Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Battle of the Bands: Black History, Blues and Rock

Today is February and it is Black History month. I will celebrate by incorporating it into my theme. Imagine today's music without the  black contribution, imagine the music of the last century without the black contribution. The truth is we pay tribute to black musicians without even realizing it every month when we do these Battle of the Bands. Black culture and black musicians have created some outstanding music, creative musical genres, and have influence musicians of many races.

I will start with the Blues. I got into the Blues by travelling the musical influence of my Rock and Roll music. I was a huge Led Zeppelin fan (still am), Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. The roots of this music was easy to find and follow.

I'm going to pick a song written by Willie Dixon and performed by Howlin' Wolf. I love Dixon's songs and could (and have) listened to Howlin' Wolf sing the blues for hours. Wolf died in 1976 so I didn't get to see him perform, but I did get a chance to see and meet his guitarist Hubert Sumlin which was a thrill.  The song is "Backdoor Man" was written in 1960 and recorded in 1961. This version by Howlin' Wolf.

My contenders are going to be from he Rock world to show an example of Blues and black musicians helped shape and influence it.

Contender One: The Doors

Contender Two: Quicksilver Messenger Service

In the end it turns into a fun rocking battle. Who gets your vote? Vote in the comments and we will have a winner soon! Please check out the other contestants links should be up here.


Michele Truhlik said...

I've always been a Doors fan and today is no different. Ray Manzarek's keyboards on this song get me every time. My vote goes to The Doors.

Thanks for providing Howlin' Wolf's version. That was awesome!

Michele at Angels Bark

Arlee Bird said...

The version by The Doors is the one that I'm most familiar with--they do a great job. I've never heard the version by QMS, but they are one of my favorite groups. I like all the crazy stuff they've got going on in their version. But in the end I've got to stick with the Doors' version. Love that skanky organ sound and Morrison's lascivious vocals. Great late night listening.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Cathy Kennedy said...


The Doors has some excellent mewsic. Unfortunately, I didn't care too much for their cover of "Back Door Man". It seemed to me they tried to keep it close to Howlin Wolf but fell short but QMS (who's new-to-me) was totally different with their rendition and I liked the horns, too. Please give my vote to QMS. When you get a chance please hop over to vote in my first Feb. BoTB edition which I posted on Jan. 31st since Wednesdays I'm busy with WW. Have a good day!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Since the very founding of BOTB, I have intended to put Howlin' Wolf versus The Doors on 'Back Door Man'. I wasn't going to use this version by Wolf that you've posted here, but rather his original, which I think is much better.

Probably the only reason I still haven't created that Battle is because I figured The Doors would win in a blowout -- BOTBers being largely a Rock crowd. However, if you had used Wolf against The Doors (one of only a small handful of Rock bands from my youth that I still listen to) this would have been a toughie for me.

But as it is, this is a slam-dunk for THE DOORS! Although Quicksilver Messenger Service had one of the best names in Rock history, and I owned a couple of their albums back in my teens, their version of 'Back Door Man' here is pretty atrocious. It sounds like a noodling cacophony by a bunch of teenagers in a garage. They have no concept how to create tension in the song. And this song needs tension; the lyrics demand it! Jim and Company nailed it!

I guess I should be glad you didn't put Howlin' Wolf up against The Doors, because then I'd be in a real quandary about my vote. But you made this one easy for me. Thanks!! :o)

~ D-FensDogG
Check out my new blog @
(Link:] Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

John Holton said...

Quicksilver's version seemed out-of-tune and I couldn't get my foot down on the beat, for some reason. I'll go with The Doors.

Howlin' Wolf (who died before I could see him) had the best version of this, of course, but I always liked The Blues Project's version, with Tommy Flanders doing the vocal:

Birgit said...

I really like Quicksilver because I could get into it more. I love the Doors but this version fell flat so I'm going with Quicksilver..

Mary Burris said...

The Doors have a special place in my heart, as I have many memories tied to some of their tunes. That being said, I don't particularly care for their version of this song. I found Quicksilver a lot easier to listen to. My vote today goes to Quicksilver.