Odd Couples

Husband drives to Bismarck for work every Tuesday night, and returns home Wednesday night. He is usually pretty tired on both drives, and cranks up music on the radio to keep himself awake.

The other night he listened to the Sinatra station, and heard what he thought was one of the oddest duets he ever heard. It featured Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin singing What Now, My Love.

I have to agree with husband that this is quite weird. I can’t imagine what possessed the Queen of Soul to sing that with Ol’ Blue Eyes. Their styles are so different and not really compatible. Sort of like Ozzy Osbourne singing gospel music with Amy Grant.

What music keeps you awake when you drive? What are your favorite duets? What are some duets you wouldn’t want to hear?

44 thoughts on “Odd Couples”

  1. For a chunk of my adult life whenever I felt like I couldn’t stave off drooping eyelids while driving, I will pull over to the side of the road, get out of the car and do jumping jacks. Didn’t take very many, but it woke me up entirely. Then I started listening to books on CD in the car. And I haven’t had to do jumping jacks since. Something about listening to the book engages just enough of my brain that I don’t doze off. Win-win.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I prefer audiobooks on long drives too, VS, but a dull reader can put me to sleep faster than bad music can. Conversely, the best voice actors could read the dictionary and keep me awake for 24 straight hours. 🙂


      Liked by 5 people

      1. When I travel, no matter how I travel, I always overestimate how much I can get read, even on CD. So if I’m on a long trip and the book just isn’t doing it for me, whether it’s the narrator (Amy Tan), or I can’t stand the characters/story anymore, I can switch to another CD. But I do agree there are some narrators that I could listen to all day and all night long. Can anyone say Simon Vance?

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        1. I know you do. I love Amy Tan as an author, but just not as a narrator. She gets to quiet quite often, and I find that I have to have the CD or audiobook, turned up pretty loud in order to hear her quiet stuff.

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  2. It is always interesting to me that the voices of family members, in families that can sing, are so similar in tone, as though they inherited the same larynx. Daughter’s best friend, who is a wonderful singer, could never sing next to a certain other girl in their high school choir because their vibratos clashed and sounded as though they were fighting.

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  3. Classical generally doesn’t work well on the road because of the dynamic range. Rock, pop, or similar works better because it tends to be a more consistant volume.

    I like music with a danceable beat, or good energy, or something I can sing along with or harmonize to.

    For years, we started our road trips with Huey Lewis & The News’ album “Fore.” Lots of good songs, upbeat, singable (even for my tonally challenged wife).

    Tony Bennett’s duet series with famous female pop stars is pretty good. Some Louie Armstrong/Ella Fitzgerald duets are classics.

    Can’t think of a specific duet no-no, but I can’t imagine a severe cross-genre duet like an opera singer paired with a heavy metal lead voice like Steven Tyler would be tolerable. For that matter, I’ll pass on most operatic singing–too fake sounding to me. High skill level needed? OF COURSE. I’m not saying it’s bad singing, just not my cup of port.

    Chris in Owatonna

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  4. We don’t generally choose audiobooks when driving but rather favor podcasts. There are so many engaging ones from which to choose and they are virtually always available.

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  5. I have a folder of CDs in the car that includes some Beethoven, another classical mix, some Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkle, Taj Mahal, Eva Cassidy, Beatles, Willie & Lobo, a Keepers favorites, a mix of Joel’s favorites, and a couple of sound tracks – Oh Brother Where Art Thou and Rainman. Oh, and one I got from Steve – Ali Farka Toure with Ry Cooder.

    Some other odd couples that I like (so far, anyway) are Lady Gaga with Tony Bennett, and Allison Kraus with Robert Plant.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

      That is an odd duet—the two styles of singing do not make much sense musically. Tony Bennet did duets with many other singers, and I enjoy those, particularly the one with KD Lang. I also love Dolly Parton and Vince Gill singing “I Will Always Love You.” That song is so overdone by many people, but I do enjoy that version.

      Worst duet combo ever is—drum roll:

      Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. Those two are favorites of mine, but a duet? It is like listening to fingernails on a chalkboard. Shudder

      Liked by 3 people

  6. We listen to audio books when we travel. Everything everyone said about narrators is accurate—a bad boring narrator can induce sleep. Favorite narrators that never put me to sleep are George Guidell, Barbara Rosenblatt, Julia Whelan.

    When I head down the road I often listen to Johnny Cash’s“ old, old album “Folsom Prison.” He banters with his captive audience which is interesting, but what keeps me awake is the heavy rhythms of the songs that hit the scene and set him apart from everyone else.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One more thing: One of our favorite listens while we drove to Arizona through New Mexico was Michael McGarrity’s trilogy about the settling of New Mexico. George Guidell narrates this.

      Hard Country
      Back Lands
      The Last Ranch

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    2. I think I’m the only one on the planet that doesn’t like George Guidell . I think part of it is because the very first book I listened to that was narrated by him was a book that I didn’t care for and it had a lot of those run-on lists of things where the list just goes on and on and on. And so now whenever I hear his voice, it takes me right back to that book.


  7. Rockstar energy drinks, that’s what keeps me awake. If only to have to answer the call of nature every hour because of all the caffeine 🙂

    I laughed out loud at the thought of Ozzy Osbourne singing gospel songs. And I would hope that Grant would know better than to team up with him 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have the audiobook also. It’s not bad, but the narrator is not going to be one of my favorites. She has a sort of a gritty voice that she uses for Marin, but she sometimes uses the same voice for Cornelia. It’s starting to grate on me a bit.

      One thing that bothered me at the start of this book was that it seemed that there were a number of quotes and bible verses and such at the beginning. When you encounter that in a traditional book, it’s obvious what the author is doing, because the quotes are set out by themselves, often in italics. In an audiobook, I think they should use a different voice for those, so that you can separate them in your head from the actual narrative of the book.

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  8. we have guitar night at my house once a week and we have a new guy show up every now and again and it’s interesting how they perceive out normal operating mode
    mark is a computer programmer who has 2500 songs in his ipad with his corrected chord changes and notations
    gerry has a real flair for finding a singable song we would have elsewise have forgotten about and the ones he picks are always great
    the other night i asked mark to pull up happy trails from roy rogers and dale evens and mark said he didn’t have it. the new person said well tim just show us how it goes and i said i don’t know how it goes i just wanted to play it
    mark explained that i pull songs out of the air and they just fit the moment
    i never really thought about it but it’s true
    i love pandora because i can plug in an artist and off we go in that mode of the monent
    john prine
    lyle lovett
    the other day harry nilssen
    eta james
    janis joplin
    george gershwin leonard bernstein yo yo ma
    django reinhardt
    the beatles herman’s hermits
    ruby tuesday
    they’re coming to take me away ha ha

    my mood and bent changes so fast it’s perfect for the moment then it’s done

    doc watson
    norah jones
    grace jones
    blossom dearie

    man what keeps me rolling down the road … the next request
    i guess apple music is the best but im a pandora guy

    i love those mismatched duets
    dylan johnny cash is a favorite
    prines duets
    tony bennett’s
    ray charles
    david bowie and bing crosby
    nat king cole and his daughter

    willie has lots of good ones

    baby it’s cold out there is grea and i don’t even know who he’s singing with


    it’s magic

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I hesitated to play this because I can’t stand Lou’s voice, but I know they have a wonderful sense of humor and I like the lyrics to many of their songs, so I gave it a listen. In this song her voice actually works quite nicely for the purposes of splitting up yodeling. It amazes me that these two have continued to perform as a duo after divorcing almost fifty years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

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