Monday, September 21, 2009

baby don't you do it: battle royale


This battle isn't even fair. It really doesn't get any better than Marvin Gaye or The Band. I mean, come on.

In 1964, the ultimate baller of all time known as Marvin Gaye recorded "Baby Don't You Do It" for Tamla (Motown). This is a classic HDH (Holland-Dozier-Holland) sound. This song wasn't a huge charter (I mean, it was #27 but it will be #1 in my heart always) but it has been covered several times.

Obvi, Marvin is the most amazing man and perhaps one of the best soul singers EVER. He just had it. He had an amazing vocal range. He had tons of hits and is in my top 5 performers/artists. I love everything about Marvin. "Sexual Healing" is a choice karaoke song. What's Going On is my favorite album ever and is probably the best album of all time. I'm just being real. ANYWAY, enough gushing. Check out Marvin's great tune.

Marvin Gaye - Baby Don't You Do It

Then this happened. The Band recorded their own version of "Baby Don't You Do It" called simply "Don't Do It." It's featured on their album Rock of Ages, and also in that movie some guy with crazy eyebrows directed called The Last Waltz.

The Band started as the backing band, the Hawks, for fantastic person/total nutjob Ronnie Hawkins in the late fifties/early sixties. Levon was at the HELM (HAW HAW HAW) for most of the ride after they left Ronnie, and for a while they played as Levon and the Hawks. They were totally well-rounded with super tight musicianship. Bob Dylan recruited the ballers for his tour in 1965 and soon they were playing with him constantly and making the recordings that became The Basement Tapes. They released their first album as THE BAND in 1968, followed by many more and some fantastic songs. They performed their final concert, which was made into a movie, in 1976.

The Band's sound is really difficult for me to pin down. Also, if I talk about them too much I will literally start weeping. They are very important to me. They had country elements but also a super soulful rhythm section. I can't even handle it. All the dudes could play different instruments and they had that amazing vocal layering with Rick, Richard, and Levon all taking on the singing role. NOTE: You should definitely read Levon's book This Wheel's on Fire for amazing insight into the band. I'm re-reading it right now and it's been bad because I can't put it down and I end up going to bed at midnight.

The Band played "Don't Do It" as the encore of their final show during the taping of The Last Waltz. Check out their version.

The Band - Don't Do It

So, needless to say, both versions are awesome. This is what I always end up doing with these Battle Royale posts. I start out with a good idea and then I can't choose because both artists own my world.

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