Wednesday, November 15, 2017

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's November 15th, so it's time for this month's Battle of the Bands, hosted by Stephen McCarthy at STMcC Presents 'Battle of the Bands'. I urge you to visit his blog to see the complete list of participants in the battle and to visit them.


Here's the deal: I present two renditions of the same song. In your comment, you vote for the one you prefer, and if possible, tell us the reason for your choice. You have until midnight on November 20th to vote. On November 21st, I'll tell you who the winner is.

Today I present a competition . . . well, I'll let T. S. Eliot tell you what I'm thinking through the voice of the poetic persona in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:

"And indeed there will be time / To wonder, 'Do I dare?' and, 'Do I dare?' . . . Do I dare / Disturb the universe?"

For I have known them all already, known them all––
Have known the evening, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
     So how should I presume?

I did not think, Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell, that I dared make anyone compete against Simon & Garfunkel, performing a song that Paul Simon wrote to/for Art Garfunkel. Paul and Artie are icons of American music.

I am one who would say, Of course I shall vote for Paul and Artie. I cannot do otherwise. But I dare disturb the universe because I heard a cover of The Only Living Boy In New York that gave me chills although I adore the original.

But how should I presume? Even if this battle is a blowout in favor of Simon & Garfunkel, then at least I will have introduced you––if you do not know them already, as I did not––to PigPen Theatre Co.

In the days to come, I'll also write posts about the meaning of The Only Living Boy In New York and the histories of Simon & Garfunkel and PigPen Theatre Co. If you cannot vote today, it's okay. You'll learn and you'll listen more and you'll come back from a farther room to vote another day.

We participants in the Battle of the Bands often ask our followers to ignore videos of the bands if we use them, but I shan't do that today, for music can be more than aural grandeur.

We begin with Simon & Garfunkel:




And now PigPen Theatre Co.:




Thanks for joining me in this battle. I hope you enjoy The Only Living Boy In New York.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

53 comments:

  1. I can't believe I'm writing this, but I vote for PigPen. (I mean, when have I ever voted for anything called PigPen? When have I ever preferred anybody to Simon & Garfunkel?)
    There's something less staged, less "processed" and more effective in their version.

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    1. Insightful comment, my dear. Thank you for joining us.

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  2. Colour me surprised. I love Simon and Garfunkel, but am also voting for PigPen.

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    1. Colour me shocked that PigPen already has two votes. I was afraid of a blow out.

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  3. Easy vote for me :) Simon & Garfunkel. Love them!

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

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    1. I love them, too. Has Paul Simon ever written a song that's not to love?

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  4. If I'm totally honest, I don't like either version, but as my brother was a big fan of Simon and Garfunkel I'll go for that version. I think Pigpen could do with sharpening up their sound, for such a lot of people they don't make that big a sound!

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    1. Paul and Art thank you for following your brother's beliefs.

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  5. I don't ever recall hearing this song before. I won't rank it among my favorites by S & G, but I do like their music a lot. Enjoyed them since they first came out with "Sounds of Silence" which was among the first 45 RPM records I ever bought.

    In this pairing I'm going with Pigpen. They have more interesting things going on in their performance. They give the song a better sound I think.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. PigPen thanks you. This battle is shaping up to be an interesting one.

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  6. I vote PigPen! Great vocals, great harmonies, great percussion, great cover! Plus an accordion always adds a certain je ne sais quoi.

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  7. Personally I believe that was the beginning of the end for S&G when Art wanted to make it in the movies and put their music second without even telling Paul. This song always felt like a painfully, classy goodbye (prequel) and well wishes from Paul to Art. I have to vote for Paul (S&G) but I was surprised at how well Pig Pen did with the song and it was almost a tie for me. Shock! But I had to go with my boys. :)

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  8. I'll vote PigPen. They gave it a bit of a spiritual sound. S+G version is a little sad, and I don't like to be sad.

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    1. The world is so filled with sad that we have to counterattack with happy.

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  9. Thanks for sharing this song. I don't remember it and am a big fan of S&G. Thinking Paul Simon was a shoo-in, imagine my surprise when Pig Pen Theatre's version captivated me! It stirs my emotions more and the harmonies are lovely. Please give my vote to them. Looking forward to learning more!
    P.S. I'm back with BOTB as well. Come on over! ☺

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  10. I vote for the Pig Pen. I love the way they harmonize. And the accordion is cool.

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    1. I want to take a lover. He must be able to play a cool accordion.

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  11. I have these images of Tom Fleischer and Colomba Ramirez dancing to this one at 8th grade dances. This was "their song," even if they weren't officially going together. This was the flip side to "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and I don't really remember liking either one. But anyway...

    I also prefer the sound of PigPen, so they get my vote.

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  12. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I think S&G will get my vote. Even though, I felt PigPen did an amazing job and I loved that drum. A tough call, I would like to hear more from PigPen.

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    1. I shall give you more PigPen in an upcoming post.

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    2. I watched a special featuring The Concert in Central Park. Truly amazing vocals and music.

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  13. I love almost everything that S & G did, although this particular song isn't one of my favorites. I can't decide, I guess I'll have to call it a tie!!

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    1. Okay, but if you change your mind, you can let me know which one you choose.

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  14. "...in the rooms women come and go,
    speaking of Michelangelo..."

    The only version of this song I care to hear is by S & G.

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    1. Paul and Art thank you for your support.

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    2. "In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo."

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  15. I'm definitely going to have to go with PigPen. The tune is a lot more fun!

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    1. I'm glad you like it. I'm enjoying this exciting battle.

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  16. Paul Simon gets my vote on this one. PIgPen Theater is great, too, but I can hear the sound of someone desperately trying to stay afloat better when Paul sings it.

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  17. Janie,

    PigPen does a good job but I have to give my vote to Paul Simon. Good match up! On any other day, I might go with PigPen. :)

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  18. I can't believe how well PigPen did with this song, but they didn't quite capture the feeling that Paul does. I have to stick with Simon and Garfunkel.

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  19. This song has always felt sad to me and now I know why. I didn't know the history of why they split as a group. I didn't know that AG wanted to be in movies. Such a shame. We are blessed to do ONE thing exceptionally well. Paul Simon is really good as a solo act, but he and Garfunkel together are sublime. Why would anyone not want to be a part of that? And when one person doesn't, it would make you feel like the loneliest person ever.

    All that said, I didn't think another group could even come close. I really enjoyed the PigPen Theatre Co. Wow. Fantastic. They didn't outpace S&G because that is impossible, but I was seriously impressed and that is something!!!

    A vote for Simon & Garfunkel, but a nod of "well done" to PigPen.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's hard to understand people's choices, but when you write songs yourself and you're working with a songwriter whose work is adored, maybe that's hard. Perhaps Art had always dreamed of being an actor and wanted to give it a try.

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  20. I like the accordion a little bit better than the bagpipes.

    Always been a big S&G fan, and I have this song on an S&G compilation CD. Good song!

    PigPen did it well, but they didn't do anything to make me forget about the original. I'll take S&G and another Bourbon & 7, hold the 7.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents 'Battle Of The Bands'

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    1. Holding the 7. Thanks for visiting. My son brought home warm, fresh Krispy Kreme donuts this evening. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

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  21. I rarely like covers, but this one by Pig Pen wins for me. I find the sound cleaner, the drum is nice and sharp -- and that accordion! It's perfect! I didn't know an accordion could work so well outside of Celtic music.

    I also have to confess that I spent some time reading about Simon & Garfunkel and this tune and their whole history together/apart, and ended up with a kinda bad impression of Simon all around. It bothered me enough that I'll be listening to their music through a different lens now. Unless I read something else to tip me the other way. Regardless, my vote is still Pig Pen.

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  22. I have to go with S & G over Pigpen. For me, Simon held my attention whereas PigPen didn't...it became background music so S & G gets my vote

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  23. Excellent battle! I love Simon & Garfunkel but I don't remember this particular song. I like it! I figured that I for sure would be voting for S&G but wow, PigPen Theatre Co really impressed me. I loved watching the video and seeing the song come together as each artist chimed in with their contribution. And how cool was the accordion?! You sure don't see that instrument much anymore. My grandmother used to play accordion and it always used to fascinate me, all those buttons!

    I had never heard of PigPen Theatre Co so I did some digging. Found it odd that there wasn't a Wikipedia page for them...or their play "The Hunter and The Bear" which I really want to see now after reading the reviews (like "Must-See theatre in every way. The audience was almost too enthralled to breathe!")

    What an interesting and talented group of guys! I definitely want to explore more of their works. Hoping that they'll bring a show or play to Austin. Austin has a big arts community and it sounds like they would be a perfect fit here.

    Needless to say, my vote is going to the PigPen Theatre Co. They did a fabulous job with the song and had equally terrific harmonies.

    Great battle Janie. I really enjoyed.

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. I was surprised by the lack of a Wikipedia entry. I'm relying on their Web site for information.

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  24. The Silver Fox casts his vote for S&G.

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  25. It was a tie for me, so I voted for PigPen.

    cheers, parsnip

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  26. It's hard to stack someone up against Simon and Garfunkel and get real competition, but I believe you did! Loved the PigPen video and they gave it their best. Worthy.

    Gotta give it to Simon and Garfunkel, but maybe out of misplaced loyalty to my youth.

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