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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Battle of the Bands: I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'

Christmas gifts.
Christmas gifts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
   Welcome to 2015!

       Here we are again--another start of another year.  I was okay with the last one and wouldn't have mind staying in it for a while longer.   Seems like each new day just leaves me behinder and behinder.   Wasn't it just summer a few minutes ago?   And I barely noticed Thanksgiving and Christmas fly by.  

       Some of you may have had a big Christmas with lots of gifts while others may have been like me and got plenty of nothing.   Actually that's fine with me since I've been trying to downsize my life and I don't want a bunch of additional stuff I don't really need.   Since I don't buy Christmas gifts anymore due to my downsized income, I guess I shouldn't expect much in the way of gifts anyway.

       I shouldn't be moping about my lack of gifts because I actually did get a few things.  Now with my mother gone I didn't get the new shirts that I could always expect from her.  That's okay Mom--I still have plenty of the shirts you'd given me in previous years and most of them are still in pretty good shape.  My wife said she'd get me a new pair of shoes for Christmas, but we've been too busy to shop for those yet and that's okay because I've got plenty of wearable shoes in my closet.

       Don't get me wrong.  I wasn't completely neglected at Christmas.  One of my daughters sent me some delicious gourmet chocolate-covered strawberries from Sherri's Berries, but they're long gone now so I've got nothing to show for those except for a very fine shipping box that I'm not sure what I'll do with now.  Another daughter got me three DVD's and that was nice other than the fact that I already had two of them so now I'll have to do an exchange on Amazon so I can get something that I don't have already.  

      Really though, I don't need much of anything more.  I already have plenty of stuff and after more reality checks over the past year of losing people I loved and cared about I'm reminded how all the stuff we own is just more stuff we leave behind when we leave this world.  Stuff for someone else to decide whether to keep or just toss out.  After all, life is about tossing it out, material possessions as well as thoughts and ideologies.  People matter more than things and as long as I've got the love of family and friends I don't need much of nothing else.

       What a convenient way to lead into my Battle of the Bands pick for the New Year!

First Battle of the Bands Post for 2015!



       Another Christmas is now behind us and we're off to embark on another year.   And to start the year off right there's no better way than the new year's first Battle of the Bands, the blogging event first introduced by our friends at Far Away Series and  StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action 

I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'
     
       Once again I'm presenting a song from an opera or musical.   This time it's "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" from the folk opera Porgy and Bess by George and Ira Gershwin based on the novel and stage-play Porgy by DuBose Heyward.   The story centers around Porgy, a poor disabled black man living in the slums of Charleston, South Carolina.   Infatuated by Bess, the girlfriend of a cruel and possessive guy named Crown, Porgy sets out to win her and take her away from her unhappy life.  The controversial opera introduced several popular songs including "Summertime" and "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'".  

     "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" has been covered numerous times by a wide range of song stylists and instrumentalists.   If you're not familiar with the song you can hear a traditional take from a 1935 recording by Lawrence Tibbett under the direction of composer George Gershwin.   Listening to this version will give you a pretty good idea of how the song was originally conceived to sound like.   If you do listen to this version, please don't vote on it, but save your vote for one of the two selections to follow.

Tee and Cara "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" (1968)

      I've written about the wonderful duo Tee and Cara in the past not only on Tossing It Out, but also on my memoir blog Wrote By Rote.   Their only album As They Are from 1968 is among my favorite albums.   The original compositions on the album are superb, but the duo does a couple of fine covers as well.   They put a very nice touch to the Gershwin tune with an updated folk/pop sound.  I especially like what they do with harmony in not only this song, but all of their songs.  Take a listen and see what you think.




Brian Wilson "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'"  (2010)

       Brian Wilson is often referred to as a musical genius and listening to his 2010 album Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin is evidence of that claim.   Wilson turns the Porgy solo into a fun bouncy instrumental jaunt.  To my ears it's almost Christmassy in a way which makes it kind of appropriate for my post-Christmas Battle of the Bands round.   Settle back and have some listening fun with this version.





Time to Vote!

           Which do you prefer?  Please vote on your favorite to start the New Year off on the right foot.  I'd hate to get plenty of no votes on this one, but since it's a holiday I realize that voting might not be as active as it's been for most of my Battles.   If you do vote please let us know your choice 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.


FAR AWAY SERIES’ 

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

 DISCCONNECTED’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

DC Relief Battle of the Bands

        The results of this Battle will be announced on Friday January 9th.  I'll be trying to get back in the swing of my old three day a week blogging schedule--hopefully I can keep that going okay. 

         Did you reap a big haul of good things for Christmas?   Do you have any big plans for the upcoming year?    Are you a George Gershwin fan?

90 comments:

  1. HA! Well, hopefully you got plenty of the Christmas spirit even if the day was short on presents.

    Tibbett was one of my dad's favorites, and I have "plenty" of Tibbett on his old 78s that I inherited. I love him too, and that would be my vote, IF it were allowed.

    It isn't, and that's OK because both of the others are interesting. Frankly, they both sound like the 1960s, even though Wilson's was recent. It is bouncy and rather fun. The Tee and Cara one gets my vote, however, because they sing the lyrics which to me are the heart of the song.

    Sheboyganboy VI

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    1. Those Tibbett records must be worth a few cents now! Thanks for voting on the actual candidates.

      Lee

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  2. I'm gonna go with Brian Wilson's version. It's campy and fun and makes me think of an intro to a 60s or 70s sitcom. Back when sitcoms had a live studio audience and less innuendo.

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    1. I can hear the sitcom connection. Good call. Thanks for starting a cold New Year's Day morn in a dead heat with the Battle.

      Lee

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    1. And a happy one to you as well. I guess you didn't care for my song choices?

      Lee

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  4. I got plenty o nuttin too which bummed me out because I do like getting pressies as much as I love giving them. But I had money from my craft shows, bday and christmas, so I went on a bit of an online shopping spree. The presents are rolling in now.

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    1. I hope you bought things that you can use. Someday I'll pick a Grateful Dead song so you'll be more enthused about my BOTB face-off.

      Lee

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  5. This was just my "read the post" visit. Back later to listen.

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  6. Would you like an iPad air for Christmas lol, because if mine keeps being a pain you might get one :) five times I've tried to leave you a comment and it keeps closing out the page as I type lol

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    1. My computer hasn't been doing much better. I'll be trading over to a different one soon. Sorry about your iPad troubles.

      Lee

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  7. I couldn't figure out what Wilson's version reminded me of until I read Heather's comment... OMG it sounds like an intro to a TV show. I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone doesn't pounce on it and use it (especially since intros with lyrics have gone out of vogue... a real shame if you ask me!). I still can sing the intros to Laverne and Shirley, The Facts of Life, and The Brady Bunch without even straining myself. Others too if I wanted to make a (long) list.

    That said, I really enjoyed the harmonies of Tee and Cara, so chalk one more for them.

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    1. Yeah, I keep hearing the TV show connection now. Maybe Brian Wilson should be the star--he'd be an interesting subject. Maybe.

      Lee

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  8. A really good BOTB installment to start 2015, LEE.

    I love the 'Porgy And Bess' album by Miles Davis. It's my favorite of his recordings, no matter how many people would choose 'Kind Of Blue' ahead of it. Miles didn't include the song 'I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'', however.

    I actually enjoyed the two versions you selected for this Battle better than the Tibbett recording.

    The Tee And Cara version was good. Do you know why they only created one album together? What happened with them?

    I listened to both versions twice, and something about the way Tee And Cara do it reminded me of the song 'Ain't Got No' from the 'Hair' soundtrack.

    I really liked the Brian Wilson instrumental. I'm a huge fan of his music and I think he must be a musical genius, as so many people say.

    George Martin, The Beatles' producer once said:
    "If there is one person that I have to select as a living genius of pop music, I would choose Brian Wilson."

    When you consider that he'd select Wilson over McCartney or Lennon, that's really saying something.

    The Brian Wilson version was just so much fun to listen to (and I love that saxophone sound he's got in there), that I have to give him my vote.

    Great way to start BOTB 2015, Brother Boid!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Don't totally know what the whole Tee and Cara story was and I have tried to find out. Most I've found is that Cara has continued on with a writing career with minor success and I think she's put out at least one children's book. I believe she's remained in the NYC area, but info on her on the internet has been sketchy from what I've found.

      I haven't found anything about "Tee". Too bad as they were an excellent duo who put this one album out when they were teenagers. I think they could have had a fine musical career if they'd persisted.

      Are you familiar with Wilson's Gershwin album? I'd never heard of it until I was looking for artists who had covered the "Nuttin'" song. I've since listened to it in it's entirety and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm a big Gershwin fan anyway.

      Thanks for the vote!

      Lee

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    2. LEE ~
      I knew OF Wilson's Gershwin album, that it existed, but I've never heard it. Maybe tonight I'll see if it's available on Spotify.

      I do know that Brian Wilson's all-time favorite piece of music, ever since he was a child, has always been 'Rhapsody In Blue'.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    3. I listened to all of the cuts from the Gershwin album on YouTube. I was reading somewhere during my research for this post that Wilson modeled many of his songs after the songs of George and Ira Gershwin. Good examples to model hit songs after.

      Lee

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  9. Funny-I actually did not think either of these versions stacked up to the Tibbett original(?), but in a vote that will probably shock Mr. McCarthy, of the two, I'd have to go with Mr. Wilson.

    Happy New Year, Lee!

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    1. Can't say that I would enjoy repeated listenings to the version by Tibbett, but maybe it would grow on me.

      Happy New Year to you as well and I hope you continue with more BOTB action despite what I had read about your intentions elsewhere.

      Lee

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  10. Excellent! "Tough hoe" between the vocals and instrumental. I never would thought that to be Brain Wilson. I'd love to hear Tee and Cara recorded on that track! Happy harmony all around... but there's only one choice for me...

    Brian Wilson's version made me want to get up and dance or at least do some housework(smile). In fact I'm ready to hear the rest of the CD. Yep, Arlee, Brian gets my vote.

    P.S.When you've got food, folks and fun - you ain't got nuthing - you've got it all!! Happy New Year!

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    1. What else do we need besides the essentials of life? Everything else is vain excess (though it can be fun). A mash-up of these two versions might be interesting.

      Lee

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  11. I didn't get much for Christmas this year either. Mostly money, but I'm fine with that because then I can pick out things I know I want. People never seem sure what to get me (yarns always good, but no one ever gets me that.)

    Happy New Year!

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    1. For me these days money is always better than things I don't really need or want. I can always find a use for money.

      Happy New Year to you as well!

      Lee

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  12. First the battle. I love this song and enjoy Porgy and Bess. Listening to both I prefer Brian Wilson's version. I liked both but the first is one of many folk styles of that era and it doesn't sound unique to me even though her voice is beautiful. Brian Wilson's version has fun to it and then near the end he throws you off completely and it works! I was caught off guard but loved it. I received beautiful gifts as I love books and calendars and movies. My brother is a big music fan-blues, rock, etc... You would probably love his huge record collection and yes-I got him 2 records (not CD's). Blue Oyster Cult the first album and I can't remember the other. Since we were kids we ask for lists and we never get everything on the list but it gives us an idea. We don't need many things and do dads any more but we still enjoy giving especially when we know the other loves it.

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    1. I enjoy Blue Oyster Cult a great deal. Caught them in concert when they were first coming on the national music scene and thought they were outstanding. I still enjoy receiving music, films, and books that I don't have yet--those are about the only things I still don't mind too much about accumulating.

      Lee

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  13. Oh I meant to mention that on Monday I kept thinking about Louise Rainer and, when I got home, I went to the computer to look up who died in 2014 and was happy to see she was not there. The next morning I heard she died! I know she was 104 and would have been 105 Jan 12th but it always freaks me out that I often think of someone famous and then they kick the bucket

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    1. Funny how things like that work, not just about people dying, but about anything. It's like some great arcane cosmic communication.

      Lee

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  14. Hello! New to the BotB. Though I wasn't familiar with the original (or any version at all, actually) I like the Tee and Cara version a bit better for one of the reasons you mentioned - the harmonizing was beautiful!

    Kim @ This Belle Rocks
    Happy New Year! Let's start 2015 with a little sympathy.

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    1. Welcome to the BOTB and thanks for voting. Couldn't go wrong with either choice.

      Lee

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  15. I got books, which is my preferred gift, anyway.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Books can be a very good gift provided they are books that I want.

      Lee

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  16. Happy New Year, Lee! Don't fret about the Christmas presents -- your best Christmas present was given to you over 2000 years ago. :)

    I'm another who thinks the best Porgy and Bess is the classic Miles / Gil Evans album. But between these two, I'd go with Brian Wilson.

    I like the Tee and Cara, but it sounds pretty dated -- it's like old Sonny and Cher with better production and a much better male singer. Brian's version also has a dated feel -- he has that same sound as if it was recorded in the 60s as a Beach Boys tune without vocals. But for some reason it ALSO has a modern, timeless feel, too,

    So Wilson for me.

    Hope your 2015 is wonderful!

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    1. Eternal gifts are definitely better than stuff that doesn't last. Interesting take on the songs.

      Lee

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  17. After reading your reply to STMC, I wondered if I had had Tee and Cara on a Time Machine trip, but apparently not. All I found was an allegation that "they didn't like the instrumentation added to their album" after the vocals were set, but know idea where that bit of research came from. Something about the "Tee" that was never heard from again softly strokes the ol' bell, though. BTW, I'm voting for them. BW's version did 0 for me.

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  18. If you ever find out more about Tee and Cara I'd love to hear about them. My Google searches have turned up very little over all.

    Lee

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  19. It's hard to compete with the original Porgy and Bess version. I'll have to vote for Tee and Cara, as I also liked their harmonizing. Great point Heather made about the Wilson version sounding like a sitcom intro!

    Lee, I'm sorry this was such a sad year for you, and I wish you all the best in 2015!

    Julie

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    1. As it is with life, we take some bad with the good. Over all this has been mostly a good year. Hopefully the coming year will be at least as good and if it's better then that's a big bonus.

      Lee

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  20. Hi Lee,

    Forgive me if I seem even more incoherent than usual. I shall blame it on commenting at three in the morning.

    You have gone through some very tough, emotional times during the past year, good sir. And yet, you've got plenty of "somethink" and the gifts of interaction we share, we learn from, bodes well for the dawning of this New Year.

    I prefer the Bryan Wilson version.

    A peaceful New Year to you and your loved ones, Lee.

    Gary

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    1. Thanks, Gary. As long there is hope there is life and I've got plenty of both.

      Lee

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  21. My vote is for the Tee & Cara version. I love the harmonizing -- they remind me of the group It's a Beautiful Day (most known for the song White Bird): very similar in styles and I've always been a fan of It's a Beautiful Day so I'm going with what was most pleasing to my ear. Re: Your Christmas haul: it's good to be reminded of stuff being just stuff and that we can't take it with us when we die. We are a society obsessed with STUFF! I wish I was less concerned about stuff myself!

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    1. It's A Beautiful Day is one of my favorite groups mainly because of the violin. I can kind of hear what you're saying about the vocals though.

      Stuff drives our economy, but it's important not to let it corrupt our souls.

      Lee

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  22. Tee and Cara get my vote. Vocals add to the song and sways the vote.

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    1. The vocals almost make this song in actuality. The melody is nice, but it doesn't really convey the message.

      Lee

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  23. Loved your post Lee thank you! The Tibbett song was wonderfully nostalgic .. the Brian Wilson instrumental showed that no words are necessary maybe as the visuals showed nature in all her glory so there is plenty. Tee and Cara gets my vote because it was so clear and harmonic ... actually I'm not so sure, I loved the Brian Wilson - but I guess split votes don't count ... I'm on for BW.

    May your year continue to gift you Lee -

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    1. So Brian Wilson it will be for your vote!

      Lee

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  24. Hi Lee - I was sorr yto hear about your mother ... they leave us without that link ... and no new shirts!!! Have a good year ahead ... with many thoughts at a difficult time as your first year passes ... cheers Hilary

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    1. My mother was usually my go to when it came to filling in the gaps or questions about my past. And I just enjoyed visiting with her on the phone most days. I was lucky to have her in my life for as long as I did.

      Lee

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  25. Five times I have tried to leave a comment and when I hit publish they keep disappearing.

    I vote Brian Wilson. Loved his take on this piece.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Of course the dinky little comment went through, but the longer more thoughtful ones kept getting deleted. What's up with that blogger?

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    2. I hate that long good comments were lost. Blogger has been doing some odd things of late but I haven't lost any comments that I've left like that yet. Glad you at least got in to vote.

      Now I'm wondering about those long thoughtful comments.

      Lee

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  26. Tee and Cara for me on this one.
    We keep our Christmas small at our house too and just enjoy time with each other.

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    1. That's mostly what we did although we did fix up a big Christmas eve dinner at our house.

      Lee

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  27. It's a toss up for me Lee. I like the vocals on the first but the Brian Wilson makes you feel like life is good so guess that nudges ahead.

    Thanks for your posts and your contribution to the world of blogging. Hope 2015 turns out well for you.

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    1. My contributions are reflected by those of my readers and commenters. Thanks to you.

      Lee

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  28. I liked both of the artists you shared for this battle of the bands. My vote will go to Brian Wilson.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. It's a tough choice.

      Happy New Year to you as well.

      Lee

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  29. I liked Tee and Cara's better. Happy New Year! Those Sheri's berries sounded good. They wouldn't have lasted long at my house, either.

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    1. Chocolate covered strawberries? Who can resist?

      Lee

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  30. Thats a very bouncy tune Lee. Loved it. Tee and Cara are a great duo, but I loved Brian's musical better. Give my vote to Brian.

    I'm glad Christmas is over too - so much money, so few items purchased. But the few gifts I gave was well liked, and that makes me happy. I love surprising the kids and grandkids with stuff they didn't know they wanted. I'm nervous about 2015 prospects; gotta be better than my disasterous 2014, but who can tell for sure these days.

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    1. Hope for the best, but don't have much in the way of expectations and you shouldn't be too disappointed in the year to come.

      Lee

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  31. We've cut back on the amount of gifts at Christmas too - and it worked really, really well. As you say, it's all about the people!

    I liked those harmonies - my vote goes to Tee & Cara :)

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  32. Buying gifts can stimulate the economy I'm sure, but it doesn't necessarily help ones personal economy.

    Lee

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  33. I definitely prefer the Brian Wilson version mind you I am a big fan of his but I think he just scraped by :-)

    Have a tanfastic 2015 and thanks for waltzing by :-)

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    1. Not up to par with Wilson's best, but his worst is better than what many artists deliver.

      Lee

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  34. I liked the Tee and Cara version. And I'm with you on too many belongings. Only I've reached that thought process before my husband, who is still the pack rat I was, so it's an uphill battle. I have a lot of belongings from relatives who have passed away, and it's hard to figure out how to part with those. I do feel the need to simplify, though.

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    1. I hate to think of my house as a storage center. If we all owned museums or had someplace to display things then all of the family heirlooms and sentimental pieces would be more worth hanging onto. Seems silly to just keep things horded away in boxes and closets wondering what to do with them.

      Lee

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  35. Despite your loss you seem to be one of the few who are praising the last year! Have to admit I'm looking forward to New one - and unloading all my stuff!

    Wishing nothing but the best!

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    1. I'm sure I could focus on the bad, but I think that would only make things worse. I like to see as much good in everything that I can.

      Lee

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  36. I think the chocolate covered strawberries you received were a perfect gift! I agree with you in that we could all afford to downsize a bit...toss it out. But chocolate, in any form, is always welcome :)
    As far as the battle, I think I prefer the instrumental by Brian Wilson...it sounds happy!

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    1. We ate every single berry. Not a one was tossed out.

      Lee

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  37. Hey Lee, Happy new Year to you and yours! Downsizing is the name of the game for us. We're getting rid of a lot of stuff. We'll see what we can first sell. Whatever doesn;t sell we'll call Goodwill. Whatever they reject gets trashed.

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    1. Selling has been going slow here, but I've been slow at trying to sell things.

      Lee

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  38. Hmmm,a tough choice to start the year. I love Gershwin's music, and have quite a few CDs of his work, but nothing quite like the versions you offer here. Interesting. While I like the instrumental version,I like the lyrics to this song even more, so I guess I'm gonna have to cast my vote for the folk music-like version.

    There were presents to unwrap for Christmas, but the BEST present was getting to watch some of our grandchildren open their gifts... and to spend time with some wonderful friends to see in the new year.

    Speaking of which, Happy New Year!

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    1. Nice to see that people still are recording the great music of Gershwin.

      Lee

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  39. While the visual is great on number two it's a bit hippity-hoppity for me. I'm going with the duet.

    Happy New Year.

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    1. Hope you have a hippity-hoppity Happy New Year filled with fun and alliteration.

      Lee

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  40. Tee and Cara, no question. My husband and I stopped the gift giving this year (to each other). If we need something, we buy it anyway. More fun to buy for the grandkids. Happy New Year!

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    1. I'd rather just buy things as I need them anyway.

      Lee

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  41. Tee and Cara is my vote, though the other isn't bad.

    We do the "gift" thing but Christmas was rough.

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    1. Our Christmas had some rough spots, but it was survivable.

      Lee

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  42. What surprised me this year was the lack of holiday spirit. Everything and everyone seemed muted. Though people picked up on New Years with lots of well wishes for the new year. I think 2014 was hard on a lot of people.

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    1. Now that you mention it, this holiday season did seem less festive--at least for me. I thought maybe just having lost my mother and not doing our usual holiday travels made this seem more evident in my case. I didn't get out all that much during the season either. Still this year seemed to be more subdued in that holiday spirit.

      Lee

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  43. I had an excellent time spending the evening with my son and the whole weekend with my friends. Happy New Year!

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    1. Doesn't get much better than family and friends.

      Lee

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  44. I'd never heard of any of these versions! I think you have the right idea with gifts, though. We spent WAY too much and what do we have? Just more stuff we don't need!

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    1. Gifts can be fun if they fit well into our economic situation.

      Lee

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  45. I've never liked any version of this song. Everybody sings it much too slow for my liking. I've never heard the Brian Wilson version until just now (thanks for that). He really was a musical genius and his arrangement of this song was REALLY good. I guess that means I vote for Brian Wilson!

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    1. I've never been very fond of this song either until I heard the Tee and Cara version in the late 60's. Then Wilson's version really took the song to another level. Thanks for the vote!

      Lee

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  46. My pleasure! I'll try to listen to some more Tee and Cara.

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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