Sunday Morning Coming Down

The past two years, my daughters began their riding season in Texas. The organizers have shown their hospitality to the many riders, and their families, in attendance. After the day’s competition finished, every night, it was all the Texas BBQ you could eat. In addition to the barbeque dinner, extra entertainment would follow. While torrential rains and flooding were part of the show this year, the evening’s activities always went on as scheduled. The one night everyone looked forward to was the BBQ Karaoke night, a Texas BBQ dinner followed by a singing contest featuring riders doing their best, or favorite, song. Of some 170 riders in attendance, 10 were signed up at the start of the horse show. By the time karaoke night arrived, the number of contestants was 15. Better yet, it was a rain-free night.

The defending champion in this event was Elizabeth. She has inherited all of her mother’s considerable musical talent, and then some. She had won an open music contest in high school, both her junior and senior years. Several other riders in the singing contest good-naturedly called Elizabeth the “ringer” in the contest. In last year’s contest, Elizabeth won the blue ribbon and two pair of black leather riding gloves. This year’s contest, the winning prize was a pair of black English riding boots plus leather riding gloves and a blue ribbon. Before the contest began, it was announced a $350 cash prize would be awarded to the winner (contributed by several vendors). It was certainly a nice extra.

This year’s music theme, 80’s and 90’s oldies. It was almost right to the strength of Elizabeth’s music favorites from that “era”. The song she selected was “Guilty”. Composed by the Bee Gees, the song has largely been performed as a duet. Elizabeth asked if she could keep the song as a duet, or if she had to sing it solo. If she knew someone who will sing the other part as a duet, Elizabeth could. The someone she had in mind was dad. No pressure here.

While most karaoke tracks are a little more than singable muzak, limited by their catalogs, they used a setup with studio-type tracks and an extensive catalog. It was paired with a very responsive sound system. As such, it meant a fairly decent performance was required.

A blind draw was held to determine start order. Elizabeth drew #14, second to last. From a competition point of view, not a bad position to have. She knew, we knew, what kind of performance was needed to win. Our practice consisted of a thorough reading of the lyrics and an a capella session. The track we were singing to was the more lively, brighter arrangement used several years ago. Contest time came soon enough, and so did our turn. Our two biggest fans, Deborah and Tara, said we were “in the zone”. And, that everyone noticed. They said the echoes from Elizabeth’s voice sent chills through the crowd.

Elizabeth repeated as champion.

Then, there was Beachcomber Night. With a singing contest. And, a challenging competitor.

Side Note:

The more lively, brighter arrangement of “Guilty” was performed by Barry Gibb and Olivia Newton-John in 2009. A video of that performance can be viewed here.

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4 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Coming Down

  1. What a wonderful post! And what a lot of fun. I don’t remember hearing “Guilty” before, but I liked the live version you linked to. Congratulations to Elizabeth the reigning champion!

    1. Thank you, Timothy.

      When “Guilty” was composed in 1980 by the Bee Gees, it was in their first batch of songs as they tried to move on from disco. Barry Gibb sang the song solo, in falsetto from beginning to end, on the demo recording. Though it was an unplugged rendition, the tempo seemed painfully slow. When Barbra Streisand selected it, for her album of the same name, the tempo of the arrangement was much better. But, it had “disco overtones” in her rendition. After its run in the Billboard Top Ten, the song faded away. “Guilty” made a comeback of sorts when Barry Gibb and Olivia Newton-John performed it in 2009 (what you saw in the video link). The tempo was better, the arrangement was better, and Olivia sang it better. It was the 2009 arrangement we had for the singing contest.

      1. I was moving away from disco myself in 1980, so I did not listen to anything by the Bee Gees unless I was forced to. I hated disco in the ’70’s, but as I got into competitive dance starting in 1977, I had to learn all the disco dances of the day and the disco music went with the dances. While I still don’t care much for disco, I have come to appreciate it much more today than I did in the ’70’s.

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