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The Great HTF Music Challenge (5 Viewers)

BobO'Link

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I'm a bit surprised as I take you for somewhat of a purist, which is exactly what Price represented. Flamboyant for sure, which can be off putting to some, but only when on stage. He seemed sort of like Muhammad Ali to me in that sense.
I'd decided I didn't care for his music long before I saw him perform so his somewhat flamboyant stage persona didn't enter it at all. Much of what got radio play was borderline dance material and there was just so much hype surrounding "Purple Rain" - both the movie and album - that it became an instant turn off. I just double-checked my library and do own a copy of his "Hits Volume 1" but I honestly can't say which songs I like but know it's only a couple.
 

John Dirk

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Yes, Kraitz did a very good cover of "American Woman".

Here's the original album version... The acoustic open was edited off to create the single.

The Guess Who - "American Woman":
Had no idea this original version existed. I always wondered what motivated Lenny Kravitz [an American man] to make a song like this. I figured it was his way of saying he couldn't resist them. Now it finally makes sense, sort of...

Great song, both versions.
 

BobO'Link

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Here are a few more early 70s classics.

Free - "All Right Now":


The Temptations - "Ball of Confusion":


The Dramatics - "Whacha See is Whacha Get":


Marvin Gaye - "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)":


Don McLean - "Vincent":
 

Cameron Yee

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I hear what you're saying. The thing I find kind of interesting about Big Grams's album is they explicitly used the Seven Deadly Sins as a theme for the album, with a track for every sin (so I'm assuming Fell in the Sun would be Pride).

So to me that kind of says they are performing a certain level of parody of the hedonistic aspects of current rap, or if not parody, just having fun with it without being really serious about the message.

I do appreciate rap and hip hop with a real message though, which is why I enjoyed both the musicality and lyricism of A Tribe Called Quest's We Got It From Here...



And Sir Elton John even made an appearance!


Big Grams - Fell In The Sun
Gotta be honest - To me this track illustrates the sad commercial tradeoff that has been made to keep Rap relevant to a new generation. The "Gangsta" sub-genre was the first attempt. Now that it has sort of run its course we have this new sanitized variety. It's certainly not the worst of its kind I've heard but there's really nothing engaging here either. I long for the days when Rap music was lyrically powerful and socially/politically connected but times do change and it is, after all, a business.
 
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John Dirk

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Free - "All Right Now":
Great song. Strong vocals, guitar and drums. Classic track.

The Temptations - "Ball of Confusion":
Not one of their better tracks as this is really not their style but, hey, it's the Temptations so "good" is about as bad as they can be. Great social commentary at a time when it was sorely needed. A remake today wouldn't be out of place. :mellow:

The Dramatics - "Whacha See is Whacha Get":
Another great track. There were just so many strong contenders during this Golden age of music.

Marvin Gaye - "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)":
For me anyway, words cannot fully describe the power and impact of both this song or this artist. The album What's Going On that featured Mercy Mercy Me is one of the overall best ever for my money. The loss of Marvin Gaye stands even today as one of the greatest tragedies in music history.

Don McLean - "Vincent":
Hadn't heard this one. Great vocalist and I love the guitar. Here's a style I generally wouldn't care for revived by an excellent artist.
 

John Dirk

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The Space Program
A little too liberal with the N- word for my taste, but... Kind of akin to some of @BobO'Link 's comments, I find the lyrics here a bit difficult to decipher. Unlike Bob, I don't consider that a negative. Instead it's an invitation to listen critically over time. Different music requires different listening approaches and moods. This is definitely a "thinkers" track.

Solid Wall Of Sound
I'm glad you included this track because [for me] it illustrates an interesting "rub." The lyrics may be worthy of further exploration but I'll likely never know because the musical accompaniment just isn't engaging enough to bring me back for further analysis. The previous track did a much better job of combining these two necessary ingredients.
 

John Dirk

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Here is what I felt compelled to share to start off the week. I love Erykah's melodic vocal style and insightful lyrics.

Erykah Badu - Window Seat (Official Video)​

 

Cameron Yee

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I still recall hearing about it on the radio. I didn't comprehend the full impact at the time (I was 11), but even then I knew it to be incredibly sad news.
The loss of Marvin Gaye stands even today as one of the greatest tragedies in music history.
 

Cameron Yee

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For the Space Program, I've been curious what is the source of the opening soundbite. A movie, I'm guessing.

I included Solid Wall of Sound mainly because I knew you to be an Elton John fan. :)

The Space Program
A little too liberal with the N- word for my taste, but... Kind of akin to some of @BobO'Link 's comments, I find the lyrics here a bit difficult to decipher. Unlike Bob, I don't consider that a negative. Instead it's an invitation to listen critically over time. Different music requires different listening approaches and moods. This is definitely a "thinkers" track.

Solid Wall Of Sound
I'm glad you included this track because [for me] it illustrates an interesting "rub." The lyrics may be worthy of further exploration but I'll likely never know because the musical accompaniment just isn't engaging enough to bring me back for further analysis. The previous track did a much better job of combining these two necessary ingredients.
 

ChristopherG

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The Temptations - "Ball of Confusion":
Not one of their better tracks as this is really not their style but, hey, it's the Temptations so "good" is about as bad as they can be. Great social commentary at a time when it was sorely needed. A remake today wouldn't be out of place. :mellow:
Was covered in 1985 by Love and Rockets

 

John Dirk

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Was covered in 1985 by Love and Rockets

Oh I like this! It's one of those times when a cover in a different genre just brings a totally new feel to the song. In this case I'm sure it also exposed it to a totally new audience. While many of the references will be dated from their perspective, the overall message remains.
 

BobO'Link

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A Tribe Called Quest, "We Got It From Here" - Nope, don't care for it one bit.

A Tribe Called Quest, "Solid Wall of Sound" - Liked this one even less. Very much disliked the way the Elton John sample was used. This one sounds less of a "song" than other RAP material I've heard.

Erykah Badu, "Window Seat" - The nasal voice is a complete turn off for me. The rest is pretty good.
 
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BobO'Link

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Love and Rockets, "Ball of Confusion" - It was OK... and it's completely missing a bottom making it sound somewhat incomplete. In the end, this one doesn't work for me. I'll take The Temptations' version any day of the week.
 

BobO'Link

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Thinking of covers again... this one smacked me up side the head in 1994. I was working in TV and we produced a weekly country music video show with Gene Williams. He brought this one in. When I heard it I just about blew a gasket! After about a minute I had the audio guy turn it down and used the video to know when it was ending to open Gene's mic again.

Faith Hill - "Piece of My Heart":


There are some songs that don't deserve such treatment and, IMHO, this is one of them...

Janis Joplin - "Piece of My Heart":
 

BobO'Link

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Don McLean - "Vincent":
Hadn't heard this one. Great vocalist and I love the guitar. Here's a style I generally wouldn't care for revived by an excellent artist.
The song is about Vincent Van Gogh. McLean said this about writing the lyrics:
"In the autumn of 1970 I had a job singing in the school system, playing my guitar in classrooms. I was sitting on the veranda one morning, reading a biography of Van Gogh, and suddenly I knew I had to write a song arguing that he wasn't crazy. He had an illness and so did his brother Theo. This makes it different, in my mind, to the garden variety of 'crazy' – because he was rejected by a woman [as was commonly thought]. So I sat down with a print of Starry Night and wrote the lyrics out on a paper bag."

The first line references Van Gogh's painting,"Starry Night":
1620063170375.png
 

John Dirk

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Faith Hill - "Piece of My Heart":
"Neutral Country" is probably the best description I could apply here. It's decent and listenable but unremarkable.

Janis Joplin - "Piece of My Heart":
This style doesn't suit Janis, IMO. I prefer her like this much better.

Janis Joplin - Maybe​

 
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Walter Kittel

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Very familiar with both the original and cover versions of American Woman. Pretty much a toss up as to which version I prefer which speaks to the strength of Kravitz's cover.

Free - "All Right Now" - Brings back a lot of memories of listening to FM radio. This was a staple during the early '70s. Seem to recall one of the local stations using this song in their advertisements (featuring samples from a variety of topical artists at the time.)

The Temptations - "Ball of Confusion" - Pretty much agree with John, something of a lesser track when compared to some of the group's classic songs, but still pretty good.

The Dramatics - "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" - Another blast from the past that I haven't heard in many, many years. The song has a great rhythm and is very entertaining.

Marvin Gaye - "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" - A great song from one of the greatest singers and entertainers of all time. Classic. Marvin Gaye had such a pure and evocative singing voice. BTW, CNN will be airing a CNN Special Report hosted by Don Lemon exploring the album What's Going On on Sunday evening, May 9th.

Don McClean
- "Vincent" - Probably the second most famous song from this artist. Nice song with very pleasing vocal that is a great example of the types of songs that were prevalent in the early '70s.

- Walter.
 
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Walter Kittel

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A Tribe Called Quest

"The Space Program" - Not the type of track that I would normally listen to, but lyrically it held my interest. The instrumentation mostly avoids the 'repetitive' aspects that hurt a lot of songs (for me) from this genre and I liked quite a bit of the song from a sonic standpoint. (According to the wikipedia page for this track the samples at the beginning and end of the song are, respectively from, the blaxploitation film Willie Dynamite and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Two very distinct sources. :) )

All in all, one of those songs that surprised me in terms of my level of enjoyment.

"Solid Wall of Sound" - Not as engaging as the first track overall, but some interesting lyrical content. Could have done without the Elton John sample. Took me out of the song. Liked the rhythms during the outro.

-----

Erykah Badu - "Window Seat" - The vocal is distinct. Undecided how I feel about it. (There are plenty of artists whose voices could be described as non-traditional that I enjoy, so it isn't an automatic disqualification.) Solid beats and good instrumentation. Liked it.

-----

Love and Rockets - "Ball of Confusion" - It is okay. I prefer the vocals on the Temptation version, but prefer the instrumentation on the cover. Sort of a toss up. But to the artist's credit, it does what a cover should do which is offer up a new interpretation of an original work.

- Walter.
 

Walter Kittel

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"Piece of My Heart" - The Janis Joplin version is one of the classics from that era. Great performance as was always the case with this artist. I will refrain from commenting on that 'other' version.

Janis Joplin - "Maybe" - There are some artists who always deliver sterling vocal performances regardless of the associated song. Janis Joplin is one of those performers. (Marvin Gaye is another.) I am not nearly as familiar with this track vs. the harder Piece of My Heart, which I've known for decades, but the vocals are enough to recommend it.

Edit: Spelling correction.

- Walter.
 
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