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Rate-O-Rama: Take Me To The River

Rate-O-Rama #32: Al Green, Talking Heads, Lorde

By Rick Henry Christopher Published about a month ago Updated about a month ago 4 min read
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Al Green / Talking Heads / Lorde

Welcome to Rate-O-Rama!

If you wish to receive a notice when the next Rate-O-Rama post is published please mention that you would like a notification in the comments section.

Rate-O-Rama is a reader participation game.

Every Wednesday evening I will publish a Rate-O-Rama article which will feature three versions of a popular song.

The object is to listen to each of the music videos provided within the post.

After listening to each video you can rate each song in the comments section below.

(You must be a member to comment. If you are not a member you can join Vocal Media for FREE. You don’t ever have to pay for membership unless you choose to upgrade your membership)

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The rating method is easy. Simply give each song a rating of 1 to 100.

(The more you like the song the higher the rating).

If possible, please provide a brief comment to let us now what you think of each song.

After a week (Wednesday evening) I will tally the ratings and in the next Rate-O-Rama post, I will announce the average rating each song received.

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Last week we featured the Rhythm & Blues classic: “I Put a Spell on You" as recorded by Screamin' Jay Hawkins (1956), Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968), and Annie Lennox (2014).

The following are the average ratings for each song as a result of the votes:

🥇 Monkees: 96.5

🥈 Neil Diamond: 89.4

🥉 Smash Mouth: 83.9

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The Thirty Second Edition of Rate-O-Rama features three renditions of the R&B and Post-Punk classic: “Take Me To The River."

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Al Green (1974)

In 1973, Al Green collaborated with Mabon Hodges to write "Take Me To The River," completing the song in just three days. Hodges plays lead and rhythm guitar on most of Al Green's hits. Al Green wrote the lyrics while he and Mabon co-composed the music.

“Take Me To The River” has been recorded by many different musicians and has been a hit several times.

In 1999 the tune was used in the popular animatronic singing toy "Big Mouth Billy Bass". This recording sung by Steve Haas was arranged and produced for the toy's manufacturers, Gemmy Industries.

In 2004, Al Green's original version was ranked number 117 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In 2011, the 1974 recording by Al Green was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

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Talking Heads (1978)

To date Talking Heads have the biggest hit with “Take Me To the River” (we'll see if this stands over the next few months as Lorde is currently making waves with her new release).

Co-produced by Talking Heads and Brian Eno, this rendition turns Al Green's Gospel-inflected R&B tune about Teenage lust and Holy Baptism into a chilling post-punk classic with strains of ambient a la Eno.

Talking Heads took this song to #26 in the US as well as #20 in New Zealand, #34 in Canada, and #58 in Australia.

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Lorde (2024)

Lorde's goal in recording “Take Me To The River” was to invoke the same untamed youthfulness she felt in the moment she first watched Byrne perform. “We did it fast, I didn’t let myself tidy it up too much,” she said of the track. “It had to feel young and imperfect.”

The track was produced by Jim-E Stack, who has worked with some of today's brightest stars including Bon Iver, Charlie XCX, and Kacy Hill.

The single was released on March 28, 2024, to positive reviews and an excited fan base. The song will be featured on the upcoming tribute album: Everyone’s Getting Involved: A Tribute to Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense.

Lorde first discovered Talking Heads at age twelve in 2008.

Lorde’s mother, sensing her daughter’s constant burning urge to express herself, shows her a YouTube video.

Lorde commented about the video, “In the video, I see a band from another time performing on a TV show. The lead singer wears a suit, has high cheekbones and slicked-back dark hair. To his left, a blonde girl plays bass. They stand in pools of light. The dark-haired man is singing a song about wanting someone, not being sure why. He is a preacher, a controlled fire, a wild animal. He’s moving like I've never seen anyone move, and his eyes are rolling back in his head.”

Immediately Lorde felt a connection to Talking Heads' quirky strangeness.

(Sources: Out culture Magazine and Rolling Stones Magazine)

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My Thoughts

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Al Green:

Al Green was one of the best and one of the most popular R&B soul singers of the 1970s. Green became a pastor in 1976 just two years after his girlfriend committed suicide. I was (and still am) a big fan of his music. I love this man's voice. He has a great sense of timing and rhythm and inflects a little bit of funk into everything he sings. He is a true classic all the way through. I give his rendition of the song a 100.

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Talking Heads:

From 1979 through 1982 Talking Heads was my favorite band. I loved everything Talking Heads and related (Tom Tom Club, David Byrne solo, Jerry Harrison solo, Brian Eno, Adrian Belew, etc). I am still a huge fan.

So, David Byrne technically may not be a great singer but he uses his voice to his advantage and it fits the post-punk mode perfectly.

In the Heads' version, I love David Byrne's guitar work and Brian Eno's electronic sounds. This one also earns an easy 100 from me.

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Lorde:

In 2013 I was talking with one of my younger friends about music. I asked what was great on the current scene. Immediately she mentioned Lorde. I bought her album Pure Heroine and I liked it quite a bit. In researching songs for this week's R-O-R I came across this. On my first listen I loved Lorde's rendition. The musical arrangement is excellent. I give Lorde a 99.

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I will be back next week with the results of this Rate-O-Rama Edition.

Last Week's Rate-O-Rama:

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With Love, RHC ❤️

pop culturesynthsong reviewssocial mediarockpunkpopnew wavehistoryfeaturedanceartalt rockalternative80s music70s music
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About the Creator

Rick Henry Christopher

Writing is a distraction to fulfill my need for intellectual stimulus, emotional release, and soothing the bruises of the day.

The shattered pieces of life will not discourage me.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/vocalplusassist

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Comments (9)

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  • Scott Christenson26 days ago

    Al Green 85 Talking Heads 100 Lorde 75 Great song! Random topic, has there ever been any thoughts on why some songs spur so many good cover, and other songs seem to be "uncoverable" ? For one of my hamster videos, I was looking for a cover of Gwen Stefani's The Sweet Escape, and there's literally nothing out there. Maybe I can write an article on somethign related in books. "Unfilmable Books" They said the three body problem was "unfilmable" but the netflix verison is ok, maybe someday someone will figure out how to do "The Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy"

  • Novel Allen27 days ago

    Cant make up my mind So like Oprah said------ Everybody gets 100 Al gets 100 TH gets 100 Lorde gets 100

  • Shirley Belkabout a month ago

    Talking Heads=100 Al Green=90 Lorde=65

  • Gerard DiLeoabout a month ago

    I saw Al Green at the House of Blues and was very disappointed. He basically held out the mic to the audience for their singalong instead of him singing. It's funny how a disappointing live performance can sour you to someone's entire catalog. (I saw Dylan perform with his back turned to the audience the entire show, with unintelligible vocals--never put a penny in his pocket again.) Ah, but Talking Heads. First time I heard them was in 1977, stoned, at a friend's house, uptown New Orleans. Music had been lumbering along the techno beat of Disco when Byne & co. pushed me sideways into a whole new tangential perspective. I don't know why I think of "sideways," but it seems to fit. (In contrast, the Hendrix discordant tritone introduction to Purple Haze I first heard upon its debut pushed me upwards, to look with disdain at where the 60's music scene was heading. I follow music in directions, even to spreading out concentrically and evenly on the fertile ground of Classical. But Talking Heads was definitely sideways. Thanks for this.

  • Tiffany Gordon about a month ago

    Al Green was smooth with it! He gets 100 Lorde brought it 85 TH was unique They receive 79

  • Vicki Lawana Trusselli about a month ago

    Al Green gets 100 Talking Heads get 100 Lorde gets 100 I just think it's a great song and each of these artists performs their way by still keeping the first performance by Al Green with the same bears of each chord as it plays to audiences on YouTube

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Rating each one 100.

  • Mariann Carrollabout a month ago

    I was not surprised about the monkees 💕Lorde 💯, maybe it’s her voice

  • Tom Bakerabout a month ago

    "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads is a personal favorite. Like "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" by The Adverts, or "The Legend of Pat Brown" by The Vandals, the song sort of exemplifies a certain theme of the "lone nut." I'll vote for the Talking Heads.

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