Saturday, August 15, 2015

BOTB Presents Duets: "Bridge Over Troubled Water"


It's that time again; get  your crazy train ticket in hand!

WELCOME TO 
the 
BATTLE OF THE BANDS!! aka, BOTB. 

Our battles take place twice a month ~ on the 1st and 15th. 

The results come six days later ~ on the 7th and 21st. 
That's when I return, add all of the votes, including mine, 
and announce the winner. Feel free to return and see if your choice won! 

The music blogging event first introduced by our friends!

Fae @ Far Away Eyes 

Stephen T. McCarthy presents... 

The question is: ARE YOU READY?

Oh, I'm on a classic bend lately and it's pretty amazing to see the number of people who have put there own special sumpthin' sumpthin' on the greats! The story behind the singers and the songs is not nearly as important to me as just listening to the music, so I'm making my introductions brief.

First up, Simon & Garfunkel - is there a more influential duet? They ruled the 60s and 70s. Take a great singer-songwriter and a singer with a pretty angelic voice for a grown man and it's magic. I love 'em. 

When they went their separate ways, it was a weep-worthy moment. Their basic folk sound matured, developed and experimented. Then came the split: solo albums, acting, marriages and cameos followed. 

Enough time passed and they managed to suppress whatever caused the original (and much debated) riff and sing together once more. Oh, happy day. Remember, you don't vote on the original...

The Original: Simon & Garfunkel



Contender #1:
Brian McKnight and Josh Groban


Of course, the first thing I thought when choosing a contender was "who could possible match the smooth voice of Art Garfunkel? Aha...I thought of not one, but two:




Contender #2:
Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli

Yeah, you didn't see this one coming. Two types of soulful singers embrace their folky side with a little Italiano to boot.




56 comments:

  1. Interesting matchup, Cherdo! ☺ I love S&G, so anybody else pales by comparison. This was surprising though, because I fully expected to choose Mary and Andrea. Turns out, I liked Josh and Brian better for the vocals and the fuller sound. M&A's was more "choir-like". Not my favourite thing.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. JOSH & BRIAN!

      This time, I purposefully chose a battle where the original was oh-so-hard to beat.

      Thanks, Debbie!

      Delete
  2. Brian McKnight and Josh Groban get my vote. I wasn't sure why until Debbie D. explained it to me.

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    1. JOSH & BRIAN!

      That's why it's nice to have a Debbie.

      Delete
  3. Good morning, dear Cherdo!

    You wrote:

    << Simon & Garfunkel - is there a more influential duet? >>

    They might not have been more influential, but recording artists Tom & Jerry were equally talented. (Google them.)

    This is the first time I saw or heard these two performances of "Bridge" and it wasn't hard for me to make up my mind who to vote for... for who or whom to vote... Here's how I voted.

    I vote for contender #2, Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli. I like the fact that Andrea sang the beginning of the song in Italian, a refreshing change after hearing Paul Simon's English language lyrics a thousand times before. Next, Mary J. Blige took the stage and ratcheted up the excitement with her impassioned gospel soul. Andrea joined her in the stretch and the improbable pair delivered the more powerful performance of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." My vote is for team #2!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Tom & Jerry? I wouldn't have to Google that one. ;-)

      One of the best decisions they ever made was to stop using the phoney names. What is more memorable than Garfunkel? It's got FUNK in it, for crying out loud. Ha ha ha.

      Like I said to Debbie above, I really want this one to challenge people to look beyond the AWESOME original. Simon & Garfunkel are icons.

      Note I'm a day late! Gotta catch up! Hope you had a good weekend so far.

      Delete
    2. Forgot to say...
      MARY J & ANDREA!

      Delete
  4. Really interesting stuff, thanks for sharing.

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  5. I'll always prefer the original, but Josh does a fine job.

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    1. JOSH & BRIAN!

      The original is a goodie, isn't it?

      Delete
  6. I'm choosing the first one (Josh and Brian). I honestly didn't care a whole lot for either one. I think that's because I like the S&G original so much. As I listened to both of these I tried to discern what it was they were doing that made me not like them (compared to S&G). I think the problem revolved around the fact that all of these folks are soloists. Ergo, even when they were singing the harmony part they sang it like the melody line. Mary J. Blige absolutely belted it so loudly that I could barely hear Andrea (who was singing melody) over her. Whereas, Art Garfunkel understood that the harmony part was to float alongside the melody and be so hauntingly beautiful that you almost had to strain to hear it. Almost, but not quite. It was there. Subtly. And AG knew which notes to accentuate in that harmony line to really make the counterpoint to the melody a fine and wondrous thing to hear. Unfortunately, both of these duets failed at that (because they are all soloists). However, Brian McKnight slightly toned down the harmony line so that you could actually hear Josh Groban.

    If you can't do harmony, I really don't think you should. Just sing it like a solo. Put your own stamp on it. Or use instruments that play the harmony part. In any event, this was an interesting battle (even if the contenders didn't thrill ME).

    Did this come across as grumpy? I sure hope not. They can't all be favorites. Maybe you'll hit me in my happy place next time! :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Not grumpy at all! You're just giving an opinion - which is the point of asking for comments. But you make a GREAT point about these guys being soloists which I hadn't considered. You're right - they aren't really merging with the other voice; they're sort of singing side by side.

      Excellent comment, Robin! Thanks. :-)

      JOSH & BRIAN!

      Delete
  7. Simon and Garfunkle did the definitive one!

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    1. Oh, but you have to throw a vote over to one of the contenders...come on, eViL pOp TaRt! Inquiring minds want to know! Ha ha.

      Delete
  8. Well, the winner of the two competitors is Josh and Brian, hands down. I don't like the combination of genres that come across with MJ and Andrea, although I'm a huge Andrea fan. Josh Groban should have had the melody in the first one, and I do agree that there is no comparison to S & G. Awesome.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. JOSH & BRIAN!

      You've got to admit, all the voices are good...it's just hard to line them up from best to worst. Thanks, Linda!

      Delete
  9. Great battle Cherdo! I got chills listening to Josh Groban and Brian McKnight so my vote is going to them. Wow, power duo! It's hard to beat Simon and Garfunkel but Josh and Brian do them justice on this song. I think this song is going to be stuck in my head all weekend...and that's okay with me. :)
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. JOSH & BRIAN!!

      I love all these voices alone, but it is a challenge for them to go up against the legacy of S & G. Thanks, Michele!

      Delete
  10. I go with contender #1--but I did like the way the second one began

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    1. JOSH & BRIAN!

      It's fun to see how different artists approach this song.

      Delete
  11. Oh mutterin' magpies! This was incredibly difficult! Just when I thought rivaling Simon & Garfunkle couldn't be done, you proved me wrong - hands down :-) However, I'm going with Josh and Brian...
    Thanks for the treat!

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    1. Mutterin' magpies, JOSH & BRIAN it is, ha ha. Thanks, Diedre.

      Delete
  12. The second one stuck a little closer to the original, but I liked the first one's take on it. Plus the voices. First one gets my vote.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I vote for Josh and Brian. They used their voices together in harmony which is what the song is supposed to do. Maybe I am biased but I like it better when 2 men sing the song. Now I love Andrea Bocelli all on his own. The beginning was heaven...and then Mary J walked in and decided to outdo Andrea which she can't. While she screamed the parts, he sang them. There was one note (can't recall where) where they both hit this one note and he makes the note sound beautiful where she sounds like a squashed flat harpy. She made it sound like a gospel song and it isn't so Josh get the vote. Now if it was Josh and Andrea together-whew! That would be great.

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    1. Flat harpy....ha ha ha ha ha. Amen.

      JOSH & BRIAN it is! Thanks, Birgit!

      Delete
  14. What an old song that is - and more frightening, I remember when it first came out. It's definitely an evergreen. I'm partial to the original Simon & Garfunkle version (and also Elvis did a lovely cover of it.) Have a lovely weekend! :)

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    1. I remember that, too, but I was pretty young at the time. But you didn't pick a contender, Lexa - come on, girl. :0

      Delete
  15. I felt Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli had an interesting take to it, but preferred the Brian McKnight and Josh Groban version. Hearing Josh talk and then when he started singing, just blew me away.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. JOSH & BRIAN!

      This may be a landslide, Madilyn!

      Delete
  16. #1 Josh and Brian for me.
    Although I love Andrea voice Marys was just too harsh and overpowering in this duet.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. JOSH & BRIAN it is! Thanks, parsnip!

      Delete
  17. >>... When they went their separate ways, it was a weep-worthy moment.

    I remember watching the reunion concert in Central Park. I think it was being replayed on TV in 1982. I cried because they had broken up and because they weren't getting back together again.

    I love SIMON & GARFUNKEL, and I love PAUL SIMON solo, almost as much. Several songs by them could be included in my 'The Soundtrack Of My Life' posts (and one DEFINITELY WILL be included before much longer).

    Simon was easily one of the very, very greatest lyricists ever. In fact, he's one of only a few who could do the same sort of thing that Bob Dylan pioneered: write abstract lyrics that still somehow left enough room for the listener to interpret in a personal way and to interject aspects of their own life and thoughts into them. Most lyricists who tried this, failed miserably (yes, I'm looking at you, Beatles... and Jefferson Airplane, and all the other psychedelic poetic wannabes).

    Brian McKnight and Josh Groban were amazing!

    Apparently Mary J. Blige thinks she's MAVIS. Well, she ain't! She ain't Mavis. She ain't Mahalia. Mercy! She ain't even one of the 'Angels Of Mercy'. She IS an "oversinger" though.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Simon & Garfunkel are very near perfect to me. Everything you said about Paul Simon, I agree with 150%. A talented, almost cerebral lyricist is rare when you consider the amount of recorded music that's out there. You can have a popular song, or a catchy song...it can win platinum albums and Grammys...but that doesn't mean it will have the quality of lyrics that a Paul Simon song will...or Elvis Costello (plug, plug).

      Quit looking at my Beatles, though. :-O

      JOSH & BRIAN it is! (But why DO so many singers think they are Mavis?)

      Delete
  18. I like the Groban and McKnight one, but Simon and Garfunkel get my vote. I'll forever love the original.

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    1. Ah, you have to vote for a contender, Medeia! You are in vote limbo, ha ha.

      Delete
  19. Gotta go with Simon & Garfunkel because you can't go wrong with the classics!

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    1. awwwwwwwwwwwwww....you have to vote for a contender, Stephanie! Another one in vote limbo, ha ha.

      Delete
  20. DOC CHERDO... you have NO IDEA how hard I'm biting back on my snark.

    S&G have twice as many votes as Mary J. Bilge Rat, and they aren't even eligible to receive votes. Ha!

    Oops... I can only bite back just so hard. Some snark be bound to escape between the gaps in my teeths.

    ~ D-FensDogG

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    1. You can hold it in...come one...you can do it...

      I'm calling those "VOTE LIMBO"...

      Hold it in! Hold it in! Get some snark tape on yer lipz. I use it all the time. It doesn't always WORK, though.

      Delete
  21. I like all four singers, but I thought #1 (Josh and Brian) was the best. There was too much 'scatting' on the melody with #2, and it detracted from the song and from the two truly good voices. (This is not to say that I didn't enjoy both and end up humming along...)

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    1. Scoobity-doo, Diana! They are definitely different kinds of artists, but I thought it was interesting to see MJB and AB. It was a surprise.

      JOSH & BRIAN it is!

      Delete
  22. I clearly read the rules, but can I vote for S&G anyway? And not just so McCarthy can keep biting back on his snark.

    The others are okay, but they just really pale in comparison. Brian and Josh would get my "by the rules" vote, but S&G get my real vote.

    Also, I like Paul Simon better without Garfunkel. Garfunkel has a voice, but that's all he brought to the table. As McCarthy said, Paul Simon is one of the greatest lyricists of this generation. He, and he alone, is my favorite artist of all time. No question.

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    1. Don't pick on Stephen - he'll let all the snark out and it will be like a hydrogen bomb. It would flip the flipside, once and for all.

      Paul Simon is rock solid; love, love, love him. But I also love Garfunkel's voice so much. "For Emily Wherever I May Find Her" is awesome for both the smooth tenor and the lyrics. And while we're at it, Simon never gets enough credit as a guitarist, either.

      JOSH & BRIAN it is!

      Delete
  23. Hey lady- I really am normally a fan of Mary J. She can really sing and her soulful songs are amazing. Unfortunately, this version with Andrea doesn't work for me. He had a great voice and so does she but they didn't work together as well. Josh has voice as smooth as butter. Seriously he can sing the phone book and hit number 1. Brian M is also another great one. I gotta go with J and B. Great battle.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Such a great song - definitely one of the all-time greats, in large part for the fact that it translates so well to so many different styles.

    I do believe, however, that at its heart, it's a gospel song. So, I've gotta go with #2 for Mary. Andrea can go home. I've never been a fan. I like Brian McKnight, but I like his brother's band better.

    But, big picture, there's really no contest. I love the original. But for a soul music interpretation, there is only one undisputed queen. Here you go:

    https://youtu.be/_9-yfeA2JZs

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  25. I love the original version of "Bridge"--such a beautiful and inspiring song. These covers are both well done by true pros. Bocelli's voice is far less appealing to me than Groban's and Blige's vocals grate on me a bit so my vote goes to the smoother sound of Groban and McKnight.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  26. Brilliant battle! I have to say I'm no fan of the original (sacrilege, I know -- though I do love Simon & Garfunkel), so it was a relief to have two new versions :) My vote goes to McKnight and Groban. Mary and Andrea are brilliant singers / performers and I love them both -- actually, I was sure I'd be voting for them -- but... they just don't work together. Not sure exactly what went wrong, but... well, whatever it was, it just didn't do it for me.

    Happy Monday!
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  27. My vote goes for Brian McKnight and Josh Groban. But however talented the singers that cover this song I still enjoy the original the best.

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  28. Great song choice! Both good versions, but I'm giving my vote to Josh Groban/Brian McKnight. I think that if Andrea Bocelli had done the song alone, he may have won my vote, but he didnt mesh well with Mary J Blige on this song.

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  29. This is a powerful song. One which I really enjoy. Thank you, thank you, thank you for not making the S&G version part of the voting. I don't think anyone IMO could do the song better than them. Of the two you presented, I really enjoyed both. But I felt one duo sang it far better.
    I'm casting my vote for Brian McKnight and Josh Grobin

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  30. Throw another log on the Grobin fire. For most of the same reasons.

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  31. I tried to comment on your BOTB a few days ago, honest I did. But, between the glitchy phone and limited tries, it was three tries and I was outta there.

    Anyhow...today I'm back and at the real live computer.

    I listened again and just really couldn't get into either of your two contenders versions. Probably because I'm a die hard S & G fan and this is one of their signature tunes. It just ain't the same done by ANYBODY ELSE. That said, I'm gonna give my vote to Mary and Andrea, if for no other reason than it was VERY different. I really enjoyed the first part where he sang in Italian.

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  32. Cherdo, my vote goes to Josh Grobin and Brian McKnight ~ fabulous duo!!

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