprised that the much-better known Guy Lombardo, Kenny G and Jimi Hendrix live at the Fillmore versions aren't among my contenders? Well, if any of the other BOTB bloggers go for this song, I don't want to post the same covers they do, so Guy and Kenny are pretty much off the table. And while I love Jimi and consider the Machine Gun from the Fillmore one of the greatest guitar pieces ever recorded, Jimi's Auld Lang Syne really isn't that stellar.
But I do think that the three versions I've posted for this BOTB bout all feature some unique interpretations of the song and some great musicianship. I invite you to listen to each and give them a chance (and rmember -- the goal is to compare the music, not the videos, so I encourage you to ignore the images).
After listening, please vote in the comments as to which version you think is best, or which speaks to you the deepest. Feel free to also share as much as you would like about how any of the above recordings strike you, even if it's less than positive.
And finally -- be sure to check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:
- Far Away Series (FarAwayEyes)
- Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends (Stepehn T. McCarthy)
- Tossing it Out (Arlee Bird)
- Your Daily Dose (Robin)
- DiscConnected (DiscConnected)