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Why is a singer one of your favorites?

Jerry Rasmussen 25 Sep 04 - 09:30 PM
freda underhill 25 Sep 04 - 10:37 PM
sharyn 25 Sep 04 - 11:04 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Sep 04 - 06:57 AM
Claire M 15 Aug 12 - 04:08 PM
Elmore 15 Aug 12 - 07:55 PM
gnu 15 Aug 12 - 08:05 PM
Elmore 16 Aug 12 - 01:23 AM
Elmore 16 Aug 12 - 01:25 AM
SonnyWalkman 16 Aug 12 - 10:56 AM
blinddrunkal 16 Aug 12 - 12:33 PM
GUEST 16 Aug 12 - 01:24 PM
Larry The Radio Guy 16 Aug 12 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,petecockermouth 16 Aug 12 - 03:33 PM
Gurney 16 Aug 12 - 05:24 PM
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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Sep 04 - 09:30 PM

Hey, Weelittle:

I understand what you're saying, although I wouldn't go so far as to say I don't care whether people can sing on key. But, feeling that the person is present in the song and sharing of themselves, as well as the music means a lot to me. There are some singers I've really loved to hear in person, who never quite made the transition to electronic impulses coming out of a speaker. There is an extra dimension, hearing and being in the presence of a person, rather than just hearing a recording. Some people manage to squeeze through the wires and emerg out of the speaker three-dimensionally, but many don't.

Many, many years ago, I ran what I called a Potlatch. It's a native American term for a gathering where the one who is most generous wins.
I thought was a good attitude for a "song swap." It was interesting to see the dynamics of the group. Some people came and tried to impress everyone else and then, when I didn't offer them a booking in the concert series I was running, were never seen again. The people who came ran the gamut from casual professionals who had released records, to young musicians making their first, tentative effor at singing in front of a group. In the middle, I guess, were singers who had been singing and playing instruments all of their life and were who they were...

Of all the people in that gathering, the one I enjoyed listening to the most was this tall, lanky, awkward, modest, bashful guy in his 40's or 50's. He played 5-string banjo, but only knew three chords. At least that's all I ever heard him play. He didn't know how to pick or frail the banjo, so he just strummed it. He did every song in the same key with those same three chords with the same rhythm.
He was by far the least accomplished of all the musicians and singers who came. His voice wasn't anything special, either... rather dry and emotionless. But, there was something about the way he completely immersed himself in each song, like they were his beloved children. As far as I could tell, he only knew a few songs, because when he came, he'd always do the same ones. But man, I really loved to hear that guy sing and play. I never got tired of him. He'd just come in, talk a little with people, and sit down. And when it was his turn, everything in him came out in the song.

I am not overly impressed with technique. They can teach bears to rollerskate. It takes more than technique, or a great voice to grab me.

But, I do care whether they can hit the notes...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: freda underhill
Date: 25 Sep 04 - 10:37 PM

Gerry Humphries (the Loved Ones, a Melbourne rock band) had a singing voice which was powerful, rhythmic and raunchy, and straight from the thighs. I love his singing, it is passionate and potent. Formerly a jazz musician and singer, his bluesy creative voice is the best.

There are two australian singers, Ruth Forshaw and Stephanie Osfield, whose voices are so free and melodic, and the tones so clear. They sang together with some other musicians as The Creel, and only produced one CD (Appelation). Their voices on this CD are angelic and haunting.

Sean Keane, an Irish singer, has a soft, sensuous voice, a thick accent and just a beautiful quality to his singing. he is a great storyteller, he is another one of my loves.

martin whyndam read is more than a collector and fine singer. He has returned to the roots of australian music , back from the punchy feisty sweaty style that became popular in the 60s here. Martin sings australian traditional songs the way they should be sung, the way they were sung in the old days, with longing, with sadness, and with gentleness. his singing has brought the old songs alive for me.

freda


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: sharyn
Date: 25 Sep 04 - 11:04 PM

I like singers who have a sense of humor, who may be enormously talented guitar-players or songwriters, but who manage to laugh at themselves instead of thinking they are all that. There is a generosity to them as well -- if they write songs themselves, they also do covers because they acknowledge that there are a lot of fine songs in the world. I agree with Jerry that they need to be able to sing in tune. I also like singers who have steeped themselves in some kind of traditional music. Examples are Chris Smither, who does exquisite covers of blues standards and good covers of Dylan songs, Richard Thompson who is at home singing "Bogie's Bonnie 'Belle" and "Honky-Tonk Blues," and Lyle Lovett, who did a double album tribute to Texas songwriters.

Then there are qualities that it is hard to name, like presence or sincerity, the ability to inhabit a song. Jeannie Robertson had it, Cindy Kallet has it -- it's a permeability, an ability to be vulnerable to what you are singing and whatever it brings up for you.

The rest is mere preference: as I write this I am listening to kd lang's Hymns of the 49th Parallel, the first kd lang album I have owned. I like the sound of her voice, the tones. I don't always like her arrangements and I can't stand a few of the songs on this cd, but I like the overall sound -- I find it soothing. I've only had it a week, so I don't know if she will make it into favorite status. And even my favorite singers sometimes sing material that leaves me cold, which makes me not like them: I couldn't stand Dick Gaughan's "A Different Kind of Lovesong" album or Joni Mitchell's "The Hissing of Summer Lawns
and I generally like them both and look forward to their recordings and concerts.


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Sep 04 - 06:57 AM

You said it all, Sharyn:

I can respond to a singer, just because of their talent. They may or may not be someone I'd like to sit around talking with (or listening to talk) for an evening, but I can enjoy them just because of their gift. But, there is another dimension to their singing if they recognize their gift as being just that. Cindy Kallett, Jean Ritchie, Ed Trickett and many others I've had the pleasure to book over the years have that basic humility which makes them wonderful people to know, as well as to listen to.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: Claire M
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 04:08 PM

Hiya,

I'll have to give Mississippi John Hurt a listen.

I always come back to Maddy Prior.    When I was little I thought she was some mythical creature who really did talk in those old fashioned words. Her voice left me spellbound as a child & it still does. I've never been disappointed by her work with or without Steeleye. (I do like a nasty, gloomy song, & they do it so well.)

I've heard some amazing stuff & been to amazing concerts because of my appreciation of her; mum got me a cd with gallery hymns on, just because she was on it. & when I heard her version of 'Down In The Valley To Pray', I had to have the cd it was on, which has since been played to death. It always puts me in a good mood. I don't have a care in the world when it's on.

One of my biggest regrets is not seeing her live before.
I'd love to hear her do some vocals like   
this , but I've heard that ruins your voice.
I'd also love to hear her do 'When I was No But Sweet 16' and maybe a whole album of blues covers.

When you know someone's good, you never tire of them; you look forward to playing their cds even after hearing them 1,000,000 times, you're never ashamed of liking them, & you never want to box said cds up or give them away.


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: Elmore
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 07:55 PM

Elizabeth Laprelle is one of my favorite singers, because when she sings a ballad she brings me right into the story and the time frame.


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: gnu
Date: 15 Aug 12 - 08:05 PM

I saw Tommy Makem many years ago... not only did he sing to my heritage but, I was in the fourth row, some 40 feet away, and I felt his voice reverberate in my chest. A singer that powerful can make an inpression on you.


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: Elmore
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 01:23 AM

Tommy was grat. I miss him, and all the wonderful Irish performers who have left us.


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: Elmore
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 01:25 AM

Tommy was GREAT!


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: SonnyWalkman
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 10:56 AM

For me it's not necessarily about the musicality, it's more about the delivery.

Some people who have experienced life's highs and lows seem to express that in their voices. Both Townes Van Zandt and Chet Baker have voices which wouldn't be considered as musically great, but they can make both make a sad song sound even sadder and put a blue edge on a happy song. They could sing the phone book and make me cry.


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: blinddrunkal
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 12:33 PM

Dolores Keane with a voice of heart-breaking maturity and experience, sings every song as if she's lived it , as do Norma Waterson, Amalia Rodrigues, Cerys Matthews, and John Stewart.


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 01:24 PM

I started to post a long dissertation, then I realized, I know all of them so I can't be objective.

I like a voice that can stay on pitch, has a pleasing timbre, and tells me something that I want to hear.


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 03:06 PM

I'm going to move away from the folk or singer/songwriter genre, and vote for somebody whose voice and singing style, to me, makes me exceptional. Thew late Gene (aka Eugene) McDaniels.

Why? It may be history....I loved his 'pop' hits of the early 60's....100 pounds of Clay, POint of No Return, Tower of Strength, Walk With a Winner, etc; they weren't all great songs, but his vocal dexterity was so incredible....and the different dynamics and 'expression' made the songs come alive.


He later became a songwriter and producer....but his vocals were to me still the hilight. His best lp was from 1962, called The Wonderful World of Gene McDaniels, where one of the exceptional numbers was his vocal version of Thelonius Monk's "Straight No Chaser"

On his last recording, Evolution's Child....a couple years ago, just a year before his death, he added lyrics to some great jazz tunes (eg. Giant Steps....where he really sounds like a male Sarah Vaughn)...and his voice was as amazing as ever.


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: GUEST,petecockermouth
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 03:33 PM

i can still remember visiting my sister at uni when i was 15 and looking at the cover of john martyn's 'bless the weather'- just the coolest thing and i knew i would love it before i heard it. 30 ish years later i saw him playing in the breakfast bar of a hotel in perthshire, just after the legoff. maybe he was the first to offer me an alternative (he actually was one of the first to offer me a joint!) maybe he has always represented my youth..... he was not always a nice man but he was all heart and probably not too much head. i can be awed by dylan or richard thompson's guitar and transported by gillian welch and i'll dance to anyone but i just love john martyn -there is a warmth to his music only matched by joe strummer - both very sadly missed


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Subject: RE: Why is a singer one of your favorites?
From: Gurney
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 05:24 PM

The only singer whose entire CD output I have collected, mostly at full price and sometimes with difficulty, is Madeleine Peyroux.
Well, all but the first. Can't get that one.
I think it is mostly that I like her accompaniments, which can range from a single Spanish guitar to a jazz group, and that her timing sometimes seems almost a little ragged, and that she doesn't imitate anyone else.


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