35 posts tagged with singer by flapjax at midnite.
Displaying 1 through 35 of 35.
Country crooner Slim Whitman has passed away at the grand old age of 90. His gentle, relaxed and pristine voice (featuring an effortlessly soaring falsetto and a mighty fine yodel, friends) is the kind that, well, you just don't really hear anymore on the pop music landscape. Let's take a moment to revisit a musical aesthetic that now seems a million miles away... Cattle Call, Rose Marie, North Wind, Blues Stay Away From Me and Indian Love Call. So long and happy trails, Slim.
Well, folks, Eric Burdon turned 72 today. And the man deserves some props, you know, for Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood and It's My Life and We Gotta Get Out of This Place and Don't Bring Me Down and a few other tunes as well. Oh, and he brought House of the Rising Sun to, yeah, a whole new generation. Happy birthday, Eric.
On this day in 1963, in a tragic plane crash, America lost one of its finest singers: Patsy Cline. While many are familiar with her acclaimed rendition of the Willie Nelson-penned Crazy, let's pay a visit to some lesser-known but nonetheless masterfully impressive vocal performances from that sublime, transcendent voice, shall we? Here's two live TV spots: Patsy in full cowgirl regalia with a delightful performance of the Hank Williams classic Lovesick Blues and the snazzy Walking After Midnight, one of the tunes that reminds us that Patsy could've just as easily been marketed as a pop/jazzy chanteuse as the *country* artist she was presented to the world as. And here's the gorgeously smooth studio renditions of She's Got You and I Fall To Pieces, and... [more inside]
When Staple Singers hits like I’ll Take You There and If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me) came on the radio, it was easy to get lost in Mavis Staples’ raspy, soulful lead vocals. But if you listened closer, a key element in the Chicago gospel-soul group’s warmly distinctive sound was the deft soprano harmony of Mavis’ sister Cleotha Staples, who died on Feb. 21 at age 78 in Chicago. RIP Cleotha Staples.
Funk singer Marva Whitney, who was dubbed Soul Sister #1 by her mentor James Brown, has passed away at the age of 68. Backed by the whip-crack James Brown band (the JBs), Whitney's raw expression was just what the doctor ordered for those who wanted their funk uncut. Witness the supreme grooving goodness of It's My Thing (live TV appearance), Unwind Yourself, What Do I Have To Do To Prove My Love To You, I Made a Mistake Because It's Only You, and Things Got to Get Better (another live TV appearance, with James Brown himself conducting the band and Whitney resplendent in platinum blonde afro). Here she is in a southern-flavored soul ditty recorded for Excello in 1972 called Live and Let Live. Later in her career she cut an album with a JBs soundalike band from Japan called Osaka Monaurail, which included a recreation of the James Brown hit Give It Up or Turnit a Loose. And here's a radio interview from 2006, in which she reminisces about meeting James Brown and working under his wing. Heaven is a funkier place tonight. RIP Marva Whitney. [more inside]
On this day in 1988, just three months shy of what would have been her 50th birthday, Christa Päffgen, better known as Nico, died. Her stark, no-frills delivery conveyed a kind of guilelessness and honesty that many listeners continue to find refreshing. These Days. I'll Keep It With Mine. Chelsea Girls. Femme Fatale. All Tomorrow's Parties. My Funny Valentine. The Fairest of the Seasons.
The Band singer and drummer Levon Helm is in the final stages of cancer, according to a note posted on his website Tuesday by his wife, Sandy, and daughter, Amy. [more inside]
The man who lent his wonderfully warm and soaring voice to the rolling soul ballad Get It While You Can, the limber southern funk of Eight Days on the Road, the coolly driving How Come My Bulldog Don't Bark, the mellow soul lilt (with breathtaking falsetto interjections!) of I Learned It All the Hard Way and so many other delightful soul numbers has died. Farewell Howard Tate. [more inside]
The original beatboxing. Sheila Chandra shows us how it's done.
Garry Shider, singer, guitarist and musical director of George Clinton's P-Funk All-Stars for much of their history, has passed on at age 56. Shider (the man in the diaper for so many P-Funk performances) was co-author of One Nation Under a Groove and many other masterpieces of the funk. RIP, Garry Shider.
Have you heard of Washington Phillips? He was possessed of a wonderful voice, and delivered his simple but gorgeous gospel tunes in an easy and utterly unprepossessing style. He accompanied himself not on guitar or piano, as might be expected, but rather on a chiming, delicately ethereal zither, lending a curiously timeless air to his recordings from the 1920s. An altogether unique performer, his music is a real treat for the soul: Take Your Burden To the Lord, What Are They Doing in Heaven Today, Denomination Blues, I Had a Good Father and Mother, Lift Him Up, Paul and Silas in Jail, Mother's Last Word To Her Son and Train Your Children. [more inside]
Though she didn't enjoy the same level of fame and fortune as her younger brother Cab, singer and bandleader (said to be the first African-American woman to lead an all-male orchestra) Blanche Calloway is a musician worth remembering and checking out if you're a fan of 1920s/30s jazz stylings. It's Right Here For You, It Looks Like Susie, I Gotta Swing, Last Dollar and I Got What It Takes.
In case you've never heard him, I'd like to introduce you to the sublimely soulful music of Kazuhira Takeshita, from Amami. [more inside]
Though Bessie Smith is regarded as the queen of the early blues singers, Martha Copeland was singing the blues and its variants (and doing a fine job of it) back in the 20s as well. Head over to Internet Archive to hear Martha sing her versions of two of the tunes that made Bessie so famous: I Ain't Got Nobody and St. Louis Blues, the latter with backing vocal chorus from the Hall Johnson Choir. Check out her Dying Crap Shooter's Blues and Sorrow Valley Blues. And there's plenty of Martha Copeland goodness for your ears (RealPlayer) here and here. [more inside]
Dee Dee Warwick, sister of Dionne and a fine soul singer in her own right, recently passed on to that other shore. This blog entry on Dee Dee features mp3 links to her wonderful cover of the Elvis Presley hit Suspicious Minds and the heartrending She Didn't Know. More: I'm Gonna Make You Love Me, Monday Monday and Foolish Fool.
Brazil's Gilberto Gil, now 66 years of age, is stepping down from his position as Minister of Culture to concentrate, once again, on his music career. That's good news for his fans, and here's some more good news: a huge chunk of his recorded work is available as streaming audio for your listening pleasure. [more inside]
Sometimes, when you've had your fill of people basking in the golden light of their self-righteous indignation, you just wanna hear a song about somebody telling those holier-than-thou-ers where to get off. Something like, say, Harper Valley PTA. [more inside]
Queens of Carnatic singing: Nithyasree Mahadevan: 1, 2 and 3. Sudha Ragunathan: 1, 2, 3 and 4. And the legend of the legends, M.S. Subbulakshmi, in her film appearances from decades past: 1, 2 and 3, and as an elder stateswoman of Carnatic vocal artistry: 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Head over to Cheikha Rimitti's MySpace page and listen to the first tune up on her player (starts when you open the page), called Saida. Whoa! Is that badass or what? Well, there's 5 other tunes of hers there for your listening pleasure, covering a wide swath of stylistic territory within the Algerian music tradition she was such an important part of. Yet another MySpace page pays tribute (with 4 more songs!) to this powerful singer, and you can also learn more about her at the Cheikha Rimitti website, which is in French, but with links like "Musique" and "Vidéos", you shouldn't have too much trouble with it. There's an informative English-language video biography of this "Mother of Raï", not to mention this performance footage (with those fantastic flutes!) of Saida. [more inside]
While many of Cuba's top musical figures left the country to pursue their careers in the US and elsewhere, the suave, hugely popular singer Benny Moré stayed. While he is a much loved and revered figure in Cuba, this great vocalist, who died in 1963, is not nearly as widely known outside the island nation as he should be. Viva Benny Moré! [NOTE: See hover-overs for link descriptions] [more inside]
When the discussion turns to 60s-era soul divas, the name of Bettye Swann isn't likely to be first on anyone's tongue. But she was possessed of a tender, supple and seductive voice, and she deserves to be heard and reconsidered. [more inside]
This is just too charming and endearingly goofy to miss: Renato Carosone's Tu Vuo' Fa' L'Americano (You're Acting All American). See also: O Sarracino, Torero and Maruzella.
Singer/songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Richard Thompson: songs of bittersweet longing, sublime eloquence, dark exuberance and ominous allusion. [more inside]
Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha.
Ever heard of Barbara Lynn? She was a rarity in the world of R&B in the early 60's: a black female songwriter, guitarist and singer. After a couple of decades out of the spotlight, she returned in 1999 with a new album. [more inside]
Legendary tremolo guitar king Link Wray discovered him singing gospel with the Mighty Clouds of Joy, and figured he might be the kind of rock'n'roll screamer he was looking for. If he was gonna sing the devil's music, though, he'd need another name, so they came up with a rather unlikely moniker: Bunker Hill. Just listen. [more inside]
Let's pay a visit to Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi, or Tuku, as he's affectionately known to his fans. His voice has a touch of that sweet soul gravel reminiscent of Georgia's Otis Redding, or Jamaica's Toots Hibberts, but his mellow fingerpicking guitar style and relaxed, loping grooves are African all the way. His earlier stuff is certainly worth going back to as well! And, hey, it's unlikely you'll hear too many other pop stars who sing lines like "Call the mother of my childfren. I am hurt. I was injured while training the ox." [more inside]
Lately I've been grooving to Hmong karaoke videos. Maybe it's the lovely, understated singing style, or those charming young ladies doing backup dance, smiling so beatifically as they do their minimal, bouncy step. Maybe it's the slinky pentatonic sax riffs, or those percussive, insistent strings plucking away over the hypnotically loping beats. Maybe it's the hats. Maybe it's the way some of them incorporate traditional instruments and costumes. Or maybe it's the sheer unlikeliness of lyrics like "tuaj nriav tus neeg zoo nraug" or "yuav mus nrog koj nyob." Everybody, sing along!
I thought I'd seen pretty much every bit of performance footage (whether live or lip-synched) featuring the Beatles, but lately I discovered some clips on YouKnowWhere that I hadn't seen before, and I'd wager there's more than a few folks out in MefiLand who've also missed these: a proto-psychedelic promo clip for Rain, and another promo clip for Hey Bulldog, and finally, this rarity, an alternate take of the promo clip for Hello Goodbye. Just for good measure, here's the more familiar (but still somewhat obscure) version.
Two divas with tall, I mean tall platinum blond
hair wigs at the height of their fame and vocal prowess sing the songs that made them legends. Ladies and gentlemen, blue-eyed soul queen Dusty Springfield, and the pride of Nashville, Tammy Wynette. And honorable mention to another top-heavy musical blond, purveyor of perky pedal-steel perfection Barbara Mandrell.
Somewhere along the line you've probably heard Bobbie Gentry's brilliant signature tune, Ode To Billy Joe, but unlike previously, now you can see a sad-eyed Bobbie perform it live, displaying the understated Southern soul delivery that, in addition to the delicious lyrics, lazy tempo and no-drums arrangement, made the tune such a milestone in US pop music history. But there was another side to Bobbie: down-home sex kitten! The gal could work a fire-engine red catsuit. Check her out! Go Bobbie!
In April of 1966, there emerged onto the American pop music scene a singer like no other. Off-pitch and off-tempo, a 59 year-old grandmother would perform rock standards such as A Hard Days Night and Downtown [link to audio] in a bizarre operatic style. Often considered the worst pop star of all time, she rode the line between farce and reality, as the reputable Capitol Records promoted the so-called "new sound" without cracking a smile. Her name was Elva Connes Miller, but on stage she was known simply as Mrs. Miller. Was her recording career one of the cruelest practical jokes ever devised by the record industry?