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The Finals – Can Revolver Upset Pet Sounds?

9 Apr

The finale post is among us. It has been an excellent competition even though the majority of match-ups have favored the favorite. But I was expecting this to go chalk like last year. I guess it means I picked pretty good albums as the top seeds!

Before we go into the Finals (where we had a bit of a shocker) let me set the stage for the rest of the week. If you haven’t noticed by the lack of posting, I have been busy lately with work-related travel, holidays, and other things. This week should slide by swimmingly with some obscure classic rock and other normal posting. After I reveal the winner of the March Madness competition on April 16, though, things are going to get very new for the end of April. Last summer I introduced a week-long new band posting splurge. Well, I have a lot of new bands I want to profile, so expect an expanded version of that. Also, I will be going to three shows before April ends (Guster, Colin Hay, and the Left Banke), so you expect reviews of each. It should be a great rest of April. Now, on to the finals.

#1 Seed: Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys vs. #3 Seed: Revolver by The Beatles

In 1966, The Beach Boys and the Beatles could have easily taken the shared title of “Best Band of the Time.” So, in that sense, it is certainly understandable that they are facing each other in the finals for best album. The shock here is Revolver, which was losing to Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde for nearly the entire week, but a late run of Beatles-favored voters put it into the finals by ONE vote. The Beatles won in last year’s March Madness poll with Sgt. Peppers. They are the UCLA of this poll. The Beach Boys, despite having serious difficulties shaking off Simon and Garfunkel in the Elite Eight, easily defeated Freak Out in the final four. Now these two perennial superpowers meet.

Since this is inspired by March Madness I am going to compare these two albums in basketball terms. The Beatles and Beach Boys both introduced a brand new offensive scheme in 1966. It featured a lot of mind manipulation (very strategic and skillful) and fast-paced play followed by moments of a slowed-down attack. Now they face each other. Two very similar schemes – one perhaps more developed than the other (Pet Sounds over Revolver in this case). Who will win? Well, that’s up to you all. Happy voting.

The Final Four – Beach Boys, Beatles, Dylan, Zappa

2 Apr

A poorly doctored image for our tournament needs

Why go all the way to New Orleans when you can just stay online and vote for the best album released in 1966? Oh, because March Madness and this Music Court tournament have nothing in common despite the intentional name and date similarities and the college basketball finals are enticing? Okay, I guess I understand. But wait! You can do both. So before the National Title game commences tonight at the unfairly late hour of 9:25 p.m. ET (seriously! I go to sleep at 10 p.m.), vote in the two Final Four matchups below!

#1-seed Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys vs. #4-seed Freak Out by The Mothers of Invention.

For the second straight year, the March Madness album pool has gone chalk. That does not mean that match-ups cannot be close. In a big surprise, Simon and Garfunkel’s Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme did not only give top-seeded Pet Sounds a run for their money, but also almost beat them. The two albums were only separated by two votes. This was not the case for Freak Out which took care of the Mamas and Papas with ease. Because of this, I am not ready to sail Pet Sounds into the finals just yet. There is a chance that Freak Out might pull off a Final Four update and compete for the title of best album of 1966.

#2-seed:Revolver by The Beatles vs. #3-seed: Blonde on Blondeby Bob Dylan

Revolver has blown out every opponent it has faced since the first round. Blonde on Blonde has pretty much done the same (with the small exception of the Rolling Stones’ Aftermath which it beat by three votes.) Both albums are looking quite strong and, well, are excellent albums. The winner gets the finals and, for the Beatles, a chance to win best album titles for 1967 and 1966.

Elite Eight Part 2 – Beatles vs. Wilson Pickett and Bob Dylan vs. The Rolling Stones

27 Mar

Something about the favorites. The initial voting on the #1 vs. #8 match and #4 vs. #5 match has proven that the favorites get most of the love. Will this extend into our second round of Elite Eight voting? I guess we will find out soon.

Just a few housekeeping notes prior to the match-ups. Yes, this was supposed to be up yesterday, but an unfortunate bout of food poisoning left me curled up in bed for most of the day. I will be traveling on business from tomorrow until Saturday so I will most likely not have a chance to post in that time span. On to the matches!

#2 Seed: Revolver by The Beatles vs. #7 Seed: The Exciting Wilson Pickett by Wilson Pickett

 

 

 

 

Wilson Pickett was so excited that he crushed The 13th Floor Elevators debut in a shutout. Revolver almost did the same to The Rascals. The battle of two first-round powerhouses. Do the Beatles have too much for Pickett to handle?

#3 Seed: Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan vs. #6 seed: Aftermath by the Rolling Stones

While Blonde on Blonde had an easy time taking down The Who in its first round match-up, the 6-seeded Rolling Stones album Aftermath was almost upset by Donovan’s Sunshine Superman, only beating the trippy Dylan-like album by a vote. While I offer a hearty congratulations to the Stones’ album, I would have been interested to see a battle between Bob Dylan and the British Bob Dylan. Alas, we have this great match between a classic Dylan album and a solid Stones composition. I see Dylan taking this one easily, though.

The Elite Eight: Beatles vs. Simon and Garfunkel and The Mothers of Invention vs. The Mamas and the Papas

23 Mar

Well I guess I should have expected this. A tie. The 5 vs. 12 matchup featuring the Mamas and the Papas debut album vs. The Byrds’ Fifth Dimension was shaping up to be a close Mamas and the Papas victory, but, with a few minutes to spare, the match became tied and stayed tied at 2:30 p.m., when I officially closed the poll (at least in my mind because you can technically still vote). Overtime. I never established how overtime works but I made a call earlier this month that if a match-up was tied I’d bring it down to where the album charted in their respective category using U.S. Billboard rankings (pretty neutral). If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears by The Mamas and the Papas reached the #1 spot on the U.S. Billboard Pop charts. The Byrds reached #24 on the Top LP charts. Yes, not a very accurate way of making this decision, but for the sake of this competition, the five-seed moves on to face another mother in the second Elite Eight match-up.

Before we go on to that, the #1-seed Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, coming off of its commanding victory against Buffalo Springfield, will take on Simon and Garfunkel’s Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme, which pulled off a narrow victory against John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton infused album. These two albums go neck-and-neck in the first match.

#1 Seed: Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys vs. #8 seed: Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme

Can Simon and Garfunkel pull off an upset? If this was Bookends, maybe. While Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme is an excellent album that features some classic Simon and Garfunkel folk, Pet Sounds is true tour de force, an inspirational album that saw a band transform into quasi-psychedelic and master it. I predict another easy victory for the 1-seed and a spot in the final four to face the winner of our next match.

#4 seed: Freak Out by the Mothers of Invention vs. #5 seed: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears by The Mamas and the Papas

This one is tougher to predict. It would seem correct to say that Freak Out should take this one easily since it beat it’s 13-seeded opponent The Soul Album by Otis Redding quite handily. But some might argue that The Mamas and the Papas had a more difficult path with the experienced Byrds and 5D. Interestingly, both albums are debuts. The winner gets this poll’s Kentucky (Pet Sounds) in the next round which will most definitely be a difficult match-up. You have the choice to send one of them there.

The Last of the First Round: #5 vs. #12, #6 vs. #11, #7 vs. #10, #8 vs. #9

19 Mar

The first round voting has been strong and I thank you. As of now, the first three seeds are flying towards easy victories. Freak Out is only winning by a few votes and Otis Redding may pull off a 13 vs. 4 upset and become the Ohio of this year’s bracket! But as of now it is trailing and there is only until the end of the week to vote. The rest of the match-ups are below. Make sure to vote for your favorites and tune into the Elite Eight which begins next week. Haven’t voted in the initial match-ups? No problem. Click this and vote!

#5: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears by The Mamas and the Papas vs. #12: Fifth Dimension by the Byrds

Let me tell you, I love this match-up. It is a great 12 vs. 5 because the five seed is not so much stronger than the twelve. Let’s look a little more in depth. The Mamas and the Papas absolutely killed with their debut album. You are looking at “California Dreamin'” and “Monday, Monday,” two of the best melodious folk songs released in the 60s (if not ever). But, on the other end of our folk spectrum – even though it’s not really the other end because they were both playing psychedelic folk – The Byrds featured “Mr. Spaceman” and “Eight Miles High” on 5D. Wow. This is tough.

#6: Aftermath by The Rolling Stones vs. #11: Sunshine Superman by Donovan

Aftermath may be best known for “Paint it Black” (the American version) but it featured other Stones gems like “Under My Thumb” and “High and Dry.” It did exceptionally well everywhere it was released (it is a Stones album). Brian Jones was instrumental on this album – literally – using creative instrumentation to play to the burgeoning artsy psychedelic movement. But if you want sitar, how about Shawn Phillips’ sitar on Sunshine Superman? Donovan mastered psych folk. The Bob Dylan of Britain released Sunshine Superman, his third album, to much fanfare. The album has “Sunshine Superman” on it (featuring Jimmy Page on guitar). It also has “Season of the Witch.” Another difficult choice.

#7: The Exciting Wilson Pickett by Wilson Pickett vs. #10: The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators by The 13th Floor Elevators (DEBUT)

Now we are on to the ones that are supposed to be close 🙂 – and we get a battle of completely different albums. One, true soul, the other garage psychedelic innovation. Pickett’s second album put him on a wider map. He had four big hits including “In the Midnight Hour,” “Land of 1000 Dances,” “Ninety-nine and a Half (Won’t Do),” and “634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.).” Enough said. 13th Floor Elevators had Tommy Hall and the electric jug (that has to win something). “You’re Gonna Miss Me” is one of the most inspirational psychedelic songs of the era. This band oozed raw psychedelic talent. 

 

#8: Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme by Simon and Garfunkel vs. #9: Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton by John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers

A true toss up and matter of preference. Do you prefer folk or blues? Vote!

I hope you enjoyed the list. I know there are many albums left out but, like I said, this is a subjective top 16. Happy voting!

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