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Friday, May 15, 2015

Look for a Star (Battle of the Bands)


       Today I'm being interviewed by Chrys Fey at Write with Fey so be sure to visit her blog after you've voted on the Battle of the Bands. 


Battle of the Bands--May 15th 2015

          It's kind of hard to believe that it's the middle of May and summer's a-comin'.   And once again it's time for another Battle of the Bands.   This event has become a favorite of mine.   We have Far Away Eyes at Far Away Series  to thank for conceiving this musical appreciation thang.  Stephan T McCarthy acts as the list steward and official BotB host--you can find his blog with the list of participants at  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.

A Two Fer U

        I've got a double whammy this time around.  Today it's Battle of the Bands.  Then on Monday May 18th I'll be joining Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather Gardner for the Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest.  I'm connecting the two events to make things a bit more interesting.  On Monday I'll be telling you about the movie and you'll have to come back for that.  Today it's the song from the movie.  Some of you might know the movie because you know the song.  Or some of you might get ambitious and look up the song to see what movie it originally came from.  No matter what, I think it's a good pairing here--a song that's been a long time favorite of mine and a movie that I saw when I was a kid and it's a minor classic of sorts.

       But enough of this chatter.   Let's get on with the song choice for this Battle of the Bands installment.

Look for a Star

      "Look for a Star" is a song that is rarely heard these days.  At least I never hear it played anywhere.  The song first made its appearance in 1960 in the film to be featured in my post on Monday.  After being released the song was all over the charts--literally. It's kind of a strange story, but true nevertheless.  Let me explain.

         The songwriting credits go to Mark Anthony who was actually better known by his real name of Tony Hatch.  Hatch not only recorded on his own as a vocalist, pianist, and orchestra leader, but he was also a record producer responsible for many well known hit songs.  Most notable was his association with Petula Clark for whom he wrote many hits such as "Downtown".  But you can find Hatch's name (or those of his alter egos Mark Anthony and Fred Nightingale) on many releases by a slew of well known artists on both sides of the Atlantic.

      The song "Look for a Star" was first recorded by Garry Mills who charted with it at #7 in the U.K., but his success with the song in the U.S. was a bit diluted as three other similar sounding versions were released simultaneously.   The song only charted at #26 in the U.S. with the version  recorded by Garry Mills while a nearly identical version by one Gary Miles peaked at #16.  Miles was actually Buzz Cason who later went on to work with a number of other artists under his real name.  Obviously the pseudonym tactic was devised to create confusion which may have prevented the original by Mills to reach number one.

         To add to the confusion, another nearly identical sounding release by Dean Hawley rose to #29 on the U.S. charts while an instrumental version by Billy Vaughn made it to #19.  Tony Hatch probably came out okay on the deal, but the artists and their recording companies saturated the market with all the simultaneous releases.  After that initial onslaught of recordings, the song became a minor standard recorded by many artists--some of those versions rather strange.

       Taking this song story a bit further I discovered that apparently the song became quite popular in the Latin American countries which saved me from battling similar version against each other.  That gives me two very different versions of "Look for a Star" to put into competition.  I hope you'll enjoy these.

Garry Mills "Look for a Star"  (1960)

       This is the original version used in the film (which as I noted above I will tell you about on Monday).   In this film the vocal version is used about four times if I remember correctly and at least once as an instrumental.  It's featured very prominently in the film which is why it stuck with me so strongly after I saw the film.  Besides, it's a nice melody with positive lyrics.  I'd say just about everybody who left after seeing the film was singing this song afterwards.  I usually don't remember lyrics, but this is one song where the lyrics stayed with me.

        The song has a classic early 60's sound with a teen dream vocal and a popcorn poppy guitar rift throughout.  The shimmering organ runs and the horn break are particularly nice touches as are the do-do-do backing from the female vocalists.  Like a Lay's potato chip you might not be able to just listen to this song one time.   But why don't I just shut up and let you hear it for yourself...






Carlos Campos and his Orchestra  "Mirando una Estrella" (19??)

       There are so many Latin versions of "Look for a Star" that I had a difficult time choosing just one.  Sometimes called "Mirando una Estrella" and at others "Buscando una Estrella", but any way you listen to it the melody is "Look for a Star".  The version that I actually found most interesting was one by Los Tres Reyes, but I decided to avoid it since I thought the Spanish lyrics might be off putting to some.   I also avoided any of the mariachi versions, not that they weren't interesting, but they were mariachi and I wasn't sure how that would go over.  After all I don't want a shut out for this contest.

       The version by Carlos Campos is the one that triggered the most memories for me.  Not that I'd heard this version before, but the style was reminiscent of what I used to hear a lot back in the early 60's.  My mother went through a phase where she would frequently listen to cha-cha and mambo records.  I don't recall any Carlos Campos in her collection, but Perez Prado and the Francis Bay Orchestra are two that I particularly remember her listening to repeatedly.  She'd have those records blaring throughout the day as she did her housework.  It never bothered me because I too loved the music.

        Carlos Campos y su Orquestra fits into the same musical tradition as that music my mother listened to so his version of "Look for a Star" was easy on my ears and I figured at least a few of you voters might like it as well.  Take a listen and you can decide...






Time to Vote!

     Which do you prefer?  ?   It's up to you to determine the winner.   Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one you chose. Will it be the contender from the U.K. Garry Mills or Carlos Campos from Mexico?  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.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

FAR AWAY SERIES’ 

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

DC Relief Battle of the Bands

Shady Dell Music and Memories   

The Doglady's Den  (a new participant!)

Angel's Bark  (another new participant!)

Cherdo on the Flipside  (And another new one!)


Results on May 22nd

        Get the final vote tally for this Battle on my post of Friday May 22nd.   On Monday I'll be participating in the Blood, Boobs, and Carnage Blogfest at which time the movie that featured the above Battle's song will be revealed. You can vote on today's Battle of the Bands post until Thursday May 21st which will be when I make my final vote tally. Please vote!




What movie introduced "Look for a Star"?
Find out in the Blogfest coming on Monday.
    
     Now head on over to visit Chrys Fey at Write with Fey to read her interview with yours truly, Arlee Bird.

          Without peeking do you know the movie this song came from and have you seen it?    Have you ever heard this song before?    Are you a fan of Latin style music?




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66 comments:

  1. I remember Gary Mills version, from the film Circus of horrors.
    I vote for him.
    Great interview with Chrys.
    Enjoy your week-end.
    Yvonne,

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Yvonne, this song was probably out at about the same time as your record store days. Poor Garry Mills didn't get slammed in the U.K. with all the sound-alike versions that popped up in the U.S.

      Lee

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  2. Lee, the Latin version has some familiarity to it, but I have no clue from where, a movie, the radio, ???? I enjoyed both covers, each giving me a different feeling, but I think Carlos Campos y su Orquestra steals the show for me. It made me feel light and careful this morning, and it made me wanna do the cha-cha-cha! Give my vote to Carlos Campos!

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    1. Cathy, I guess that's what resonated with me about the Campos version. It has a distinct sound that was very prevalent in the early 60's especially.

      Giving your cha-cha vote to Carlos.

      Lee

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  3. Oopsy, I forgot to check the "Notify Me" button!

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  4. Gary Mills, definitely. I like the words, and I like the voice. The Latin version had me wanting to sit back, sip my Mai Tai, and watch the people go by, but I enjoyed Gary MIlls' version the most.

    (Nice interview. Chris does a great job!)

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    1. Diana, I agree that Chrys did an outstanding job with the interview.

      It's a bit early for a Mai Tai for me right now--I've haven't had one of those in years, decades even!

      Mills gets another vote.

      Lee

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  5. I'd have to go with Gary Mills. I prefer the song with vocals.
    Glad you are joining us for Blood, Boobs, and Carnage!

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    1. Alex, this song and the movie it was in jumped out at me when I started considering your Blogfest. Worked out great for me.

      Lee

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  6. Whoa, this song sure has quite the backstory! This is a tough one Lee. They're both so very different. I like the Gary Mills version because I like the lyrics and his voice. It's so reminiscent of that time period. But then I also liked the Latin instrumental version: I found it easy to listen to and the tune is still playing in my head. Although I'd like to say Gary Mills, on this one I'm going with Carlos Campos. It's just a lighter, more catchy tune. The fact that it's sticking in my head more is my deciding factor because really, I like both. And I gotta say: it's hard for me to picture this song being in a movie that's blood, boobs and carnage! Can't wait til Monday to see what film it was featured in. I'm not going to cheat: I'm going to wait for the big reveal... :)
    And thanks for inviting me to be a part of Battle of the Bands. This is going to be so much fun!
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michele, most of the U.S. versions were so much the same that I was very glad to find this Latin style version. This pairing gave me something much more interesting to work with. The song is very fitting for the film from whence it came and it worked having repeated playing of the song throughout.

      Another Campos vote!

      Lee

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  7. Both of those are so reminiscent of the early 60s. The Carlos Campos version had me tapping my feet and wanting to do the Cha Cha, early in the morning (I'm NOT a morning person!), so that one gets my vote. ☺ Loved your interview with Chrys, especially that photo of you as a kid. Thanks for accepting me into the fold for BOTB. Cheers!

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    1. Debbie, glad to have you doing the BOTB with us! Something about that cha-cha music. Guess that's why my mother liked it for her housework.

      Campos takes another vote!

      Lee

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  8. Hi, Lee! I am delighted to find out that you and I share a love for this song and for the movie from which it was taken. I won't be a spoiler by naming the movie but I'd like you to know that I also went to see it in 1960 at age 10. The film and the theme song both stuck with me to such an extent that I devoted a post to them a few years ago.

    It has always amazed me how artists often rush released copycat covers of hot records, hoping theirs would be the one to catch fire. More often than not it led to confusion among DJs and radio programmers and resulted in the dreaded "split play" phenomenon in which neither version became as big a hit as it could have or should have been. As an avid record collector, I own both the Garry Mills and the Garry Miles singles. (Note the identical spelling of "Garry" for both artists. :) All three singles, the one by Mills, the one by Miles and the one by Dean Hawley, entered the Hot 100 the same week. The Mills and Hawley versions lasted 11 weeks on the chart while the Miles record lasted 13 weeks. The Garry Miles version of "Look For a Star" is the one I like best because Buzz Cason's vocals are somewhat soother and more mellow than those of the other singers. In this battle, I heavily prefer the Garry Mills record because it is linked to fond childhood memories of that scary movie. Again, without revealing the name of the movie you will be discussing on Monday, I wish to make the point that whenever I hear the tender love ballad "Look For a Star" I get chills up and down my spine recalling how the song was used in the film, a brilliant juxtaposition of beauty and sheer terror.

    Thanks, Lee, and have a great weekend!

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    1. Shady, I had a feeling you would know this song. I feel much as you about the song. Cason's vocals are smoother, but I like the horn break in the Mills version--it fit the movie as well. I'll talk about my movie memories on Monday. Later I'll have to go back and read your old post about this.

      I award your vote to Garry Mills by inference since you never mention the Campos version.

      Lee

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  9. Carlos Campos' version was catchy and fun. That's the one I'm voting for.

    Thank you for mentioning the interview! :D

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    1. Thanks for the interview, Chrys! I'm honored and you did nicely with it.

      A vote for Campos! So far he's doing much better than I had expected. I was afraid I might have a shutout in this contest. Good to see the fans of Latin music showing up to the poll.

      Lee

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  10. I confess that I decided my vote, but then I read the comments. So, I know the movie (assuming one of your commenters is correct). Sounds like a horror film, which would suit the blogfest spectacularly. I was having a hard time hearing Look For A Star in a horror film and then I read Mr. Shady's comment. Yikes. I guess that upbeat, sweet song playing during something very scary is genius.

    Anyway, give me Gary Mills. The lyrics make me happy (unlike the movie, most likely).

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    1. Robin, within the context of the film the song is so very appropriate so it makes complete sense. I'll be including a clip from the film on my Blogfest post on Monday.

      Another vote for the consistently misspelled Garry Mills.

      Lee

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  11. Decisions, decisions - I liked the Carlos Campos version. It does have that big band swing touch from the 1940's.

    Gary Mills was good. I guess if I had a memory tied to it, I would like it better. Remember, I am not a keen judge of music.

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    1. Ann, you don't have to be a "keen judge of music" to know what you like.

      I've got you down for Carlos Campos.

      Lee

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  12. When I listened to these two, all I could think of was dancing. Campos would be the salsa and Mills was the cha-cha. Rhythmically driven tunes turn on that part of my brain pronto.

    In the end, Gary Mills gets my cha-cha-cha vote.

    Great pairing, Arlee!

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    1. Cherdo, dancing with the stars this morning!

      Cha-ching! Another vote for Garry (with 2 R's)

      Lee

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  13. Lee, this is so familiar. 'Day of the Triffids' or 'The Blob' is my guess.

    Number one gets my vote. I'm not a samba baby - and Mills has words!! My vote goes to Gary Mills. Quirky battle - I'll be back Monday

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    1. Dixie, not the correct movies, but you're right about the quirkiness of the Battle. I made some interesting discoveries about a song that has stuck with me for over 5 decades and I still like the song.

      And Garry (with 2 R's) gets another vote!

      Lee

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  14. Much as I adore Latin music (Cherdo was lovely), I have to go with Gary Mills for the lyrics and time period the song invokes.
    Terrific interview with Chrys Fey, you guys rock! :-)

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    1. Thanks for visiting the interview, Diedre, and this BOTB post. I got a kick out of Cherdo Cha-cha-cha's comment too.

      I guess nobody likes the way Garry Mills spelled his name, but still he's getting the votes.

      Lee


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  15. BOIDMAN ~
    This one was easy for me. That first version? Not my style of music... at all. I do like some simplistic early '60s songs, but definitely not THIS one.

    However, the Carlos Campos instrumental I DID enjoy. It was far more interesting to me as it was musically multi-layered and I liked the Latin-ized bounce of it.

    Also, when I lived in L.A., I always liked Campos burritos so... I'll take Carlos Campos and one Chile Relleno burrito to go.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. STMcC, I kind of had you figured for the Campos vote though not for the burritos, but that makes sense. Add to that some buttermilk and you've got a nice lunch. I think that may have been my buttermilk post I did a few years ago. Although burritos and beer has a nice sound to it as well.

      Now I'm getting hungry. Why'd you have to go and bring up that buttermilk the other day. I may have to go get another quart. My local Ralph's doesn't have half gallons.

      Oh, and a vote for Campos.

      Lee

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  16. Oh, this is a classic. I had never heard this before, and I like both versions you've given us here, the early 60's crooning by Garry Mills and the delightful Latin sound of Carlos Campos y su Orquestra. Both are styles I really like.

    I have to go with Carlos Campos's version, not because I don't like Garry's, but because I like Carlos a little better. I might be one of the few people who watched "I Love Lucy" for the music, and it reminds me of the songs you'd hear on that.

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    1. Yes, John, the music of Campos is a bit reminiscent of the Desi Arnaz style.

      Another vote goes to Campos!

      Lee

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  17. Tough for me, not in a good way. The first version was too slow for me.

    The second had pep, but something about the arrangement made it sound like cheesy tourist music played in Tijuana to me. I kept expecting someone to try to sell me a blanket.

    But of the two, I guess I'll go with the cheesy horns. Campos gets my vote.

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    1. Campos for discConnected who had a disconnect with the music.

      Lee

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  18. I'm not familiar with this song, nor the movie it comes from. I did cheat and go to google to see what it is, but I'll keep my 'cheatin' lips sealed. I'm looking forward to your post on Monday.

    Anyway...the Mills version is that 50/60, what I call 'jitterbug music', it's not bad at all, but just doesn't really appeal to me for repeated listening. I'll bet it's totally appropriate in the movie though.

    Now, I DO like most Latin Music and the Campos isn't bad in a 'cheesy' sort of way (and I mean cheesy in a good way). So I'm gonna give him my vote, but I do want to clarify that this wouldn't be my favorite 'type' of Latin Music. Am I making sense? Maybe not. I've had a busy and very confusing sort of day.

    BOTB has gotten so big and the time investment is monumental. I've made a personal goal to visit and vote on three BOTBs a day which means it will take be about 5 days to get through them all. Wow, who woulda ever thunk!

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    1. FAE, not sure that "Jitterbug" would be an appropriate term as this is closer to music for slow dancing. But I think I know what you mean.

      Yes, it's a lot of Battles to go through. I'm not sure how long it took me to get through all of them but it wasn't too bad.

      I award your vote to Campos who is doing much better than I might have expected.

      Lee

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    2. So glad to hear SOMEONE say; 'they think they know what I mean'. Although, maybe YOU should worry about that.

      Delete
  19. I see how this song would fare well to mariachi music. How cool, I love listening to musical scores while cleaning house too. Pink Floyd when I was younger, but I'm a great fan of just music with no lyrics.

    I liked both of these very much, but since I don't recall every hearing the words, I'll vote for Gary Miller because I enjoyed his singing.

    Looking forward to your post on Monday. When I listened to the Miller version, I was envisioning Norman Bates sitting in his mother's rocking chair, lol.

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  20. Norman Bates of Psycho listening to "Look for a Star" is an interesting image to conjure but that's not the film.

    Another vote for Gary Miller--er, I mean--Garry Mills.

    Lee

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  21. I'll vote for Garry Mills, since he reminds me of retro cha-cha-cha music and early mainstream rock 'n' roll. The other version just didn't do much for me. I did stop by Chrys's interview with you to say Hi.

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    1. DG, I did see you over at Chrys's interview and thought I'd come back here to see your vote. You got Garry's name right!

      I'll record your vote for Garry Mills.

      Lee

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  22. I just went through the Mills/Miles thing last week on Time Machine, so I have heard both of those versions. I'd have given Mills a slight edge on that because of the very slight differences in voice and arrangement. I'll be by this weekend sometime to listen to the others and vote, but Laurie's watching Dateline right now and I don't want to chase her upstairs.

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    1. Chris, you come back here. I'll keep the light on for you.

      Lee

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    2. I'm going with Campos. This song needed a little life, and this did the job.

      Delete
    3. CW, Campos did inject the life into the number.

      Lee

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  23. Gary Mills gets my vote! I enjoyed reading your interview.

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    1. Thanks, Mike.

      Garrrrrrry gets another vote.

      Lee

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  24. My Spanish blood swept me one way but then the UK won with Gary Mills. Like that type of music and the period - vocals play a part.

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    1. Roland, I agree that the vocals help in this song and there's a nice message to them.

      Lee

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  25. I'm a little torn as to who I want to vote for. The latin version is fun to listen to, but Gary Mills voice makes the song smooth and easy.

    In the end, I'm going to have to go with Gary Mills. Great battle!

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    1. Mary, both versions have their charms.

      Lee

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    2. That, they do!

      I have some news! The boss man has given me the blessing of being able to sit at the cool kids table. My first battle will be June 1. So, if you want to add my name to your list of participants - I'd like that.

      Mary @ Jingle Jangle Jungle
      www.jinglejanglejungle.net

      Delete
    3. I've already added it to my post for that day! Looking forward to your participation.

      Lee

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  26. Oh I love the lyrics and it is sung like Ricky Nelson would sing it or any other type of boy from that era but I have to go with Carlos Campos. I was picturing myself in one of those great dance/dinner places that are no longer around. One sees this in old films or in "I love Lucy". I would love to dance to this version. Campos gets my vote

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    1. Birgit, I don't know there are still any clubs like we see in those old movies, but it would be fun to go to one.

      Thanks for your vote for Campos.

      Lee

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  27. I have to vote for Garry Mills' campy version! This movie sounds like so much fun, and I can't wait to hear more about it next week.

    Julie

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    1. Julie, I think we're starting to get Garry's name right.

      Another vote for him!

      Lee

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  28. It looks to me that Mills may run away and hide on this vote, but I am voting for Campos. I actually really liked it a lot, while Garrrrrry (how many R's was that" Mills struck me as just another song from that era. I'd not heard it before. Perhaps if I heard it in the context of the movie it would strike me better. But, that is unlikely to happen since I refuse to watch horror films. Period.

    You cannot fill a vessel already full, and I'd rather my mind was filled with Bob and Ray than Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But late 50's early 60's horror is probably not so wild, I'd guess.

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    1. Sheboyanboy6, actually the vote is pretty close right now which surprises me. The film in question is very mild by today's standards. Almost campy fun and they actually try to emphasize story over horror.

      Lee

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    2. You are right! I just went back and counted them, and I don't know why my "spidey sense" told me it was a runaway... because Mills is just a couple of clicks ahead at this point. Well... good battle, anyway. Since I am THAT unaware of reality, you should probably just disqualify me as a voter!

      Delete
    3. Six, you are probably one of the few people who is even paying attention to the vote count aside from me. Can't disqualify you sense you have some of the most pervasive musical knowledge.

      Lee

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  29. Difficult to judge a piece of music I'd never heard before. Having said that put me down for the Garry Mills version if only because the lyrics added interest. Even so I preferred the instrumentation on the Carlos Campos which had more life to it.

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    Replies
    1. Mark, I'm the other way in that it's probably easier for me to judge versions that are different from those to which I am accustomed to hearing or versions of a song that I've never heard. When it's new, then I go until the contest with no favorites or preconceptions and judge by the sounds that meet my ears.

      A vote for Garry---I too like hearing lyrics when they are clear as in a song like this.

      Lee

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  30. I remember both versions - rather, I'm remembering them as I'm listening! Both are lovely - hard decision, I'll go with the latino/mexican version ... it's got my feet a tapping ..

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    1. Susan, the Campos version has such a ring of familiarity for me too though I'm certain I'd never heard until recently.

      A toe tapping vote for Campos.

      Lee

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  31. The Carlos Campos from Mexico version was more fun even without lyrics. Those horns are all you need!
    :)
    Heather

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    1. Heather, thanks for the vote for Campos. Fun seems to be a popular adjective for his style.

      Lee

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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