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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Thursday, November 1, 2018

All the Things You Are (#BOTB)


        There are so many things in life that we might dream of being.  On Halloween we can be some of those things for a fantasy fun time.  Sometimes the fun gets lost in the fantasy...


Sloppy the Clown Mask
from Morris Costumes
All the Things We've Been

       Another Halloween gone by and I hope yours was okay.  I've tended to mostly ignore Halloween since I stopped working in the business.  But the event of Halloween had a good run through my childhood.  I dressed up every year until high school and made my rounds candy gathering.  I was good at that sport, reaping a stash that would always last until the day after Thanksgiving.  On that Friday I'd either eat up whatever was left (and typically not much good was left by then) and then I'd dump the rest unceremoniously.

        Over the years we've seen so many costumes come and go as well as the traditional favorites that have likely been around for decades.  My mother usually bought us the packaged costumes.  One of my better costumes was the one I wore in 1962 when I was 11 years old.  My mother was in the hospital giving birth to my brother, Jeff, so my sister and I had to put together homemade costumes.  She used some old dance clothes and went as a ballerina.  I patched together some old clothes and hoop earrings and went as a pirate complete with facial hair drawn on with an eyebrow pencil.   Looking at a photo taken by a neighbor, I must say that my sister and I looked rather professionally costumed--far better than those prepackaged jobs we'd always gotten in previous years.

        It's not surprising to me that I eventually went into entertaining on stage and later managed a costume company.  I've played a lot of roles in my life, but we all do wouldn't you say?   Each day we can appear in different ways to different people.  Sometimes pretending just seems to be the way things are.  Some of us do our pretending with our writing.  With NANO now upon us there will likely be a lot of mental role playing as participants write (or attempt to write) their novels.

         What are your roles?   Who will you be tomorrow?   Or maybe we should just listen to a song about a more metaphoric, poetic way to look at this question...

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.

All the Things You Are

         This Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein tune was originally written for the mostly now forgotten 1939 musical Very Warm for May.  This is the most well known song from this "lost musical" having appeared in a few subsequent films and recorded by a myriad of artists over the years.  Unique in its melody and chord progression, the song has become a true jazz and pop standard.

        "All the Things You Are" is another of those haunting melody songs that I have heard and loved since I was a child.   My BOTB post of a year ago today was another similar type song, "Where or When" which was from the 1937 musical Babes in Arms.   Sadly, songwriters of recent times don't seem to write as many melodies such as these songs. 

          For this Battle I've chosen relatively recent versions by two very well known artists.  Who wins for you?  I have a feeling how this will turn out, but I'm almost always surprised by the outcomes of these Battles.   Take a listen to both and tell us who you like the best...
     

Michael Jackson  "All the Things You Are"  (1973)

         This recording comes against a visual backdrop of earlier live performances by MJ and his brothers before he became the "King of Pop" serving as a reminder of a more innocent but still immense talent that Michael Jackson was.  This version gets a lively injection of disco pop sound which might just get you to dancing in your seats...





Willie Nelson  "All the Things You Are"  (1994?)

        Slowing things down more in keeping with the original versions of the song, this video comes from a live performance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.   I'm not sure about the exact date, but I'm guessing he was promoting the album that featured this song and that one came out in 1994.  With lush orchestration and Willie's expressive vocals, this rendition of the song might instill a reverie filled with memories or it might bore you to death.  You'll have to decide and let us know...





Time to Vote!

       
With elections coming up this is a good opportunity to get in voting practice while having fun.  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 Wednesday November 7th

       Not only will the winner of the above Battle be announced next Wednesday, but I'll also be submitting my contribution to The Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Best of luck to all of you who will be participating in NANO.  I've chosen not to be a part of this once again, but that's become a tradition with me--not participating.  

        Are you doing NANO this year?   Did you dress up for Halloween?  Do you like to fantasize about living a life other than what you're living now?  What would that be?  















43 comments:

  1. What am I at the moment? well I'm grieving for my lost son. In the future I hope to write a poetry book in his memory.
    I li8ked the Willie Nelson version it appealed to me very much.
    Have a good month Lee.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yvonne, you have every right to grieve. I'm sure he'd be honored to know that you'd dedicated a book of poetry to him.

      First vote goes to Willie Nelson.

      Lee

      Delete
  2. Pretending to be someone or something else, at least for a while, is fun.

    I like the Willie Nelson version because his voice carries so much with it. Gotta go with Willie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Harry, I think acting would be fun because of that pretend aspect.

      Another vote goes to Willie Nelson.

      Lee

      Delete
  3. Loved your homemade costume story! Always better than store bought. My mother used to say that about her baking. We haven't participated in Halloween for years. Too chaotic, with dogs in the house! Went to a lot of parties in our younger days, though. In terms of self-description, I use the moniker "eternal hippie rockchick".It fits, yes? ☺ As for your battle, this is no contest for me. (Not an MJ fan at all.) Willie all the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debbie, the homemade costumes tend to be the most creative--or the worst depending on the situation. If I had my grandkids around then I'd probably be more into the Halloween scene.

      Again it's Willie Nelson.

      Lee

      Delete
  4. I quit trying Nano a few years ago, when I realized that I'm not cut out to be a fiction writer. Hell, I don't even like READING fiction that much.

    I've never really liked Hallowe'en, and stopped dressing up for the occasion after 8th grade. It's huge business especially in the South. Today is our 31st anniversary of living here, and Mary reminded me that we stopped at the Waffle House in Dalton, Georgia for a restroom and coffee break. We walked at about 1 AM, and the place was packed, everyone but Mary and I in costume.

    I fantasize about what life would have been like had I done something different after high school, and I usually find myself quitting when I realize that I probably wouldn't have met Mary. That's when I'm happy that I didn't.

    OK, now as to BotB: "All The Things You Are" is a great standard, used frequently to teach beginning improvisers how to play over II-V changes. The definitive version of the song was on Ella Fitzgerald's "The Jerome Kern Songbook." She did a series of the "Songbook" albums, including Cole Porter and Duke Ellington, but the Jerome Kern one is my favorite, largely because of "All The Things You Are."

    I had to turn off the Jacksons' recording when a prepubescent Michael started shrieking the lyrics. Willie's version was much better, though not Ella Fitzgerald. Give my vote to Willie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John, most of my reading in recent years has been nonfiction. What the heck were you doing in Dalton? I've been there, but it's been a while. I thought about going there back in the seventies to work in the carpet factories, but then I thought better of that idea.

      Ella and many others have done outstanding versions of this song, but we've got the choices I've put forth.

      For you it's Willie Nelson--again.

      Lee

      Delete
  5. Sixgun McItchyfingerNovember 1, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    You've been hosting these battles - and I have been voting - so long that my vote and comment here will be NO surprise to you, I'm sure.

    I could only make it as far as the 47 second mark in the Willie Horton, er.. Willie Nelson video before diving for the pause button. And most of that didn't even include his "singing;" it was a close-up of eyebrow twitching by the French horn player. Willie cannot even TALK a song and hit the right note.

    MJ gets the nod.

    This is a great song, but with these two very different versions neither illustrates the song as it should be; but it sure makes for a stark voting contrast. Maybe like the upcoming election. Like this song, I sure as heck know who I'm voting for, no doubt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 6-Gun, a bit harsh on Willie, but I was counting on someone to have your opinion. Saved from a shut-out!

      A vote for Michael Jackson.

      Lee

      Delete
    2. Well, I'm afraid that I'm always harsh about Willie. I've complained harshly about six or eight times by now on the comment pages of BOTBs about the many aspects of his voice that bother me, so I won't do it again now... but I was sure you'd already know what to expect from me. And his politics stink too. Willie just held a concert for "Beto" O'Rourke, not just leaning left but staggering and lurching over there.

      But I've always said that at least the dude does his civic duty and pays his taxes. Wait...? WHAT? You say he doesn't do that either? Sheesh.

      Delete
    3. Six, I'm not thrilled about his politics either. I just wish artists would focus on their arts. It seems like everyone has their soapbox, but if they're doing music then that's what I want to hear.

      I've been enjoying and listening to Willie since the sixties before he got big and famous. He's like an eccentric uncle. And the dude's 85 years and still going strong. Gotta admire his persistence.

      Lee

      Delete
  6. Hi Lee - love Sloppy the Clown - he'd frighten any law-abiding kid or perhaps even adult. I think after Sixgun's comment above ... I leave voting off the agenda right now ... we had ours ... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilary, with all the horror related to clowns these days it's no wonder that a lot of people are scared of them.

      Lee

      Delete
  7. Two strong artists that are basically worlds apart musically.

    I'm voting for Willie Nelson as I found his vocals to be a bit more pleasing to my ears.

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, worlds apart is the truth in this Battle.

      Another for Willie Nelson.

      Lee

      Delete
  8. Howdy, Lee! Happy belated Halloween.

    The Jackson Five were no slackers and I'm a fan of many of their tunes, but to my OWN surprise, I'm gonna go with ole' Willie Nelson this go-round. Perhaps it's the song, but I really like his delivery much better.

    Now, if he'd only dance like Jackie Jackson, it would be a total score.

    Thanks, Lee!
    Cherdo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cherdo, the Jackson family left a great musical legacy in their wake.

      Don't think we'll ever find Willie dancing like the Jacksons no matter how high he got. But he can sing--at least according to some people.

      A vote for Willie Nelson.

      Lee

      Delete
  9. Always Willie Nelson. He is sincere and puts that touch that is all his own.

    The Jackson version is shabby, classless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, maybe a bit harsh on Jackson, but it always comes down to preferences. Without those I guess we wouldn't have any Battle of the Bands.

      A vote for Willie Nelson.

      Lee

      Delete
  10. This post prompted the little record player in my head to begin "This Masquerade." (Glad it's something I like!) Your opening paragraph might well have been written about my own childhood.

    Perhaps this is against the rules, but I don't even need to play either clip. Forever and always, Willie Nelson rules!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Myra, thinking on what you said I can hear a melodic similarity. Maybe a medley of those songs would be cool for someone to do.

      I'll accept that as a vote for Willie Nelson.

      Lee

      Delete
  11. Hi Lee,
    First I'll answer one of your questions: Heck yeah I like fantasizing about living a life other than the one I'm living now! I'm kinda done with this one. I'm ready for my next life already!

    As for your battle: it's actually a tough one as I like both artists. I really like Willie Nelson and have certainly become more fond of him after having lived in Austin Texas for over 25 years now.
    I also love watching Michael Jackson and his brothers dance! And you're so right: he was immensely talented.

    In the end, I'm going with Michael Jackson. Even though I love Willie, I would much rather listen to and watch MJ on this particular song.

    Another fun battle today.
    Have a good week,

    Michele at Angels Bark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michele, I guess we're rolling stones in a way.

      Thank you for your vote-- Michael Jackson.

      Lee

      Delete
  12. Willie did a fine job, but the kids did get more of my attention. J5 for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CW, voting is taking a turn!

      Another for Michael Jackson

      Lee

      Delete
  13. still saddened to have lost Phil last year... he will be missed... hope your Halloween was good... Was no Pumpkins in area to be bought... so no Jack-o-Lantern this year.... Hello from Marshville, good Sir

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stacy, I haven't talked to anyone at Morris for a while. Phil was a loss indeed.

      Halloween has little significance to me anymore.

      Good to hear from you.

      Lee

      Delete
  14. Hey ya, LEE! Happy 'Day After Halloween' (aka 'All Saints Day') to you!

    I actually do like Willie Nelson. He brings this quality that I think of as "intimate" or "personal" to a song. He sounds like he actually feels and really means the words, and he also has some indefinable way of sounding like he's singing the song solely for me (or in your case, you). His 'Stardust' album is one of the most frequently played CDs in my collection.

    Unfortunately, I wasn't too terribly impressed with the way Willie performed this song. He sounded a bit "off" and it just didn't appeal to me the way Willie doing a Standard usually does.

    However, I liked the Michael & The Jackson 5 even less. The dancing was great, but the vocals -- too high-pitched and insincere sounding. Did Michael even know the meaning of the words he was singing? It was just so flippantly tossed off. ("You are everything to me and pass the pizza please.")

    So, my vote goes to Willie. Willie not at his best is still better than that MJ & TJ5 version, IMO.

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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. STMcC, I knew you liked Willie and so do I. I agree with your thoughts about him though I thought he did an exceptional job on this song that I used.

      A vote for Willie Nelson.

      Lee

      Delete
  15. Lee,

    I'm giving my vote to Michael Jackson. His performance is more up my lane especially from those early years of his career which seemed magical. Willie's cover I liked better than I thought but his vocals just didn't seem spot on and I agree with Stephen he feels the lyrics as he sings them unlike MJ. However, his rendition wasn't enough to sway me. Great battle!

    No, on the NANO challenge and dressing up this Halloween. I'm not sure if I ever fantazied about living a different life, so I can't answer that one.

    Have a good weekend, my friend and thanks for visiting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathy, I'm getting a better feel about this match-up.

      A vote for Michael Jackson

      Lee

      Delete
  16. Never thought I'd say this, but have to admit that though I love Willie's version, I really LOVE Michael's better! It's a great song either way, but MJ gets my vote this time, mainly because I appreciate the upbeat version a lot.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Lisa, I can't recall ever having heard another upbeat version like Jackson's though I'd imagine there are more out there.

      A vote for Michael Jackson.

      Lee

      Delete
  17. I love this song and love it best in the classic style so my vote goes to Willie who gave it the substance it deserves. I can't stand Michael Jackson and this is so wrong in this disco hip style. The feelings of this song got lost in the loudness of the Jackson 5.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Birgit,

      I still think MJ was mighty talented and his dance moves were nicely showcased in this visual montage. But we all like different things.

      A vote for Willie Nelson.

      Lee

      Delete
  18. I like everything Willie Nelson does. 10 out of 10.

    Michael Jackson basically took over MTV with "Billie Jean" and in his career had many 10's and 11's and some 7's and 8's and 9's.

    Yet, Willie Nelson, consistently, 10. "He could sing the phone book..." But this song is a true, earned 10. He brings it. He brings it every time but this time he brings it - great song, knocks it out of the park subtly.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. G Dogg, I'm not gonna argue with your assessment. When I first heard Willie ("Hello Walls" and "Touch Me" on a 45 that I got on sale) I didn't much care for him, but I didn't like country music much back then. It wasn't long before I started appreciating his music and when his Shot Gun Willie album came out in 1973 I became totally sold on him and have enjoyed his music ever since.

      But MJ was almost always good. Especially when he started dancing.

      A vote for Willie Nelson.

      Lee

      Delete
  19. Hi Lee,
    As I wear many different hats in my work-a-day world, I'm happiest when just being me is enough. My favorite part of Halloween is passing out the candy, though we don't get many takers. Any. We don't get any takers. I should really quit buying candy ;-)

    What a contrast in styles for such a timeless song! The Jacksons did a fine job but the lyrics imply a maturity not relayed in MJ's young voice. They sure could shake a leg, couldn't they?
    Truth be told, I rarely like anything Willie does, but his version was practically enchanting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diedre, I prefer just being me, but sometimes I pretend so not to offend. Candy is somewhat expensive these days, but I never fail to have some in the house at any given time.

      A vote for enchantment--Willie Nelson.

      Lee

      Delete
  20. Two Facebook votes from my sister Joni and my cousin Tom-
    -both votes the same:

    Willie Nelsone &
    Willie Nelson.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  21. Replies
    1. Mike, join the crowd.

      A vote for Willie Nelson.

      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