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Tom Tobben

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Something got a hold on me recently and inspired me to come up with a bunch of songs about holding on to some person/s or thing/s that are dear to us. That became my premise for this week’s battle, with a bunch of possible songs to choose from. Thus, after winnowing down from numerous possibilities, I came up with these four songs for this week’s battle. All songs are by well-recognized artists, and I think a couple of these artists may be making their official BOTBs debut as competitors. Here they are:

“Holding on to Yesterday” by Ambrosia was this band’s first big hit in 1975. This LA-based band went on to have a handful of hit singles (“How Much I Feel”, “You’re the Only Woman”, “Biggest Part of Me”, “Nice, Nice, Very Nice”, etc.) and albums over the following years.


“Hold On” by Triumph.
Triumph has been a highly successful Canadian rock band, dating back to the mid-1970s, having a bunch of hit singles, albums, and numerous gold and platinum record awards in both Canada and the US. Triumph has also had a popular following in some other countries, most notably the UK and Sweden. This week’s battle entry was their first major hit in Canada and the US, reaching the Top 40 in both countries. In St. Louis, it’s considered an FM rock classic:


“Hold On, Dear Brother” by the Beach Boys.
Perhaps one of the lesser-known songs from the Carl & The Passions album, this delightful song features Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar, who were also the songwriters. Not part of Mike’s “formula” music, this delightful song certainly has a different flavored feel than most Beach Boys songs, featuring a lovely steel guitar accompaniment. Coming in 1972 during the Vietnam War, this video accompanying the song suggests there may also be a subtle “band of brothers” theme embedded the song’s lyrics:


“Something’s Got A Hold on Me” by Etta James.
Finally, I must add in this powerful R&B classic by the legendary Etta James. This 1962 classic was co-written by Etta James and a couple other songwriters. And notably, it was produced by Leonard and Phil Chess, the legendary founders of Chicago’s Chess Records. Aretha Franklin may have been called the “Queen of Soul”, but to me Etta James was the powerful “heart and voice” who most successfully bridged R&B, soul, and pop/rock, as exemplified in this and other of her best songs:

In case the YouTube clip above doesn't work for some of you, here's another clip of the same recording:



There’s a bunch more songs and artists who easily fit into this week’s theme, so please add some of your favorites along with your votes and comments this week. I’ll add more as the week goes on, along with my own comments and responses to your posts.

So, Hold On to your hats and let the battles begin! 

For cut and paste purposes:

"Holding On to Yesterday", Ambrosia
"Hold On", Triumph
"Hold On, Dear Brother", Beach Boys
"Something's Got A Hold on Me", Etta James

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John E

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Reply with quote  #2 
Nice one, Tom!  Here's my order:

1. Etta James

2. Beach Boys

3. Ambrosia

4. Triumph

and here are two more "Holding On"s!



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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #3 
Tom,  I can vote early.  Interesting holding on week.  

GOLD - by a country mile to Etta James.  I had the good fortune to hear her live once - amazing.  Love how it begins and kicks in the groove.

Silver - one of those under rated bands from the 70's with a progressive feel to them and they had hits - Ambrosia.  I always did like this one and Nice, Nice. Never owned any of their music though.  To me, Yes had an effect on some groups in the 70's - this one included.  More Yes in a moment.

Bronze - and what a sound to The Beach Boys.  One of those albums where the sound was so different and evolving.  Blondie and Ricky brought something new to the band.  And "the formula" was on hold. 


So Triumph holds down the Tin, BUT, sounding a lot like Jon Anderson, that Yes connection?

And here they are - Yes!

AND - the Shakes have been quiet lately, haven't they?  LOVE this:

Guess I need to listen to Killer Diller Blues.


Meantime, "hold on" to your ego this week, Tom!

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Larry Franz

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Reply with quote  #4 
No sense holding off (ha ha).

Gold -- Ambrosia -- With that kind of cool jazzy instrumentation, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the only song in their catalog I'd like, but I like it, simply because of that repeated "I keep hol-ol-din' o-n, to yesterday" phrase.

Silver -- Etta James -- As I think I said a while back, the gospel sound doesn't do anything for me, but otherwise it's not bad.

Bronze -- The Beach Boys -- Never been crazy about the contributions from the ex-Flame members. This has that repeated "hold on dear brother" phrase going for it, which is just ok.

Tin -- Triumph -- St. Louis blues?


Might as well get these two classics out of the way, my all-time silver and gold "hold" songs until I hear something better this week:

#2 -- Sam and Dave -- "Hold On, I'm Comin'" (Al -- I think we missed these guys last week)
youtube.com/watch?v=AREppyQf5uw

#1 -- The Miracles -- "You've Really Got A Hold On Me"


Thank you, Tom.

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John E

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Reply with quote  #5 
I've just stumbled on this one, too:



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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #6 
To John E - is that a vote for last week?  [cool]  Now I'll check in with Tom if that was an intention for the week? A lot of people found strength in that song.
https://www.chickensoup.com/book-story/30746/hold-on

Genesis:

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Larry Franz

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Reply with quote  #7 

Hold on there! The rules matter except when somebody says they don't? (See how I used "hold" there?) Whatever, it's too damn hot outside.

The Beatles -- "Hold Me Tight" (not as well-loved or remembered as two of their other songs about holding)
youtube.com/watch?v=H42Ou13za30

Fleetwood Mac -- "Hold Me" (but not tightly)
youtube.com/watch?v=E0sha1XfHxw


Two from The Explorers Club (Freedom Wind, 2008), that group that sounds like Brian's old band and needs advice about clothing.

"Hold Me Tight" (not the Beatles song)
youtube.com/watch?v=tBJDnY1nTjg

"Do You Love Me?" ("Hold on baby, don't let me go")
youtube.com/watch?v=0uPGYe3tRmQ


Death Cab For Cutie -- "Hold No Guns"


It's funny how there are so many more songs about holding than hugging.

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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #8 
Well hugging may be the new holding?  Nah.  They BOTH work!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=uKturN4Beyg
A nice hug and kiss here - magic - so some holding:


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Larry Franz

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hugs are just too darn nice. Holding, on the other hand, that's hot (like 79 at 1 am last night).

Electric Light Orchestra -- "Hold On Tight"
youtube.com/watch?v=Gt_Se7BtSQg

Family of the Year -- "Hold Me Down"
youtube.com/watch?v=QH5OYo9Fy6k

My Morning Jacket -- "Holdin On To Black Metal"
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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #10 


Larry, we did miss Sam and Dave but I was kind of keeping it almost "all in the family". 

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D.A.N

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Reply with quote  #11 
GOLD Ambrosia.  How have I not heard about them?  

SILVER BBs.  Only song I knew about.

BRONZE Etta James  

TIN Triumph.  Not so much.  

During the banter on one of his albums/DVDs (Live at Roxy?), at one point Brian tells the audience to "Hold on".

I can think of a song (no, two) I hope no one posts, so I won't either.

This is much better though


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Larry Franz

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Forsyth

Larry, we did miss Sam and Dave but I was kind of keeping it almost "all in the family". 

Yeah, I was being more democratic.

Junior Wells' Chicago Blues Band -- "Snatch It Back And Hold It" (1965)
youtube.com/watch?v=3-cvLpqaWsg

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Tom Tobben

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Reply with quote  #13 
Wow! I'm loving all these songs and artists you all have grabbed hold of to share with the rest of us. I considered a few of these when contemplating this week's battle, but you all are finding so many more well-known and lesser-known songs and artists. Good stuff!

First, thanks to John E., Al, Larry and D.A.N. for your considered votes, and also thanks to all of you for your comments and the additional songs we can all hold on to this week and beyond!

John E., good finds with the lesser known Procol Harum and The Action songs, as well as Wilson Phillips' big hit, "Hold On". I had not heard of the Action before, so I looked them up and read that they were a minor mid/late 60s group in the UK that eventually broke up. Interestingly, I learned that band member Alan "Bam" King went on to found the group Ace, who had the big hit "How Long" in the mid-70s.


Al, thanks for your early votes and for all the good songs we can hold on to. Who can forget Toto's first big hit, "Hold The Line". So glad you included one of my favorites, "Hold On", by Alabama Shakes. It was one of my finalists for consideration, but at the last minute I went with other finalists because Alabama Shakes has received a fair amount of exposure here in the past few years. That Brittany Howard has one powerful voice, perhaps even a bit evocative of some of Etta James' more powerful up-tempo vocals. Your Yes and Genesis songs were familiar old nuggets to reflect back on. That latter day 90125 album by Yes was an excellent album overall! Glad to see you also liked Ambrosia's minor hit "Nice, Nice, Very Nice", whose lyrics were directly taken from Kurt Vonnegut's early, excellent novel, Cat's Cradle.
https://lyrics.fandom.com/wiki/Ambrosia:Nice,_Nice,_Very_Nice

Nice reference to Alabama Shakes' contemporary cover of Memphis Minnie's old blues nugget "Killer Diller Blues" from way back:

And here's Alabama Shakes' recent cover for a PBS special:


Thanks also for posting the old 60s classic by Mel Carter, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me", which I also considered as a possible song for this week's battle, along with its more modern counterpart song by U2 from the Batman Forever movie soundtrack:


And thank you, Al, for sharing that delightful recent concert clip with Ringo joining Paul McCartney for a couple songs at McCartney's LA concert last weekend. I think the last time they played together was back around 2014 or so.

By the way, does anyone else here listen to the Beatles Channel (#18) on Sirius/XM radio? It covers their entire careers, both group and solo music, recorded versions, demos, and live versions, and includes lots of interviews and commentary. It's a real treat for us Beatles fans.

Larry, it's always a delight to see what broad range of music and artists you come up with to add to each weekly battle's theme. A couple great soul classics from Sam & Dave and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, both of which I also considered for this week's battle but chose to follow the path less taken with other less famous songs and artists. Also, good call with the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and ELO nuggets. And nice to see Death Cab for Cutie and Family of the Year make an appearance this week. Always good to see more contemporary artists and songs mixed in with all the old 60s/70s/80s artists/songs that regularly appear here. Same for My Morning Jacket, a fine group!

And thanks for resurrecting a couple fine songs from Explorer's Club's first album, Freedom Wind, which is also a lovely tribute to the sound of the Beach Boys. The album cover is even evocative of the Beach Boys' Friends album cover. That's still my favorite album by the group.  

Junior Wells and his Chicago Blues Band
-- way to reach back and serve us up with yet another lesser known blues nugget to hold on to. Some nice mouth harp too!

D.A.N., thanks for your votes and also for that wonderful early song from Tracy Chapman's self-titled debut album. I love her music, especially that album! 

Here's a couple other songs to hold onto that I also considered for this weeks battle:

England's Ian Gomm had a (one-hit wonder in the US) hit with this song in the late 1970s:


And David Crosby released this lovely song earlier this past decade on his solo album Croz from 2014:


Keep the songs, votes, and comments coming everyone! I'll be back later in the week to check in again. 

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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #14 
Tom, we'll be holding on and out for the result. Lots of holding going on.
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John E

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Reply with quote  #15 
I  don't know if this counts! 😉 
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