Saturday, March 15, 2014
Battle of the Bands: Snow Queen
About the Song "Snow Queen"
Once again I've chosen a somewhat obscure song, but one co-written by one of the most well known songwriters of the past 50 years. Carole King has written or co-written several huge hits, many with her original songwriting partner and former husband Gerry Goffin. King's solo album Tapestry is one of the biggest selling albums of all time. "Snow Queen" is a King/Goffin composition that was first recorded by a group led by songwriter Roger Nichols. Soon after, Carole released her own version with her pre-solo days group The City.
You might be interested in listening to versions of "Snow Queen" by The City and a later solo recording by Carole King, but you might want to listen after you've listened to the two vying contestants. I'm not including King's versions in this contest because I think they would blow away the other contestants. Either of her versions as far as I'm concerned rank among her best recordings and the song is one of her best.
Here are the versions of "Snow Queen" I would like you to choose between:
Roger Nichols & the Small Circle of Friends "Snow Queen" (1968)
I picked up the Small Circle of Friends album in the cut-out bin back in about 1971. The album was not a big seller, but it was highly influential and remains highly regarded among many music collectors. For those who might be thinking that this group sounds mighty like the Carpenters, it might be more appropriate to say the Carpenters sound like the Roger Nichols group. With Paul Williams, Roger Nichols co-wrote a number of the Carpenters' songs as well as hits for many other artists. The album on which this song appeared contains several excellent cover songs. The stereo separation is extreme in this recording and all other versions I found on YouTube so I hope you have both channels hooked up. Still if you only have the vocal channel playing it sounds pretty cool.
Blood, Sweat, & Tears "Snow Queen" (1972)
Blood, Sweat, and Tears always seemed to be a band in transition with an ongoing lineup of musicians that was like a cast of thousands. When David Clayton Thomas on vocals left the group after several hit albums, Jerry Fisher took vocals for a while. That's who's singing on the next version of "Snow Queen". BS&T was one of many big horn bands that were popular in the late 60's and early 70's. They were one of the more jazz centered of these groups.
The BS&T version of "Snow Queen" is a big jazz production that speeds the song up from the previous version of the song. Take a listen and compare.
Now pick your favorite version and vote in the comment section. Let us know why you choose that version over the other. Then go visit the other participating blogs and vote on their battles. Here is the list:
Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends
Your Daily Dose
About the Battle of the Bands
The Battle of the Bands appears here every 1st and 15th of the month and at other participating sites as shown above and whoever else decides to join in.
Which version of "Snow Queen" did you prefer? Did you notice the Carpenter's and Beach Boy like sounds in the Roger Nichols version? How do you think Jerry Fisher's vocals compare to David Clayton Thomas?
To read some more of my thoughts about music and remembering please visit my memoir blog Wrote By Rote.