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Monday, September 15, 2014

Battle of the Bands: It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference

What Day Is It?

       Being the 15th of the month when this post goes live it's Battle of the Bands (BOTB) day.  If you're scratching your head over this then I'll provide a brief explanation for you unenlightened ones.   Each month on the 1st and 15th an assortment of bloggers with little else to do (well not really) present different versions of the same song on each of their sites.  Then you who have visited our sites vote on the one version that you prefer.  It doesn't necessarily have to be the best version, but the version that you like best.   Easy, right?

        Battle of the Bands was initially put together by our blogger friends at Far Away Series and Stephen T. McCarthy Presents the Battle of the Bands.   After voting at my site I hope you'll pay both of them a visit to vote on their Battles.   And then please do proceed to the other sites listed at the bottom of this post, some of whom sometimes participate in foresaid Battle event.

My Perspective of the Inevitable

        BOTB participants have contemplated the possibility of the same songs being used on different sites on the same or even different days.  Actually it's already happened with "All Along the Watchtower" (that's the only one I remember so far).    And it's going to happen again--I'm sure of it.

         Stephen T McCarthy said that he almost used my pick for the previous Battle--"September Song"--but decided to postpone using it until this current Battle session.   If he hasn't changed his mind that's the song you'll find on his site now, though by different artists than I used.

         With all the great cover versions out there it makes sense that songs might be used more than once.  I realize that I haven't always kept my choices for Battle contestants limited to two, but I'm going to try to do so in my future Battles and I'd recommend that others do the same not only to provide us more opportunities to reuse songs, but also in consideration of those of us who are listening to your picks.  Evaluating your song choices is an investment of time for your visitor and choosing between two is more comfortable than going beyond that number.   Remember, you can always use the same song with different artists later--something that I plan to do sometime in the future.    That's just my suggestion so don't think you have to do it this way.

           I will usually offer a link to original sources or videos that provide more info about the songs I've used, but as I've done in the past I'll let you know that's what I'm doing and encourage visitors not to use those versions in the contest.  Henceforth, my Battles will be between two versions--unless there's some strong reason for doing otherwise.

        Oh, and for one last thought on this topic of repeating songs, maybe at some point some computer savvy person might be able to come up with a practical way of creating a database of sorts for participants to go to in order to find out if a song and artist they plan on using has already be done on some previous Battle.  I'm starting to forget the ones I've used on my own Battles let alone what others have used.   We've got a lot of songs behind us at this point and many to come if we keep going with this.  Just something to think about.

I'm Using a Repeat Song in This Battle

        I dedicate this Battle to Larry Cavanaugh at DiscConnected.   This is a song that he used nearly a year ago in one of his match-ups between the composer Todd Rundgren and multi-genre artist Alison Krauss.

       Early 1972 saw the release of the classic album Something/Anything by Todd Rundgren.   One of the songs "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference"  (click link if you want to hear Todd's original version) has become one of the most often recorded Rundgren songs.  It being such a lovely song, it's understandable why it's become a classic tune recorded by many.

Hello People  "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference" (1975)

           In the early 70's Todd Rundgren toured with an interesting and highly talented band who served as his back-up.    The Hello People had already established themselves as a moderately successful band before hooking up with Rundgren.   Their tour with Todd gained them more exposure, but star status continued to elude them.   Rundgren later went into the studio to produce the Hello People album "Bricks" in 1975.  I haven't heard the rest of the Bricks album, but Todd's production gives this retake on his hit song a dose of the Philadelphia Soul sound--fitting for the time of its release.

            There is a cross marketing scheme involving my using a cover by the Hello People in this week's battle.   More of the story will be coming next Monday on Tossing It Out when I announce the winner of this Battle and also participate in the Underrated Treasures Blogfest.     Another part of the story will appear on my blog Wrote By Rote on Saturday September 20th.   Hope you'll come back for those, but now let's listen to the Hello People version of this song with a very long title.  There's a 45 second into to the song by Music Mike so you can skip ahead if you want, though Music Mike is pretty good at what he does.

Laurel Masse "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference"  (1976)

         I've been doing a "boys vs girls" theme on my recent Band Battles.  Since Larry already had taken the great rendition by Alison Krauss, that meant that I needed to find a version of this song performed by a female artist.  I found several good ones, but I thought this version by Laurel Masse was particularly appealing.

         The name Laurel Masse was one I'd never heard, but as the video started up I realized that she was one of the singers in the very popular vocal group Manhattan Transfer.   Further investigation of Laurel's life made this song pick more poignant.   She had been a founding member of the group and as their popularity was starting to really take off she was involved in a near fatal car crash which rendered her unable to perform with the Transfer.

          The group continued with a replacement.   Laurel's recovery took a few years.  Over the period of the years since her recovery she has resumed her singing career as a solo artist as well as other pursuits.  She's recorded several albums during this time. "It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference" was recorded under the Manhattan Transfer name in 1976 though for all practical purposes it's a Laurel Masse solo with some back-up by the group.

Time to Vote!

           Which do you prefer?   The difference between the versions is not much so you might think it wouldn't make any difference which one you pick, but it would be nice if you chose one.   Please take time to vote in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one you chose.  Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around.   And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.


 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands




         The results of my Battle will be announced on Monday September 22 at which time I'll also be participating in the Underrated Treasures Blogfest hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh (click on the link for more info and sign-up list).   

           If mimes can't talk why can the Hello People sing?   Are you a Manhattan Transfer fan?  Do you agree with what I've said about repeating the same song in different contests and limiting the number of videos per post?


  1. Good day Lee, after listening to all three, I just loved The Hello People's version, they many look zany but their voices was a joy to listen too......and such a great song.

  2. Lee, I can say without prejudice who my favorite between the two is because while I remember Manhattan Transfer, I don't remember this song or Hello People, but over-all Hello People's version suits my ear the best. Thanks for visiting & voting!

  3. The first one has a more retro feel, but I really like Masse's vocals in the second one. Think the song is better suited with a female singer, so second one gets my vote.

  4. Now I have Dave Matthews' version of Watchtower in my head. Not a fan of Manhattan Transfer but I don't like that genre of music. I'll vote for Rundgren.

  5. I definitely prefer Laura Masse's voice, but the first one by Hello People does have some nice elements. There are some tasty guitar parts, the sappy strings aren't quite as prevalent, and it sounds much more like "a Todd Rundgren" production.

    But I still preferred Laura's version.

  6. Yvonne-- It is a nice song.

    Cathy-- Not many people know about the Hello People.

    Alex-- One for the lady!

    JoJo-- Now I'm wondering if that's Rundgren or the Hello People. I'll give your vote to Hello People since Todd produced it.

    Chris -- Nice analysis.


  7. The first ones is too 70s for me, a period of music that for the most part I didn't care for. Plus the lead singer's wide vibrato kind of irritates me.

    Laura's version however, is smoother and easy on the ears, so I'm going with her.

  8. BOIDMAN ~
    I liked the strings in the HELLO PEOPLE version. In fact, I liked everything about it - except that somewhere between minute 3 and 4 they introduce a too-loud and too-sharp sound effect that rides OVER the vocal - like a tinkling, guitar ringing sound. THAT was unnecessary and actually detracted from the song, to me.

    But otherwise, I liked the song quite a bit.

    I did not recognize the name LAURA MASSE, and having just heard the Hello People version, I figured this one would likely be an easy pick. But reading a little further, I came upon her connection to the MANHATTAN TRANSFER, whom I like: Uh-Oh. Maybe not so easy after all.

    Well, I did like her version too but, really, it wasn't that hard to choose.

    The Hello People sound much more Soulful to me, so I'll stick with them.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  9. The original song is very retro, but sounds like too many other groups from that era. I like the Manhattan Transfer with their polished jazz sound, but I wouldn't buy music by any of the group solo. I like their harmonizing.

    My vote to the 2nd choice, Laurel.

  10. Both of these are great, but Laurel Masse gets my vote. I've been in love with her since hearing her sing June Christy's "Something Cool" forty years ago. Hello People's version is good, though.

  11. The second one for sure. I love her rendition and her voice seems more real. I have to say I love the opening of the first one-made me giggle. That group must have liked KISS

  12. I love finding all this cool new music :) Thanks for these.

    Sarah Allen
    (Writing Blog)

  13. Bish-- Oh my, the 70's is my favorite era of music--well the first half at least.

    StMc-- I wouldn't have expected you to go that way, but your reasoning makes sense.

    DG-- Yes, the Transfer is definitely best as a whole.

    John-- I think it's a tough choice.

    Birgit-- I'm thinking it's more like Kiss liked them since Hello People came first.

    Sarah-- Thanks for visiting.


  14. Tough one here, too. Easy to hear the Rundgren in both... hard to deal with a Rundgren feel and a female singer for me. Hello People.

  15. Hmm...can I abstain?

    Neither version adds much to the TR original, but both are pretty good.

    Laura Masse may have suffered due to the recording quality fidelity on the HP version was much better).

    The Hello People version is getting my vote because it's the one I am familiar with-and TR produced it.


  16. This was a tough one - I really enjoyed both, and while listening to the first I was pretty sure I'd choose that one. But then I heard the 2nd version and loved it. I think the 2nd one gets my vote, by a very slim margin though.

  17. The second one has such a pretty voice - it gets my vote.

  18. Definitely the last with Laurel Masse as solo and maybe because I remember Manhattan Transfer. I can't offer much more than that .. perhaps because Laurel Masse's voice is clearer and sharper than other 2?

  19. The Hello People get my vote. The song sounded much more TR than the other version perhaps a nod to TR's production. That gave them the nod over the second one. The second one had female vocals which added something to the song but as stated in the comments neither really added anything new to the song.

  20. CW-- Hard to escape Rundgren if you know he wrote it.

    Larry-- You must have a much better sound system on your computer than I do or maybe more discriminating ears.

    Trisha-- It is a very close decision.

    L.Diane -- I guess that's why Masse was part of a vocal group. I agree that her voice is very nice.

    Susan Scott-- I doubt that the Hello People ever got any play where you are.

    Mike-- This pairing is definitely more judged by nuances that interpretation.


  21. Laurel Masse, of course. Have loved her rendition since it was recorded. Beautiful..

  22. I did not know that! KISS was inspired from them. Thanks for educating me because I don't know all the original stuff so that's why I love and enjoy your blog

  23. Sorry for coming over so late, but Mondays are a circus at my place. I had just enough time to post my BATTLE and then run out the door. I did all of the posts yesterday and listen to the music that would play on my phone.

    when I first started reading your post, I was a little impatient and thought; 'oh just get to the BATTLE, but upon reflection, I'm real grateful that you put that information out there. As this thing grows, which is really fun, it takes a long time to get to everybody (and when it falls on a Monday, even longer for me), posting multiple songs just kind of drags it out and makes the whole process harder. As you stated, save some of them up for use at a later time. I've been guilty myself of posting a few three-ways, but that was in the days when there were only three or four of us at it. Anyway...I hope some of the new people will heed your good advice.

    Now that I have that out of the way, your BATTLE. both of these versions sound pretty similar and they both sound an awful like the original TR. People keep telling me at my BOTB that a good cover should add something or do something a little different at least. So, because I can see no real difference here other than the male, female thing, I'm going to go with 'Hello People', if for no other reason than they sound more like the original - not a very good reason, is it?

    I really like the Manhattan Transfer, but can't say I cared for this solo too much.

  24. Vernondonk--I'd never heard this version. I didn't start following the Transfer until the 80's.

    Birgit--I was only speculating about Kiss being inspired by The Hello People. I'm not sure of any actual connection though.

    FAE--Things had been getting so out of hand with multiple song postings that I felt something had to be said. It got to the point where I was only listening to the first minute or less and judging from there. In an upcoming post I'll have something to say about subtleties in different version. Some songs like the one I used here can't be done in too many other ways without getting overly extreme. I've got some others coming up where there are only very subtle differences though differences nonetheless.


  25. I hear what your saying about variations.

    Everything else was we'll said and with a big ABOUT TIME. I've still not gotten through all the BOTB posts. Sheesh!

  26. I think your intent is for us to vote or Goodbye People or Laurel Messy... but since one earlier vote went to TR, I believe the cat is out of the bag!

    So I vote the "TR" original. I think it is way, way better than either of the other two.

    Sheboyganboy Six

  27. Hi, I like the Laurel Masse version first, second the Hello People version, and the original.

    Laurel's vocals are better, sweeter and smoother. Rundgren's version by himself is sleepy and has no energy that is why the the Hello People rendition is even better than Rudgren's solo.

    Thanks for sharing.

  28. FAE-- Hopefully next Battles will be limited to two versions only.

    Sheboygan-- I gave the other vote for Todd to Hello People as I thought maybe JoJo misstated her vote. Yours is insistent so I'll give it to Todd even though Hello People practically is just another version of TR.

    Mary Hill-- I'll be making that same point about Todd's version when I announce the outcome of this Battle next Monday.


  29. I voted Alison Krauss back when LC posted his battle.

    Hello People's version is very indicative of the time period. For people who love the flavor of 70s music, this is an easy choice.

    Since I am more of an 80s sort of girl, that 70s feel doesn't send me into fits of ecstasy. I preferred the less 70s, cleaner sound of Laura Masse.

  30. I had a hard time n this one, but I'm going with Hello People. I guess it rang so true to the '70's and I loved the vocalist. in this one.

  31. The Hello People version is my favorite. It plays like a montage of memories from my teenage years.


  32. Robin -- I think I may have voted for Alison but I don't remember for sure--both she and Todd were very good.

    C.Lee-- The vocalist for HP has a nice sound.

    Julie -- "A montage of memories"--I like that. Songs can be that way sometimes.



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.