Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Alligator Man (#BOTB)


       Halloween is that time when we can be whoever we want to be and as stupid as we want to be.  Sounds like the story of my life...

Arlee Bird with brother Jeff--What is this?  The Great Pumpkin Competition?
 A Halloween Story     

      I don't seem to have many pictures of my youngest brother Jeff, but I never saw him that often after I left home.  The few pictures I have of me and him together are not very good from a technical standpoint, still that's what I've got now.  He died unexpectedly last November.  I still think of him a lot.

        Jeff was born on Halloween of 1962, a year before we moved from San Diego.  In those days Halloween was a big event for me--a day that consumed many days of thought both before and after the day had passed.  All my life I had liked Halloween as well as all things scary--not so much now, but I attribute many great memories to Halloween.

         As I entered my forties with a family for which to provide, I moved to Downey California in 1991 to manage a wholesale warehouse that distributed primarily Halloween costumes.  That old joy of childhood was now a year round job.  Every day for the next eighteen years the accoutrements of Halloween were all around me.

          Then in 2009 my branch closed.  We were in California so that was a factor (some of you might understand what I mean).  There was also a matter of changing times that brought new ways of marketing and delivery of product.  Our company was feeling the same impact that many companies have felt in recent decades.   Fixtures and remaining product were sent back to the home office in Charlotte North Carolina.  I stayed behind.

            The end of this story is the beginning of another.  To retell this story that some of you might have missed in past posts where I discussed it, as I tried to find another job in a time when jobs were tough to find, I began to write a blog.  My blog theme was Halloween.  My first many posts were related to Halloween and the Halloween business.

             In a pumpkin shell, that's the story of Tossing It Out--or at least this blog's beginnings. Over the past many years this blog has evolved through a number of themes and topics.  The main thing I've been doing on this site of late is Battle of the Bands.  That's what I'm doing in this current post and as noted in my previous post my theme will be Halloween related.  Well, kind of...



Battle of the Bands


Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   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.

Alligator Man

       This song originally written and performed by Cajun Country artist Jimmy C Newman (you can find his original version here) has been recorded a number of times by a range of artists.  The song is about a bayou dweller who catches alligators for a living as opposed to some guy who dresses up like an alligator or even looks like an alligator.

        So what's the Halloween connection?   This song first caught my attention when I heard it recently while watching the movie Dracula A.D. 1972.  When I saw that the film was going to be on TCM I felt compelled to watch it.  In my youth I had been a big fan of films from the Hammer Film Studios which made this film.  Also 1972 is a year that I've always considered to be a milestone of sorts in my life.  For one thing I turned 21 that year.  I don't actually remember many specifics of that year other than I was attending the University of Tennessee at the time.

        In any case, when I heard the Stoneground version of "Alligator Man" I had to look it up on YouTube and discovered that with the many versions available it would make a good song for Battle.  So here we are with an ersatz Halloween Battle using what I think is a pretty cool song.  See if you like it as well and which version you enjoy the most...



Fairport Convention   "Alligator Man"  (1971)

            Fairport Convention is a British folk rock band that has had a long reign that produced a number of impressive solo acts. A version of the band continues to perform, but looking at their website it looks like they won't be coming to the United States anytime soon.  Their version of "Alligator Man" stays somewhat close to the original with a touch of rock and roll...






Stoneground   "Alligator Man"  (1972)

          Watching Stoneground perform this song in Dracula A.D. 1972 they look pretty much like the consummate hippy band.  You can watch the movie clip here--they perform the entire song along with some visual shtick that's kind of fun.  Some of the members of the band went on to form the group Pablo Cruise.

          See what you think:  Do you enjoy this song more done as a rock and roll tune?









Time to Vote!

       
Don't be scared to vote.  What's your favorite between these two choices? Which song version do you like best? You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

         Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version 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.



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

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Angel's Bark  


Debbie Doglady's Den

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside



Winner of this Battle Announced Monday October 22nd

        We'll have a winner next Monday as long as some of you have voted.  I do appreciate your votes.   And maybe I'll have something else to say on that day.  I mean, I don't think I'm just gonna come here and announce winners and that's all.  But you never know.

           Have you seen Dracula A.D. 1972?  Are you a fan of Cajun style country music?    Was Halloween a big deal for you when you were a kid?







52 comments:

  1. What an interesting post about you and your brother Arlee. Sorry about his passing a great loss indeed.

    I choose Stoenground for my BOTB,I somehow preferred it.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yvonne, I miss Jeff, but he might be better off now.

      First vote goes to Stoneground.

      Lee

      Delete
  2. Lee,

    I know it's kinda hard for you about now thinking about your baby brother no longer with you but a part of him will always be with you and while you don't have the best of or very many pictures of the two of you together that's okay, you have them! My baby brother died in 2006. I don't have a single photo of us together as grown ups. I do have a few of us together when we were kids. I really cherish those, too. By the way, I love the orange pjs or lounging clothes you guys are wearing. Only a Tennessee fan will understand the orange obsession! :)

    Your song choice I never heard before today. I think I only know Jimmy Newman by name. I did take a quick listen to the original. That's definitely not a song or genre that you'll find me listening to often. lol Anyhow, I prefer both cover songs over the original by a mile. :) I listened to each cover a couple two or three times before finally reaching a decision. Although, the rock version suits my ear a bit more, I am really drown to the first version just a wee bit more and so I'm giving my vote to Fairport Convention. I really thought I was going to vote the other way but then just like that I changed my mind. You're welcome to blame that on the woman factor here. :)

    Now to answer your questions, Nope, I haven't seen Dracula A.D. 1972 but I will see if it's available for streaming on Netflix or AmazonPrime. I'm not a huge fan of Cajun style mewsic but I can take it small measures. Halloween wasn't a huge deal for me when I was a kid, other than I enjoyed dressing up and getting candy. That's about it. I don't recall being into the whole creepy, scary side of the season.

    Thanks for popping by earlier to vote in my BoTB! Have spooktacular day!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Cathy, I don't often wear orange except when I am in Tennessee.

      Dracula AD 1972 is probably not something that would suit everyone's taste, but I enjoyed it as an artifact of its era. Cajun music can be fun, but I agree that smaller doses are best.

      Evening out the voting with a second vote going to Fairport Convention.

      Lee

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  3. The business was based out of Charlotte - interesting!
    Fairport easily gets my vote today.

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    1. Alex, I spent a lot of time in Charlotte through the years, but I worked for that company for about 30 years.

      I'm surprised! A vote for Fairport Convention.

      Lee

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  4. The only word that comes to me to describe Fairport Convention's cover of this song is "cacaphony." After that, Stoneground's version was sheer bliss. I'm going with Stoneground here.

    Cajun-style country music? Yes, please!

    I hated Halowe'en as a kid. The candy part was great, the dressing up in a costume, not much at all. I still feel the same. I'll take the bag of Fun-Size Snickers, but I'll pass on tghe costume.

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    1. John, not sure about the "cacaphony" of FC, but that is one of my favorite words. I was always fond of the candy part of Halloween and spent 18 years selling those costumes.

      A vote for Stoneground.

      Lee

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  5. Hi Lee - good to see you with your brother ... love those 'suits' - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary, not a "suit" that I'd wear out in public, but fun at home with the family.

      Lee

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  6. My sympathies about the loss of your brother, Lee. That's a great photo of you two, dressed in your Halloween orange! ☺ This song was totally new to me and both covers were fun. I preferred the Fairport Convention mix of Zydeco and rock, though. It was a little more unique than the straight rock and roll rendition by Stoneground. Fun video! After listening to the original, I'd have to say that Cajun-country is an acquired taste. Halloween was fun back in the day, but now we totally ignore it. Very difficult with dogs in residence.

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    1. Debbie, I can see how the dogs would be riled by trick or treaters. I keep my house dark and doors blocked. Call me a scrooge, but candy is expensive these days.

      A vote for Fairport Convention.

      Lee

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  7. First, a Vote for Stoneground.

    Second, the picture of you and your brother, is fantastic. Love his Tennessee Volunteer Orange Fiesta Bowl Shirt.

    Third... Countless are the times I pass by your music competition blogs, and from one of both of your selections, I go on musical journeys. Today, upon hearing Fairport Convention, I took a notion to listen to Sandy Denny. I am currently stuck on set from Fotheringay. "Nothingmore" is playing... again. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Michael, that's me in the TN shirt. I was in Phoenix the year TN played in that Fiesta Bowl. Didn't see the game but went to the parade.

      I often go on those YouTube musical excursions. Lot's of great music to explore.

      A vote for Stoneground.

      Lee

      Delete
  8. Cajun, every time!

    Loss of a brother is like losing part of who you were and are. I am so sorry about his passing.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Susan, it's a loss that has impacted me. Almost the same as when I lost my parents.

      I'm not certain that you voted, but I'm going to extrapolate a vote for Fairport Convention based on your comment.

      Lee

      Delete
  9. I recently grazed the Stoneground/Pablo Cruise story on Time Machine. You can hear a little bit of PC in the start of their version. HOWever, it wasn't much of an attention-holder, so I'll vote FairCon.

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    1. CW, like that post I missed Stoneground when they were on the music scene of the early 70's. I would have enjoyed listening to their music back then. I can only recall one hit from Pablo Cruise, but now I couldn't say what it was or even hum it.

      A vote for Fairport Convention.

      Lee

      Delete
  10. LEE ~
    I dug Halloween when I was a kid. Dressing up in something abnormal and getting free candy - what was not to love?

    I also dug Halloween in my very early 20s, when we'd go to parties, drink and be merry.

    Here's a very old photo of me [Link> CLOWNING AROUND and getting ready to go to one of those kinds of parties.

    These days, Halloween is just another night to me. It has no meaning. And I don't even get a single trick or treater where I live, so Halloween could very easily pass by without me even noticing it had occurred.

    As for the Battle, what I didn't really care for in the first recording is probably what I'd guess you like best about it. Namely, the fiddle playing. No offense meant, but I'm just not really a fan of that high-pitched instrument. (It still beats the hell out of bagpipes, though, which I consider to be instruments of terror 'n' torture.)

    Give my bote to the pre-PABLO CRUISE boys, please.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents 'Battle Of The Bands'

    ReplyDelete
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    1. POSTSCRIPT:
      Sorry to hear of the loss of your Brother only a year ago, Lee. I've lost a lot of loved ones, but never lost a sibling. I'm sure it's a rotten feeling, though.

      ~ D-FensDogG

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    2. STMcC, Jeff's passing was probably a blessing for us all since he was always in some kind of institutional care. But it is a weird feeling to think that I wasn't around him much and now I'll never be around him again.

      Great clown photo. Who did your make-up? You look worthy to run away with the circus--well, the circus as it used to be.

      A vote for Stoneground.

      lee

      Delete
    3. Late in replying here, LEE, but... thanks! And as best I can remember, I think I told him what I wanted and my friend, dressed like Paul Stanley of KISS, whom you can barely see at the far left edge of that photo, applied the makeup for me.

      Funny, looking at that photo now, I realize the gal dressed like a Punk Rocker standing next to me with her arm on my shoulder, she was kind of attractive. I'm not even sure now, but I think her name may have been Lauren.

      I read a note she'd written on the back of that photo and now, all these decades later, it seems like she may have been hinting that she had a thing for me. I was always so oblivious to that. I didn't pick up on clues like that too well. And I'm sure I still don't (if in fact any clues like that are still being dropped on me).

      ~ D-FensDogG
      STMcC Presents 'Battle Of The Bands'

      Delete
    4. There were a number of girls in my past that I found out too late had an interest in me. My sister told me about some of her friends with an interest, but it was years after the fact. Why did she wait so long? There were a couple in whom I would have been very interested.

      Yeah, I've never been too good catching clues about such things, but maybe it's a built-in defense mechanism.

      Lee

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  11. Hi Lee,
    That is a great photo of you and your brother Jeff. My sympathies in the loss of him. This must be a tough time of year for you. The orange attire rocks! And you two wear it well!

    I liked Halloween as a kid but I don't care for it at all as an adult. I haven't liked it for a great many years (I know I've mentioned this incident before, either here at your place or on my blog, about a friend and I getting accosted by three guys in masks on Halloween night as we were trying to get in our car (to head to the next bar of course). Anyway, the whole mask thing freaks me out and has since then...for both of us).

    And being a glutton for punishment, I have the new scary Discovery ID series "Unmasked" scheduled to record every episode. Looks to be cases where the perpetrators wore masks. So why do I do this? Probably the same reason why I always watch the Michael Meyers "Halloween" movie marathon on Halloween night so I can get the crap scared out of me!
    Speaking of the "Halloween" movie: have you seen the trailer for the new one with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role from the original? I can't wait to see that!!!

    As for your battle: This song is completely new to me. I listened to the original and it was a cool cajun tune. I have a good friend who is originally from Knoxville; she had an advertising agency here in Austin like I did (media planning and buying agency) and we became best friends through working together in various capacities. She met a Cajun dude who was an employee at one of her clients' companies; they clicked and ended up getting married. He whisked her away to Louisiana where they now live. I went to Louisiana many times over the years and was introduced to that whole Cajun way of life, where zydeco music, dancing, drinking and eating is what life is all about there. EVERYTHING revolves around food and music. I knew she was infected with the Cajun bug when I went over to her house one day, a great little bungalow on Lake Travis in Austin, and I walked in, called for her and she said "I'm back here, in the bathroom. C'mon in." Okay, that sounded weird but alright, we're friends. Anyway, I walk in to see her sitting on the side of the tub which was filled with live crawfish. Yep, it was time for a crawfish boil and boy, what a party that was!
    The Cajun way of life is all about fun and having a good time. I like it...for a minute. I for sure could never see myself living there in Louisiana -- for one thing, the mosquitoes are horrific! -- but it sure is fun to visit.

    Having said all that, I'm giving my vote to your first contender, Fairport Convention. (I might even like their version better than Jimmy Newman's).

    This was a fun battle. I'm ready for a dance now...and a good rip-roarin' crawfish boil!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    Replies
    1. Michele, in my road days we always went to Louisiana in October--a good time to go. I used to love the Cajun food--still probably would though I'd say a lot wouldn't agree with me. Now I've got a hankering for some boudin as I think back on those days. I got a link of boudin this past summer and it was still as good as ever.

      A vote for Fairport Convention.

      Lee

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  12. Hi Lee

    I have a brother who's birthdate is also Halloween 1962. He, myself, and another older brother would hit up all the homes in the neighborhood on halloween night. After round one, we'd switch up our costumes and go for rounds two and three. those early 70's sure did produce some good times for us. Sorry to hear of the loss of your brother.

    Regarding your battle, I do believe that I'm casting my vote for Stoneground. They seemed like a lively bunch!

    ~Mary

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    Replies
    1. Mary, a birthday on Halloween seems like kind of a rip-off for a kid--kind of like a Christmas birthday. During my elementary school days we lived in San Diego in a vast tract housing neighborhood. We'd do a long round of trick or treating and never get through much more than a few blocks. We'd have candy that lasted until the day after Thanksgiving. On that day we'd eat up whatever was left and dump any stuff we didn't like.

      A vote for Stoneground.

      Lee

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  13. Fairport Convention gets my vote! How great to have this photo of you and your brother. It's the memories that count... Happy Halloween!

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    1. Lisa, I wish the photo wasn't so distorted, but then again it has a strange surrealistic sort of quality.

      A vote for Fairport Convention.

      Lee

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  14. I'm so not a fan of country, except bluegrass and the stuff from the 60s and 70s. Cajun's good though.

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    1. JoJo, I can take most music in limited doses along as it isn't too grating or offensive.

      Lee

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  15. From my cousin Tom on Facebook--

    A vote for Stoneground.

    Lee

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  16. Sorry to hear about losing your brother. It's interesting to hear about the origins of your blogging.

    Stoneground for me!

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    Replies
    1. Loni, where I am in blogging now is far different than where I set out to go.

      A vote for Stoneground.

      Lee

      Delete
  17. Stoneground gets my vote, I as just in Cajun land last weekend and met an Alligator man

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    1. Mike, hope you got some good food while you were there. I'm craving boudin since I posted this.

      A vote for Stoneground.

      Lee

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  18. I am so saddened to know your brother died-he was way too young. I do like the both of you in your pumpkin outfits:) I love Halloween and went out every year until I was 17. Now I spruce up my home and dress up for the kids who come knockin. I am more for rock and roll so I vote for Stoneground and can clearly hear that their style is from that time period. I have yet to see that Dracula film but I did see Blacula:)

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    1. Birgit, Jeff was too young and yet his life seemed so wasted in some ways. But maybe I have yet to discern the full meaning of what his life meant in the larger scheme of things.

      A vote for Stoneground.

      Lee

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  19. Lots of businesses sure felt the squeeze of the internet. #2 gets my vote, more upbeat.

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    1. Pat, and more businesses continue to feel a squeeze.

      A vote for Stoneground.

      Lee

      Delete
  20. 1st of all, you're telling me the 1st ban was British? That blows my mind. They sound like they were gonna roll out for Cajun.

    Which leads me to my 2nd thought: Holy cow, you're telling me those guys went on to form Pablo cruise?

    Until I started really Pan attention to the battle the band, I would have said I knew in a lot about music. Apparently not. Seems like mine groove must be pop.

    But for this battle, I'm going with the BRITS. Their version makes me grin.

    Thanks, Lee!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Why do I always see typos after I hit the post button?

      Delete
    2. Speech to text...you betray me...

      Delete
    3. Cherdo, I'm always learning new things from Battle of the Bands. I'm often surprised by artists that I would have liked if I had known about them back when I was younger.

      A vote for Fairport Convention.

      Lee

      Delete
  21. Both songs are loud. Choosing between loud and loud, I choose loud - Stoneground. Peanut shells on the floor, sawdust and a mop to clean up the spilled beer - another pitcher. Or two or three! Keep 'em comin'. Stoneground party hearty music gets the vote. Live or jukebox.

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    1. Dogg, they aren't so loud when I keep the volume low, but I know what you're saying. If you watched the Dracula clip then you see basically what you described. Party down.

      Stoneground.

      Lee

      Delete
  22. Sixgun McItchyfingerOctober 18, 2018 at 11:10 PM

    Hi Lee -

    I was almost never interested in Halloween. When I was a kid - just ONCE, at maybe age 7 or 8 - I dressed up in costume and went to ONE house for candy. I was reluctant beforehand and felt like it was totally stupid after the one house, so I went home and then - for almost all the rest of my life - just handed out candy to other kids that DIDN'T think halloween was stupid. However, in college I discovered that GIRLS liked such parties, and therefore SO DID I. That only lasted a couple of years though.

    Music: I like both the cover versions better'n the original. And I actually LIKE both cover versions. I like Stoneground just a little bit better, so a vote for the ol' metate' brothers... the ol' mortar and pestle boys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 6-Gun, Halloween should be and remain mainly a kids event like it used to be. Adults have corrupted Halloween into a big money time which I guess is a win for capitalism, but a corruption of childhood make-believe games. I think a lot of adults in recent generations hate the idea of giving up their childhoods.

      Again it's Stoneground.

      Lee

      Delete
  23. Oh this is beyond my sphere...have never heard of either and am not taking the time to listen. However, I am taking the time to say thank you for your visit and to say you sure seem to be having fun over here and that’s the whole point of blogging. Hope that the best band wins.

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    1. Vee, yes having fun to some extent. I hope others enjoy it as well.

      Lee

      Delete
  24. I was never blessed with siblings, but my heart goes out to you, Lee. I'm not familiar with either band … but for the sake of argument, let's go with Fairport. After all, it was the 60's British Invasion which first impacted my musical tastes. :)

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    1. Myra, I like having brothers and sisters and usually enjoyed them as I was growing up. I think when we lose someone our reaction is often something wishing we had spent more time with them to have gotten to know them better.

      A vote for Fairport Convention.

      Lee

      Delete

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