Wednesday, July 1, 2015

"God Give Me Strength" BOTB


It's the first of the month and that means it's time for

Okay, band connoisseurs, it's time to look at an original and two covers. Today's choice comes from one of my all time favorite artists, Elvis Costello. Though Declan McManus (his real name) never needed any help writing songs, he does collaborate with a long list of noteworthy performers. 

Elvis Costello wrote "God Give Me Strength" with none other than Burt Bacharach. Not too shabby. The song appeared on Costello's album, My Flame Burns Blue, released in 1996. It was featured in the movie Grace of My Heart where a lip-syncing Illeana Douglas sang (lipped?) it. 

Hey, it got a Grammy nomination, so why I am poking fun at Illeana Douglas? I don't have a Grammy (not any more - my dear grammys have passed away, God rest their souls). 

Most people who recognize "God Give Me Strength" connect it to the movie, but many artists have tried to make it their own.

Burt and Elvis, show us how it's done...

The original:



Contender # 1: KIRSTEN VIGARD

The first contender is Kirsten Vigard; it's only fair. She was the real voice behind the lip-syncing Illeana in Grace of My Heart.

On a side note, I've often wondered if Illeana Douglas was part cat by the motion her feet make as she sings. My cat, Mittens, used to do that when she found a sweet spot to lay down. I keep waiting for Illeana to purr and lay down. Meow.



Contender #2: BETTE MIDLER

It's always good to have an oldie but goodie chime in to the battle - how about Bette Midler? Let's hear what you can do with it, Bette...


Who will get your vote - 
Contender #1 or Contender #2, and why?

BOTB occurs on the 1st and 15th - then check back for results on the 7th and 21st of the month. Let the games begin (of course, I alphabetized it). If I missed a new participant, I'll add you as we go along.

49 comments:

  1. DOC CHERDO ~
    We have a no BOTBer: Holli at 'HOLLI'S HOOTS AND HOLLERS'.

    That's a good song and you can really hear the Burt Bacharach influence in it. (By the way, I consider that a GOOD THING! That guy had a real knack for writing MOR commercial hits that appealed to me.)

    This one surprised me because although I didn't know the song, and had never heard of Kirsten Vigard, I figured I'd be voting for her because I've never been much of a Bette Midler fan (although I know a lot of folks dig her big time).

    But in listening to both covers twice, I found that, although I enjoyed them both, I liked the BETTE MIDLER version a good deal more. She sang it straight, without a lot of the vocal tricks she often uses which bother me, and her voice sounded particularly good on this.

    I wonder how this one will turn out, because it's a pretty good competition.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. The thing I like about this battle is 1) Elvis & Burt is a surprising original, yet...2) The most popular version was a movie where Vigard was not seen and 3) though Bette sings it, it's a much more subdued Bette - so it's unique for her, too.

      VOTE FOR BETTE!!

      Thanks, O Captain, My Captain

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  2. OK, unlike like you I listen to music but do not know all the correct terms here goes.
    As much as I like Burt Bacharach, I think his songs are hard to sing. His staging (?) the drop of note here and there you have to have some singing chops on you like Dionne Warwick or Bette Midler.
    As much as I like Elvis Costello, I vote for Bette Midler.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. All the choices are good ones in my battles!

      Another VOTE FOR BETTE!! Thanks, parsnip.

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  3. I agree with Parsnip that you really need "singing chops" for this song. Fortunately, Bette Midler has them, and she puts her heart into every performance. Bette gets my vote. Bravo!

    Julie

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    1. It's an easy song to put your "all" into.

      Another VOTE FOR BETTE!! Thanks, Julie!

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  4. Cherdo - I don't recall the song, and never saw the movie. I liked Elvis' collaboration with Burt. Thanks for sharing that. It really is a tough song to sing but Elvis gets through it. It's the same to me as Kirsten Vigard gets through it. It's the simple, pained voice, really wanting that gift of strength. Don't get me wrong - I'm usually a big Bette fan but I think Kirsten is in more pain. Her voice is clear, and maybe the single use of the piano is advantageous over Bette's band sound.

    My vote is for contender # 1 - Kirsten Vigard. Tough battle.

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    1. Yeah, Elvis and Bette have those Bacharach horns in the arrangement. It's Burt's own "wall of sound."

      A VOTE FOR KIRSTEN!!

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  5. Bette, indubitably. The second video was, well, disturbing... I kept waiting for a puddle to appear at her feet.

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    1. I know, right? What is that sashaying about?

      Another VOTE FOR BETTE!! Thanks, Jacqueline!

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  6. Kirsten Vigard. I thought she did the better performance.

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    1. I liked her voice and thought she was on par with all the others.

      A VOTE FOR KIRSTEN!! Thanks, most melodic of pop tarts.

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  7. Good morning, dear Cherdo!

    I remember watching that Brill Building movie Grace Of My Heart. Truth be told I originally wanted to see the film because I am a Bridget Fonda completist, but I discovered a lot of great music and memories and enjoyed Illeana Douglas' performance, even her affect display, the kitty cat steps while singing. Illeana Douglas appeared in several of my favorite movies of the 90s including Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Quiz Show and To Die For.

    Regarding the song itself and the two performances of it in this band battle, I have never been much of a Bette Midler fan. Every time Johnny Carson had her on as a guest I whined to myself "Again???" The older generation (Yes, I looked it up and there are people older than me/I.) might prefer Bette's heavily orchestrated version of this Costello/Bacharach composition, but I prefer the first one, the one by Kristen, because its simpler arrangement is a more accurate representation of the girl pop sound that came out of the Brill Building during the period. Therefore, I vote for Kristen Vigard and thank you very much for the entertainment.

    FYI - Our plans have changed and we will be staying on one more day before returning home early tomorrow. Please understand if I cannot get over here until later in the day. Thank you, dear friend!

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    1. Cape Fear is one of my all time favorites, too. I think that was Illeana Douglas' best performance, hands down. My opinion of her fell drastically when I saw a program with Jeff Goldblum and Illeana Douglas was one of his friends. At the time, she was dating Moby or had just had a date with him and she came off as so needy and whiny. It was one of those times when you see a celebrity and think "hey, maybe I don't want to know more about you."

      Johnny Carson loved Bette. I never liked seeing her on his show because it was too canned for me. Bette in concert is more my style - the Divine Miss M, in all her glory.

      Have a safe trip, Shadaladadingdong! I'm not getting to my rounds in the morning, either. I've been doing stuff later in the day, too. Nor worries.

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    2. I forgot to say:
      A VOTE FOR KIRSTEN!!

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  8. don't recall the song, but it seems that Bette sang it with much more confidence, so she gets my vote!

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    1. I'm digging them up, ha ha.

      Another VOTE FOR BETTE!! Thanks, Mary!

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  9. Cherdo, I'm not sure that I remember this song, but it does have a certain familiarity to it. That makes no difference, though. It's a beautiful song. I like both covers, but I think Bette nudges Kristen out by a smidgeon.

    So, another vote goes for Bette!

    #BOTB Star Spangled Banner Showdown ~ Spirit VS #MadisonRising

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    1. Hey, great battle on your site today, Cathy. Thanks!

      Another VOTE FOR BETTE!!

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  10. You are so right-that one girl keeps smeedling-I think that is what its called. Our cats do the same thing-how distracting! Regardless of that I go with Bette Midler. She has the experience behind her to carry the song. Bette gets my vote

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    1. Die Katze tanzt verrückt. Ich kann es nicht ertragen, es dort zu sehen. Es wirkt sich auf die Leistung .

      ANOTHER VOTE FOR BETTE! Vielen dank, Birgit!

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  11. A beautiful song to begin with and Bette Midler gives it its due!

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    1. I think so, too, Diedre. ANOTHER VOTE FOR BETTE!!

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. Replies
    1. The paint slinger has spoken (ha ha)!

      ANOTHER VOTE FOR BETTE!! Thanks, Stephen.

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  13. Hmmm hard one indeed. I will go with Bette. I am a fan of hers since she did the movie The Rose ( loosely based on Janis Joplin was the rumor). She sings effortlessly and has the wide range of so many hard notes.

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    1. ANOTHER VOTE FOR BETTE!!

      This song has a tricky timing, too.

      I loved The Rose and my friends always remind me of the scene at the end where she is belting out the final song and then collapses. The movie theater was dark and I said, "Good to the last drop." They all howled and hit me.

      Hope your training is going well - safe travels.

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    2. I worked in 'THE ROSE' - just concert crowd scene stuffs - and although the movie didn't really do anything for me, I do have a pretty good Bette Midler story I acquired from that filming. I'll save it for some other day... maybe.

      ~ D-FensDogG

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    3. Ok now I want to know. I loved that movie and I can imagine the stories that took place while filming. Curiosity officially piqued!!

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  14. No fair Cherdo; you can't put Miss Bette in a line-up with anybody and not expect her to win. I did like Kirsten, and likely would have voted her if my Queen Lady was not in the running.

    On the side note, Illeana's cat prancing was distracting while listening to the song. Is it fitting that the advertising was for dog flea treatment?

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    1. I think the advertisement was customized for Illeana's flea fandango.

      ANOTHER VOTE FOR BETTE!! Thanks, Dolorah!

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  15. An easy vote for Bette. Much more powerful.

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    1. ANOTHER VOTE FOR BETTE!! Thanks, Chris!

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  16. I hate to say it, but I've never cared for Bette Midler. First one gets my vote.

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    1. There are those who reject the Divine One, ha ha. It's a "free" country.

      ANOTHER VOTE FOR KIRSTEN!!

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  17. Another tough one, Cherdo. I had to listen to the first one again.... this time without watching it. The watching was distracting, because I found her movements annoying.

    Based solely on the listening I preferred the first one, Kirsten Vigard.

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    1. Yeah, you can't watch that without wondering what was up with the side steppin'.

      ANOTHER VOTE FOR KIRSTEN!! Thanks, Robin!

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    2. Honestly, I suspect Kirsten Vigard was doing everything (within her bodily control) to keep her on time. As a result, I think her entire performance was kind of... "mechanical".

      It looked to me as if her strange movements were a physical attempt to keep her "on the beat" and "in the rhythm". Strange for a professional singer. (Although my impression could be wrong. ...I was wrong once before, you know?)

      ~ D-FensDogG

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    3. Illeana Douglas was lip synching; Kirsten Vigard was the singer. I couldn't find a single video with Kirsten Vigard singing live!

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  18. I liked that movie, but I have absolutely no memory of the song. I vote for the Divine One. I would probably vote for her over Jesus. The Elvis/Burt clip freaks me out. Why is Burt making those strange faces and kind of throwing his head around? I don't look like that when I play the piano and sing. Of course, I'm not Big Burt Bacharach.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Janie, always vote for Jesus. Bette is fine on her own and she is Jewish. But in this particular example:

      ANOTHER VOTE FOR BETTE!!

      Love ya!

      Delete
  19. Cherdo, I'm giving this one to the incomparable Bette Midler! Love her. I had to laugh when I read what you said about your cat Mittens pawing a "sweet spot" to lay on! She totally does look like she's doing that!!! Lol. Good pairing here.
    Michele at Angels Bark

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  20. I'm not familiar with this song, but Bette gets my vote, on the strength of much better vocals.

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  21. Never was a big Costello fan so was unfamiliar with this song. Though if he were thrown in the mix I probably would have picked him only because I'm in love with his wife. LOL
    Out of the two versions offered, I think I'll go with Bette Midler. She's a great performer and I never give her enough credit.

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  22. PS - Maybe Kirsten had to pee. Ever think of that?

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  23. Don't know this song and don't know the movie.

    Kristin was rather annoying in every possible way. Sorry, but that's my opinion.

    The Divine Miss M, on the other hand was in fact 'divine' on this one. Give her my vote by a wide margin.

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  24. Funny, but I was listening to this song as I w (a different version than you presented) as driving across New Mexico and thinking I should use it for BOTB sometime in the future. Maybe I still will.

    My vote goes to Kirsten. Bette's good but I prefer the fuller lower sound of Kirsten. The simplicity of the arrangement also appeals to me.

    Lee

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  25. Nice selection. Bette Midler gets my vote.

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo