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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Battle of the Bands: We Three Kings

The Battle of the Bands--Christmas Special Edition


       During December several (or maybe all) of the BOTB participants are taking on Christmas song versions to do battle against each other.  The Battle of the Bands is a bi-monthly event that takes place on the first and fifteenth.   You listen, then you vote for your favorite, and then in a week or so we tell you who won.   Fun and easy!  

        The event was organized by the folks at Far Away Series and Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends.  There are other participants who will be listed at the bottom of this post.  Be sure to visit all of the Battles and cast your vote on each.  If you want to join in with your own match up then let us know in the comment section so we can come visit your site as well.

        And now let this battle begin.

Jethro Tull  "We Five Kings" (2003)

         Since the 70's "We Three Kings" was often a staple of Jethro Tull concerts.  They'd interject an instrumental version of the melody somewhere into their song line-up even if it weren't anywhere near Christmas.  Actually it worked quite well since the song adapts nicely to the Jethro Tull sound.  For some reason they've called it "We Five Kings" on their Christmas album, but it's still the same melody with which we are all familiar.





Peter Shu "We Three Kings" (2009)

        I thought this was an interesting take on the traditional carol.  "We Three Kings" is here performed in the style of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five"  This jazzed up version works for me even with the Mission Impossible ending.  Kind of cool.




Vote for Your Favorite

       Now it's in your hands.  Tell us which version you prefer and why.  Then when you are done voting here be sure to visit the other participants.

         Faraway Series
         Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends
         Your Daily Dose
         DiscConnected

         The Creative Outlet of StratPlayer






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23 comments:

  1. I've voting for Peter Shu. It's the only version I could listen to as I can't stand Jethro Tull.

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  2. Just the opposite, I never really cared for the Shu version, so I go with Tull.

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  3. As a Christmas song, I prefer the Jethro Tull version. I always liked Take Five so I quite enjoyed the Peter Shu arrangement, but prefer Tull.

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  4. Peter Shu gets my vote with his ala Dave Brubeck. Like that 'Take 5' intro and the ending. That's tight arranging!

    This is much more fun than voting for politicians. . .

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  5. Way to be obscure AND DIFFICULT Mr. Bird.

    I read your post early this morning, but did not listen to the selections. At that time I was prepared not to like either of them. You know me! Anyway...when I came back with more open eyes and mind, I find that I like them both (for different reasons, of course).

    I do like that Dave Brubeck style of jazz. It's smooth and relaxing to listen to (even with that ending). The 'Three Kings' melody was there but I kept getting lost in the overall arrangement and kind of drifting away.

    Jethro Tull's version is very...Jethro Tull. I have to admit I was a bit amazed at how well this style lent itself to this song. I had a feel of the majestic and somewhat mystic 'Three Kings of the Orient'.

    I'm going to have to go with Jethro Tull. although the jazz version was easy, fun, and very pleasant to listen to; Jethro seemed to capture the essence of this tune for me. I could almost see those guys riding their camels over the dunes as that flute played on.

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  6. I could not get the Tull version to play, but since I have their Christmas CD I am familiar with it.

    The jazz version is neat, but does not sound Christmas-y.

    So I am going with Tull.

    LC

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  7. The jazz version strayed too far from the traditional melody line for my taste. So, it is Jethro Tull for me.

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  8. I've been swamped with Christmas chores and out and about and just getting to the BOTB blogs now. Thanks for visiting my blog for my first entry into the event!

    This is actually kind of a tough choice. This is a favorite carol of mine and both versions have something to like about them. Tull's version is good and Ian Anderson's flute fits pretty well. The version is a little loose but all in all an effective rendition of the song.

    "Take Five" is one of my all time favorite jazz tunes and I like how Peter Shu incorporates it into this piece. But somehow it ends up feeling more like a novelty song. Maybe because the melody is such a strong 3:4 melody it somehow doesn't quite work for me in 5:4.

    I do like both versions. But I have to give the edge to Jethro Tull.

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  9. Hey Lee,

    My vote definitely goes for Jethro Tull. Besides, one of the best darned concerts I ever attended was by Jethro Tull. I haven't been the same since. Not sure if that's a good thing!

    Gary

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  10. I'll vote for Brubeck, although I like gritty jazz better than the smooth variety. The Jethro Tull version is skilled, but a little too hippie-dippie for me.

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  11. Alex -- Shame on you! Jethro Tull is a great group.

    CW -- Tull it is.

    Jo -- "Take Five" is a classic jazz piece.

    DG -- I agree that the arrangement is pretty tight and nifty too.

    Faraway -- I think the compatibility of the tune to Tull's style is why they used it in concert so much. The melody always just blended in well with what they were playing.

    Morgan -- Bless you!

    Larry -- Tull has done this tune on more than one album I think.

    Robin -- If you think that version strayed, you should have heard the jazz version I almost used.

    Chris -- Yeah, Shu's version is almost like a novelty. Especially the "Mission Impossible" ending.

    Medeia -- Another Tull vote.

    Gary -- I think we've had exchange about Tull's concert before. I agree that they were great in concert when I saw them too. One of the best if not the best concerts I've seen.

    Lee

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  12. Kelly-- Since I've been immersed in hippie juice (or smoke maybe)then I kind of like hippie dippie. But I'm a big Jethro Tull fan too.

    Lee

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  13. Peter Shu gets my vote! I could see Shroeder, from Peanuts, playing it on his little piano!

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  14. Shu for sure! I like his jazz version much better than Jethro Tull.

    Julie

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  15. ARLEE BOID ~
    Good song selection! I've always enjoyed this lesser known Christmas tune.

    As I'm sure you remember because I've stated it more than once, I generally dislike Jethro Tull.

    And, I love The Dave Brubeck Quartet (I've also publicly written more than once that 'Take Five' is the 'Stairway To Heaven' of the Jazzworld), so I was all prepared to dislike the Tull version and vote for the Shu version.

    But... the Tull take wasn't bad - I liked it pretty well (although there are versions I like much better).

    You wrote: "'We Three Kings' is here performed in the style of Dave Brubeck's 'Take Five'."

    My first thought was: Shu is going to knock this one out of the ballpark for me. BUT(!)... I didn't realize that when you said "in the style of" it actually meant he was going to steal the riff/vamp from 'Take Five' and interject it into 'We Three Kings'!

    Ugh! Not right, man! It sounded more like 'Take Five' to me than it did 'We Three Kings'. A huge disappointment.

    To my utter surprise, I'm casting my vote for that slightly odd (but still recognizable and enjoyable) version by Jethro Tull.

    Wonders never cease.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  16. Yolanda-- Shroeder may have been too much of a classical music purist to play jazz, but it goes with the Peanuts Christmas special music.

    Julie--Julie likes Jazz. Sounds like the title of an album.

    StMc-- I had you in mind for this match-up. I'm surprised by your choice. I thought for sure you'd go for the Brubeck style version. See--Tull's not so bad.

    Lee

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  17. I liked both of these quite well with maybe just a slight advantage to Jethro Tull.

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  18. I listened to Jethro Tull's song and it occured to me that it's in 5/4 time signature and maybe that's why they named it as they did... Then it occured to me that the Mission Impossible theme song is also 5/4 time signature. THEN I listened to Peter Shu's version that ends with Mission Impossible! Very cool. I gotta give it to the Tull, though. As a friend of mine always used to say - "That piccolo player's a mf'er!"

    This is my favorite Christmas Battle of the Bands blog so far... But I haven't gone by Chris Fries yet.

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  19. Jagoda-- Jethro it is and I don't mean Bodine.

    David -- Glad you enjoyed it. Good observation about the time signature. I've more inclined to believe that the Tull version is named "Five Kings" because there are five members in the group. Also I seem to recall reading somewhere that Ian Anderson believed there were more than just three kings that made the journey. I can't find that bit of evidence now though.

    Lee

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  20. Jethro Tull all the way. Have always loved that flute.

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Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee