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Darren J. Ray

Posts: 3,431
Reply with quote  #16 
Thanks a lot, stkilda4ever. 

Well, here's the Kamahl version, from early 1970. 

It was a good get for him. Although the showcased version this week is from 1974, I'd suggest he's heard an earlier Aznavour recording of it, possibly the live one below.  

Alas, the French pronunciation of 'listen to advice' seems to have been misheard by Kamahl as 'listen to lies'!

Here's Nina's Simone's rendition....

The range in the song is obviously a challenge. Not sure if either cover nails it. 

Darren J. Ray

Posts: 3,431
Reply with quote  #17 

I’ve gone with two of my very favourite singers this week…

Gold - It Was Almost Like a Song (Ronnie Milsap - 1996)
Majestic. If it was just the first two thirds, it would still be great, but when he does that octave jump into the stratosphere, his voice just sounds supernatural. And he could pull it off live. Sure, his piano intro is a bit Barry Manilow, but if I could sing like Ronnie Milsap, I would tell the rest of the world where to stick it. I got turned on to him in the mid-‘80s by a muso best friend (who, incidentally, is currently running for parliament with The Greens in next Saturday’s federal edition). And radio 4BH played him a lot. I’ve accumulated many of his recordings over the years. I would play them through the system after our gigs. My former vocal partner Kaitlyn also fell in love with Ronnie. I discovered this one around 2007 and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. 

Silver - You’ve Got to Learn (Charles Aznavour - 1974)
I adore Charles Aznavour. Last year when he died, I was very affected. I pulled out his Best of CD, programmed my favourite 10 or so and played them on heavy rotation for the next three weeks or so. I was in mourning. I took comfort when he died in reading all the eulogies in the world’s newspapers. Some critics had put together lists of their 10 essential or greatest Aznavour songs, so it was interesting to compare my personal thoughts with, say, a music critic from The Guardian or BBC News. I fell in love with ‘She’ when it came out in ’74 and recall reading about him and seeing him on TV. The man performed his songs. My dad loaned me The Best of Charles Aznavour on cassette in 1987. It was love. I must have worn out my father’s tape. It was nice to see Bob Dylan’s commendation in that interview in Rolling Stone. I thought, gee, great taste, Bob! I’ve also read Dylan referring to ‘You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love’s no longer being served’ in three other interviews he’s done. What a line! This song was not on Dad’s cassette. I discovered this one around 1998 when I bought more Aznavour albums. When my girlfriend at the time didn’t warm to him, I knew her days were numbered. When I meet a girl now, it’s the test. If they show interest in his music, I give them a chance. I never tire of hearing this. It had always been a dream of mine to see Monsieur Aznavour live in concert. It didn’t seem impossible with him continuing to tour up to his death. But, sadly, it was not to be.

Bronze - The Greatest Song I’ve Ever Heard (The New Seekers - 1973)
I’ve played this on repeat for hours on occasion. The senses are heightened when your heart is broken. I wrote to Dick Holler in 2013 to thank him for the song and received a nice letter from his son. 

Participant - I’ll Bet He’s Nice (The Beach Boys - 1977)
It’s a great example of the subtle differences and stark similarities in Dennis’s and Brian’s voices during this era. The Carl part, I really don’t like. It seems incongruous with the rest of the lyrics and simple cliched stuff about sunshine and flowers that’s already been used in other Carl sung songs such as ‘Our Sweet Love’. Sure, he could sound good singing the phone book. And sometimes the lyrics he was given to sing were less interesting than that phone book. The music and synth are its strong points. 
Verden McCutcheon

Posts: 461
Reply with quote  #18 
  Season 10 week 12....DJR

                        1)Ronnie Milsap...Very good vocals tune of the week

                        2)The New Seekers...probably would have been a hit had it been released around 1970 instead of 73...folk songs were on the way out by then.

                        3)The Beach fav track on the The Beach Boys Odd album

                        4)Charles Aznavour..No question he is good but like t would have said just not my cuppa tea.

                                                          interesting Darren !!!
Cantina Margarita

Posts: 161
Reply with quote  #19 
It Was Almost Like a Song (Ronnie Milsap)
... fine metaphoric lyrics, almost poetry. One more aspect I think he didn't mention: a song might end too fast, but it can be rewinded and repeated. Nobody ever managed to rewind a love affair.

You’ve Got to Learn (Charles Aznavour)
I don't like it too much in English, but the song's still great. Another reference to Udo Juergens here who charted with a very similar song. About childhood, growing up, life, death, mortality and spirituality, in a strangely playful way.

He used to name Aznavour as one of his idols. He hardly ever performed this one after his friend and lyricist Joachim Fuchsberger had died. Cynically, he picked it up again for his 2014 shows, before passing himself on Christmas 2014 - imagine that.

The Greatest Song I’ve Ever Heard (The New Seekers) - gives me nice memories of nice funfairs in the early seventies.
Here's their geatest hit in Germany.

I’ll Bet He’s Nice (The Beach Boys)
I don't really like to put it last. It's nice and surprising, just as the whole LY album is.

Thank you Darren, good songs this week.
Lisa G/TS

Posts: 152
Reply with quote  #20 
GOLD -- It Was Almost Like a Song, Ronnie Milsap -- Funny how it was a bit of a toss-up between this and Chuck Aznavour for whatever reason. Ronnie won out by the slick, smooth as silk production quality. 

SILVER -- I'll Bet He's Nice, BB's -- One of the nicer quirks on their quirky album. Isn't that the late Daryl Dragon on the keyboards? Sounds like his style to me. I like how some joke it sounds like Denny's singing "A Betty's Nice". 

BRONZE -- You've Got To Learn, Charles Aznavour -- There's something retro classy about this. I'd agree with John B. it brought "The Impossible Dream" to mind...also this vintage inspiring track (was debating between Josh Groban and the Big E, but since we've already mentioned the latter, I'll keep that going): 

Actually, the last 2 songs mentioned - if not all 3 - might be handy for Tom and the rest of the Blues fans in keeping their dream alive as they embark on the next round of playoffs action.  [wink]

TIN -- The Greatest Song I've Ever Heard, New Seekers -- I'd agree with Verden this might have gone over better released in the late 60s or up to maybe 1971. By '73, it likely sounded like several songs you'd already heard. (Yes bonnie, I'd prefer new sneakers to this, too). 

Thanks, Darren! [thumb]

"Stay-cation for the Nation", "Crush that Curve"
Tom Tobben

Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #21 
Coming late to the parade this week, but hopefully not too late. 

Gold -- "It Was Almost Like A Song", Ronnie Milsap. Despite my general inclination toward alternative rock and some mainstream Top 40 music in the 70s and 80s, I got connected to Ronnie Milsap's music early on, and I remember this song quite well. As Darren and others have said, this guy could really sing, and he became so popular that a number of his songs crossed over to the pop charts. His later massive crossover hit "Smokey Mountain Rain", really gained him more attention on the pop charts, but his earlier country hits like "Pure Love", "I'd Be A Legend in My Time", "Daydreams about Night Things", and a string of other #1 country hits established him as a major country artist before he ever crossed over to the pop charts in the late 70s. By my count, he had about 35 #1 hits on the Billboard country charts and a handful of Top 40 hits on the pop charts in the U.S., including this one, during those two decades

Silver -- "You've Got to Learn", Charles Aznavour. Though I only know a handful of his songs, it's quite obvious that he was a master of his music, and a few of his songs became major internationally recognized classics. This is certainly a lovely song, and so well interpreted by him. Calling him "The French Frank Sinatra" certainly seems well-deserved, though I wonder whether many Europeans might see Frank Sinatra as the American Charles Aznavour. A true legend.

Bronze -- "The Greatest Song I've Ever Heard", New Seekers. Though I don't recall hearing this song before this week's battle, I thought it was a lovely song and so nicely done by the crisp vocals of the New Seekers. Unfortunately, after several hits by the Seekers in the late 60s, the New Seekers never gained much traction in the US after that. 

Tin -- "I'll Bet He's Nice", Beach Boys. As with so much of the Love You album, this song and album feel like Brian and the group didn't take the time to refine this song, hone the lyrics, and remove too many off-key vocals before they recorded it. I wasn't particularly fond of the vocals by Dennis and Brian on this song, and the lazy grammatical error of "I remember you and I" to support a rhyme scheme still grates on me. I've always felt that the Beach Boys and their label were so glad that Brian was at least back to writing and performing new songs that they settled for what, to me, was still a working version of an album that still needed much refining. 

Lisa, I think our St. Louis Blues may have met their match in this round of the playoffs against the San Jose Sharks, even though the two teams had nearly identical records this past season. I'm afraid it's going to be an uphill battle for the Blues to win this round and advance to the Stanley Cup finals. Lots of excitement in St. Louis though, for what has been a strong finish to this season once they changed coaches around mid-season. Back in December or January, many Blues fans thought that even making the playoffs was out of reach after the team's horrible start to the season before finally catching fire in the second half of the season. 

Good mix of widely respected artists we've previously heard little from in the history of our battles, Darren.
paul g adsett

Avatar / Picture

Posts: 1,399
Reply with quote  #22 

hey, mr ray,
you've done it again!
will we ever hear ear to ear about the same songs?
i sort of hope not, really.
i'd be thinking that entropy has worn us all down to a denominator
so common that the world's about to end.
sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind.
but, i've done m'best, pal,
so, here goes...

gold: ' i think he's nice'
- 'with... you, pretty darling...'.
so much going on.
in such a ridiculously playful song.
not one that hits any intellectual or compositional heights.
but it works beauteously.
just listen to the lead vocal textures,
the backing vocal gymjamming.
oh, that middle eight.
the parping and chirruping synths?
well, i'm pretty partial to 'em.
and nice handclaps as we get to the fade.
oh, but it doesn't fade.
someone pulls the plug and it's over.
loop back to top and play again...

silver: 'the greatest song i've heard'
- oh no it isn't.
instantly seekersy.
with mamas'n'papasy stuff going on there.
how did the people behind the new seekers know how to press all the right buttons?
i'd like to teach the world to produce like that.
well, some of the knacks needed.
oh, here comes the clichay'd gear change around 2:34.
brace yerself...
i don't feel the need to listen to this again after this week.
it clings on here only because,
well, only because the next two just linger lower.

bronze: 'you've got to learn'
- a triumph of style and interpretation,
vocal dexterity and sheer presence
over an f'in' awful translation and arrangement,
much as 'comme d'habitude' suffered in translation into 'my way',
'le moribond' became 'seasons in the sun'...
complete travesties
(though the 'leave the table...' bit is topnotch)
maudlin, sentimental jetsam.
i adore some aznavour recordings.
i must say i prefer him singing in his native french,
but he butchers the english language with continental style
and i forgive him every time.
this is a great performance.
but this is poxy awful version.
gimme the french chanson (especially the older voice)
and it'd be silver with a bullet.
but, i bite the bullet and downgrade,
not the singer but te song as presented.
and that's what we're here to judge, what
(though that silver bullet might be put to better use
disposing of any lurking vampiric entity)...

tin: 'it was almost like a song'
- yes, an accurate descriptive title.
is his name really milksop?
churning out cheesy pap for an audience that likely as not
would stampede away from outlaw country.
but, i do like the piano.
i hate the upward gear change around 2:30ish,
designed to add something to proceedings,
but merely underlining its formulaic nonsense.
and as for the final holler,
well,you can almost hear him tossing the grappling hooks
in order to achieve that top note.
but, i do like the piano.

over and out, sir.
ta for the challenge.

Darren J. Ray

Posts: 3,431
Reply with quote  #23 
Thank you very much to the last group of voters - Verden, Cantina, Lisa, Tom and Paul. 

Verden, you could be right about the timing with 'The Greatest Song I've Ever Heard'. Maybe if Suzi Quatro or Gary Glitter or T-Rex or Tony Orlando & Dawn had recorded it, it might have gotten airplay! Cher did include it on her Half-Breed album. 

Cantina, thank you for your carefully considered votes and comments. Mate, your Udo Juergens clip will not play here. Any alternatives? 

Lisa, I was really happy to get your thoughts, too. 

Tom, as always, thanks for your expansive comments. I concur with you. 

Re: the 'France's Frank Sinatra' dub, it kind of irks me. It just seems like a throwaway title. Check out the YouTube comments beneath the clip I posted with my votes, addressing the claim. 

Here is a sample: 

As much as I loved Sinatra's voice and music, I find it absolutely ridiculous and pathetic that the anglo-Saxon countries call Charles Aznavour the French Sinatra!  He was just Charles Aznavour who wrote his own lyrics and composed his own music, something Sinatra never did. He carried out our language and culture around the world loud and clear for 70 years. Merci Charles pour vos magnifiques chansons. Adieu l'artiste.

Unlike Frank Sinatra, Charles Aznavour wrote all of his music! I do not see a point of comparison here! This is like comparing bananas to pomegranates!

Charles Aznavour WAS NOT the French Frank Sinatra!! He was the one and only Charles Aznavour. A singer like him happens only once in a lifetime. I had many C.A. favorites, but my all time is "Que c'est triste Venise". Venice and the world, are decidedly sadder places without him. R.I.P. Charles. :-( 

Paul, you didn't let me down. Although we hear our music through different ears, I always value and appreciate your insights. I can see and respect your perspective even when it's not necessarily mine. 

Re: the English interpretation of Aznavour's lyrics, it was always going to be nigh impossible to translate them into a workable, rhyming, coherent form. I listen to his original French recordings and love them, but I don't speak French. There are some Herbert Kretzmer's English translations that I'm sure work better in their original tongue, but who am I to criticise something that I could never have hoped to do any better myself? And if I had posted the original French versions, how would the board here critique them? I'd probably have more inane, dismissive comments like "He's very French".

OK, that's it. 

Voting is closed. 

I'll be posting results and a summary shortly. 

Please support stkilda4ever's upcoming week. 
Darren J. Ray

Posts: 3,431
Reply with quote  #24 
Here are the results for the week...

Gold - It Was Almost Like a Song (Ronnie Milsap - 1996) (40)
(7G, 1S, 3B, 3T)

Silver - I’ll Bet He’s Nice (The Beach Boys - 1977) (36)
(4G, 4S, 2B, 4T)

Bronze - You’ve Got to Learn (Charles Aznavour - 1974) (33)
(2G, 5S, 3B, 4T)

Tin - The Greatest Song I’ve Ever Heard (The New Seekers - 1973) (31)
(1G, 4S, 6B, 3T)

Aggregate: 140

Thanks again to the 14 voters. 

And thanks very much to stkilda4ever for being my scrutineer. 

These were the debut entries for Ronnie Milsap and The New Seekers. 

It was the second time around for 'I'll Bet He's Nice'. 

It won the Gold in Week 8 of Season III (Peter Simpson). 

That week, it scored 55 points and 34.37% from 16 voters. 

This week, it scored 36 and 25.71 from 14 voters. 

Seven tracks from The Beach Boys Love You have been used. 

Only two of them have made play-offs, as did a live version of another song from the album. Coincidentally, all three came 7th in Tin Play-Offs.  

This is the Battle record from this polarising album: 

Let Us Go On This Way (a Silver in Week 22 of Season I - David Wilson), 

Johnny Carson (a Silver in Week 33 of Season VI - Al Forsyth), 

Honkin' Down the Highway (a Tin in Week 17 of Season I - And Jones), 

Solar System (a Tin in Week 35 of Season I, 7th in Tin Play-Off - Paul Adsett; a Gold in Week 8 of Season X - Cantina Margarita), 

I'll Bet He's Nice (a Gold in Week 8 of Season III - Peter Simpson; a Silver in Week 12 of Season X - Darren J. Ray), 

I Wanna Pick You Up (a Gold in Week 32 of Season VI - Graciegirl), 

Airplane (a Tin in Week 8 of Season IV, 7th in Tin Play-Off - Roy Rogers)

A live version of 'Roller Skating Child' from 1979 won the Tin in Week 38 of Season VI (Deb#1) and finished 7th in the Tin Play-Off. 

'You've Got to Learn' is the second Charles Aznavour track to be used. 

'How Sad Venice Can Be' won the Silver in Week 12 of Season II (Darren J. Ray). 

That week, the Aznavour song was coming last with just one Gold after 11 voters, but came home with a wet sail, with six Golds from the last eight voters to finish two points from the winner.

Maybe he's an acquired taste. 

After 12 weeks, 'The Greatest Song I've Ever Heard' is the front-runner for this season's Tin Play-Off. 

This week is now closed. 

Please continue to support our hosts. 

John B

Posts: 2,174
Reply with quote  #25 
The contest is over, so I would just like to offer a modest dissent about the uh, whole #woke thing Larry started and doggone it, found support, about the ostensible horribleness of using colloquial speech in art: on the grounds that... because ....well...  you tell me.   honestly, don't see a grounds, unless it's just a general church lady/Bill Cosby hating on hip hop sort of thing.

first, on the grammar issue (which is not the main issue, but let's start there).  

imagine this conversation.  Person 1:  "didn't we have fun in Tahoe?  remember when you and I went to wine country, didn't you and I have a blast in Monterey?  Don't you remember "you and I"?" 
(other person) "yes, of course, I remember 'you and I'".

my summation:  completely appropriate and grammatically correct English.  I should also note paul lower case, as an Englishman, could have taken offense on behalf of the queen's tongue or the legacy of Shakespeare or who have you.  But did he?   Doesn't look like it.  What next, #woke Larry?   are you as an American going to take paul to task for not using more capital letters?   (p.s. I would hope not).


which brings me to the major point.  Bugs might appreciate this.  There was a time, even before #woke in which I would see movies in Berkeley and the audience, would make this noise 'sssssss' as if they had just seen Snidely Whiplash, at characters' dialogue in films, that they did not consider to be as woke as themselves.  This would even happen, say in 'Gone With the Wind' or 'Breakfast at Tiffanys' if a woman was not treated with respect and equality or someone owned a slave a long time ago.  but surprisingly, to me, they didn't make that noise when Mickey Rooney wore buck teeth for his lascivious Japanese landlord character.  Why not?   Because...well, #woke is brought to you disproportionately by the people who shop at Whole Foods, and some things offend them and some things don't.  that's all I got...

I live in Tall Tree.  Yesterday, at Stanford Shopping Center, at one of the very few fast food restaurants allowed in our town (we don't have Burger King, we don't have KFC, we don't have Popeyes, we don't even have El Polo Loco!!--I don't have time now to go through a thorough explanation, but in short: Chipotle over Taco Bell because it is  a Whole Foods shopper preference #woke, just remember, buy 3 small sodas not 1 large!), anyway, at this McDonalds they have a very large warning label on the door about 'this establishment uses evil chemicals and preservatives and additives which cause birth defects and so forth.   Now, I don't ever eat at MD's.  But when I read that, I felt like getting a Big Mac.  Again, when we walked around to the Elon Musk car company, there was no giant warning label about 'operating this machinery is very dangerous and may lead to debilitating injuries and death.'   or at the Bakery, where the IT people were ordering with one arm, the other one, had the cell phone of course, there was no 'this establishment sells items that may be dangerous to diabetics and may cause obesity.'    Macys and Bloomingdales' sell kitchenware.  But no statistics there about the deaths caused by improper use of kitchen knifes, and maybe an 800- number or #stop domestic violence.  Of course not.   Whole foods peoples' choices.  warning labels are put on football helmets maybe, but not on cupcakes. (also, I should add that there are VERY many dogs on leashes at this huge outside mall, and lots of little water dishes.  very animal rights town.  but on the public sanitation probably have never seen so many (dried/stained & not yet dried) puddles around almost every pole.  Someone from say Texas is going to notice this right away, and might just come to the opposite conclusions:  good: McDonalds French fries  bad: mass dog peeing on concrete at outside malls.

Is anyone embarrassed yet?    I mean, seriously, Big L, what next:

Dear, Mr. Dylan. 

It has come to my attention that one of your protagonists should be saying:

"I have decided that I am not going to be working on Maggie's Farm any more."

Dear Mr. Withers:  "ISN'T any Sunshine when she's gone"!!

Dear Mr. Scorcese & Mr. Coppola:  your characters speak in such poor English!!

Dear Southpark/In Living Color/Seinfeld/King of the Hill:

I would be far more comfortable if your characters behaved more like the people on '8 is enough.' 

Dear Estate of Mark Twain:  "SSSSSSSSSSSSSS"


Bill Maher worries correctly.   #woke influences presidential elections and not in the way they might think...


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