Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Round 6: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terell Vs. Amy Winehouse

In 1967, Motown released one of the most beloved duets in popular music, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

Marvin Gaye's and Tammi Terrell's voices blended beautifully as two lovers committing their deep love for each other.  The Funk Brothers, Motown's session band created a mysteriously haunting opening that blossomed beautifully into the celebratory chorus.  


Amy Winehouse featured "Tears Dry On Their Own" on her breakout album Back to Back.  This song flawlessly rerecorded the insturmental backgrouds of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and added new lyrics and a new melody.

It's like a dream to hear the backgrounds recorded with such reverence and soul.  It's a reminder of the power of live musicians and how great the Funk Brothers original arrangements were.  Winehouse adds a flowing melody and through her unique almost Tom Waits-like singing tells a passionate and bluesy story.

The Winner:

I love Winehouse but she's no Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terell.  The way that they duet is pure joy.  You could listen to just the insturmental background of both "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Tears Dry On Their Own" and be floored by the power of that music, heck you would feel it with the just bass line.  And listening to just the vocal teack of Marvin and Tammi is a relevation.  However Winehouses performance on this song is just not on the same level.

Next Week: Coolio Vs. Stevie Wonder

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