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Karaoke Rage

"After a day of barbering, Rodolfo Gregorio went to his neighborhood karaoke bar still smelling of talcum powder. Putting aside his glass of Red Horse Extra Strong beer, he grasped a microphone with a habitué’s self-assuredness and [...] belted out crowd-pleasers by Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck. But Mr. Gregorio, 63, a witness to countless fistfights and occasional stabbings erupting from disputes over karaoke singing, did not dare choose one beloved classic: Frank Sinatra’s version of “My Way.” “I used to like ‘My Way,’ but after all the trouble, I stopped singing it,” he said. “You can get killed." [more inside]
posted by applemeat on Feb 7, 2010 - 55 comments

 

Blanche Calloway, singer and bandleader, remembered

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.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 29, 2009 - 26 comments

"The little girl with the big voice."

Timi Yuro, an Italian-American singer born in Chicago (where, the story goes, her nanny snuck her into clubs to watch singers like Dinah Washington and Mildred Bailey), was arguable the greatest blue-eyed soul artist of the '60s. [more inside]
posted by The Card Cheat on Aug 22, 2009 - 8 comments

Lead singers are overrated...

Give the backup singers some! Ladies and gentlemen, it's... The Pips! [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 20, 2009 - 24 comments

Why We Must Ration Health Care

Why We Must Ration Health Care by Peter Singer.
posted by grouse on Jul 19, 2009 - 93 comments

Neko Case on Necco Wafers

Amusing NPR interview with Ms. Case From the NPR show "Not My Job", a rambling and entertaining interview with alt-country, loud singing, red-haired songstress Neko Case. On an unrelated note, I know she's American, but we Canucks like to claim her as our own, what with her Canadian Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and her collaborations with Canadian bands.
posted by dbarefoot on Jul 15, 2009 - 46 comments

Is this what they mean by "differently abled?"

Melody Gardot was a New York fashion student, until a hit-and-run driver left her disabled and in need of therapy—musical therapy. [more inside]
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism on Jun 29, 2009 - 32 comments

Chiseled in Stone

"The ability to convey the depths of despair, the heights of jubilation and the serenity of an abiding faith are all that is required to be known as “The Voice.” Unfortunately, very few possess the ability to do all that and what’s more unfortunate, we lost one of those few–possibly the best of those few–with the death of Vern Gosdin at the age of 74." [more inside]
posted by dawson on Apr 29, 2009 - 7 comments

Bradley Walker

Perhaps the greatest country baritone since George Jones is confined to a wheelchair by muscular dystrophy and has a day job at a nuclear power plant. [more inside]
posted by BitterOldPunk on Apr 14, 2009 - 29 comments

Gained in Translation?

Adam & Eve recorded live during a radio performance. Of course, all singer/songwriters have a first song, and a latest offering. In the not-quite-eighteen months that have passed between her first and latest posts, seventeen-year-old One Trick Pony has offered her unique musings on cannibalism, an American ex-president, infanticide?, human beings, and original sin (original version). She has also written over 20 other songs, received third place in a national youth talent competition, and begun getting some press. There are free downloads of some of her songs on last.fm. Blog in English. [more inside]
posted by secondhand on Dec 13, 2008 - 2 comments

Kazuhira Takeshita and his songs from Amami

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]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 29, 2008 - 10 comments

Martha Copeland, 20s-era blues singer

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]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 26, 2008 - 9 comments

Dee Dee Warwick, RIP

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.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 25, 2008 - 14 comments

Gilberto Gil

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]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 31, 2008 - 19 comments

I have to be a star like another man has to breathe.

Sammy Davis Jr—entertainer , photographer... camwhore... SATANIST!!!??? Did hanging out with this guy make Sammy bad? Or was he just selling his soul to be groovy? [more inside]
posted by miss lynnster on Jun 2, 2008 - 51 comments

The day my mama socked it to the Harper Valley PTA

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]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 24, 2008 - 39 comments

The intoxicatingly beautiful vocal music of south India

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.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 15, 2008 - 13 comments

My favourite singer is actually really, really good

Israeli-French singer Yael Naim, recently featured in this Macbook Air commercial, might just be the Next Big Thing. A little bit of soul and a little bit of folk have snagged her Album of the Year in World Music at the annual Les Victoires de la Musique French music awards this year. She currently only has two English songs released - one of them an absolutely lovely song entitled New Soul with an equally charming music video, and the other a slow and jazzy rendition of Britney Spears' Toxic, finally somewhat redeeming that song. Official Site.
posted by Phire on Mar 12, 2008 - 45 comments

Henri Salvador

Henri Salvador died yesterday, age 90. "In his 70-year career, Henri Salvador also gained popularity as a dancer, pantomime artist and TV personality. His musical range included prewar chansons, whispery bossa nova, children's favorites and rock 'n' roll." And his English wasn't bad.
posted by Lezzles on Feb 14, 2008 - 6 comments

Cheika Rimitti, Mother of Raï

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]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 5, 2008 - 18 comments

Beny Moré, golden voice of Cuba

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]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 26, 2008 - 16 comments

Bettye Swann, reconsidered.

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]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 21, 2008 - 12 comments

Celia Cruz

A sizzling singer in crinolines and in feathers and sequins. Not just extravagant in her appearance but an extravagant voice, renowned for her joie de vivre, adored by many, known as the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz, "indisputably the best known and most influential female figure in the history of Cuban music."
posted by nickyskye on Jan 5, 2008 - 11 comments

Renato Carosone, pride of Napoli.

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.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 5, 2007 - 18 comments

Richard Thompson and his exquisite songs.

Singer/songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Richard Thompson: songs of bittersweet longing, sublime eloquence, dark exuberance and ominous allusion. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 24, 2007 - 37 comments

Queen of Soul.

Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha. Aretha.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 20, 2007 - 37 comments

Barbara Lynn Ozen: songwriter, guitarist, singer.

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]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 4, 2007 - 10 comments

French Theory

This post isn't about the great Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine - too many guitar posts recently - it isn't about the Belgian singer Katerine (nothing to say). It is about the French singer Philippe Katerine, who has been changing the way lyrics are written, as well as giving a whole range of new topics to French song. With Je vous emmerde (F*** you) he explains what's on a loser's mind. Excuse-moi is about the things a man focuses on during sexual intercourse in order to avoid early ejaculation. The individual struggling with an meaningless society is always present : Borderline (warcraft version with English subtitles). His lists and his humor clearly link his work with the texts of Poets like Raymond Queneau, Boris Vian (and Serge Gainsbourg), or the prose of Georges Perec. He can be Elegiac, Paradoxical, Funky, prosaic, he's always twofold.
posted by nicolin on Oct 25, 2007 - 13 comments

Link and the Hill

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]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 18, 2007 - 14 comments

Oliver Mtukudzi, pride of Zimbabwe

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]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 16, 2007 - 11 comments

Voice of Vitas

Voice of a castrato or voice of a dolphin? You decide. (previously: 1, 2)
posted by of strange foe on Aug 26, 2007 - 25 comments

A Resource For and About Songwriters

The Muse's Muse Songwriting Resource is the place for songwriting tips, tools, interactivities and connecting with other songwriters around the world. See the section about musical instruments or get into the guitar player's guide. Start communicating with other musicians and songwriters in the forums and check out the music reviews. Lots to do, see, hear, learn, and most of all, enjoy.
posted by netbros on Aug 22, 2007 - 10 comments

I NEEDED THE MONEY!

We've previously agreed that Dr. Nina Simone created some amazing music. As a person, she was openly angry and, yes, a smidgen nuts. Big surprise... she was also not the easiest interview. (Big understatement.)
posted by miss lynnster on Jul 30, 2007 - 50 comments

Dying Hard at the Apollo

I contend this house-swaying performace at the Apollo Theater earlier this year, purporting to feature soulful everyman Brad Prowley ("real life homeless man . . . who makes a living singing classic R&B songs on the streets of major cities not just to get by, but out of a true, life-long passion for music"), actually showcases this man in disguise. You be the judge.
posted by azaner on Jul 15, 2007 - 71 comments

George Melly RIP

George Melly, singer, writer, and expert on Surrealism, has passed away aged 80.
posted by motty on Jul 5, 2007 - 18 comments

Hmong for you.

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!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 9, 2007 - 40 comments

Relatively rare Beatles.

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.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 7, 2007 - 43 comments

The tall blond gal with one great song.

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.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 5, 2007 - 32 comments

Here's to Bobbie Gentry! Wooooooo!

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!
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 29, 2007 - 22 comments

some Tuvan throat singers.

Throat singing from Tuva's Huun Huur Tu and Kongar-ol Ondar. [all youtube]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 18, 2007 - 26 comments

The inimitable Mrs. Miller

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?
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 21, 2006 - 25 comments

Barbara Cook's Master Class

You can keep your Simon, Randy and Paula, I'll take Barbara Cook any day. Here is the Broadway legend's two hour master class (it's a REALTIME video from The New York Public Library) and it'll teach you more about singing, phrasing and music than every moment of American Idol combined. At least watch the first 20 minutes, you'll be amazed.
posted by adrober on Apr 10, 2006 - 7 comments

Say it's only a paper moon

Ukulele Ike. We know his quavering, tentative, high tenor voice from his voice work as Jiminy Cricket, but Cliff Edwards -- aka Ukulele Ike -- was much more than that. Wikipedia offers a brief introduction to the man, his life, his works, and his lonely death. But, to my tastes, the best introduction to this once hugely popular singer is the man's own voice (mp3 links).
posted by Astro Zombie on Feb 24, 2006 - 5 comments

Luther Vandross: RIP

Luther Vandross is gone. The great R&B balladeer died today, apparently due to complications from a stroke he suffered two years ago. Believers in an afterlife can hope he's enjoying a dance with his father. After all, he did believe in the "Power of Love". RIP.
posted by trip and a half on Jul 1, 2005 - 45 comments

So Long Mr. Brown.

RIP Oscar Brown Jr. Truly one of the greats, a legendary singer, songwriter, playwright, poet and civil rights activist, the world of jazz has lost a major member of the family.
posted by bluedaniel on May 30, 2005 - 7 comments

One More Star In Heaven

A soul legend is dead. Edwin Starr, 70s soul singer, who wrote the seminal "War" has died of a heart attack aged 61.

There is one more star in heaven.
posted by essexjan on Apr 3, 2003 - 17 comments

Is That All There Is?

Is That All There Is? Goodbye Peggy Lee.
posted by bluno on Jan 22, 2002 - 10 comments

American patriotic singer, songwriter and member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has a ton of hits. Which one's your favorite?

American patriotic singer, songwriter and member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has a ton of hits. Which one's your favorite? How about that little ditty you first heard at ShootFest live, Leave our guns alone? But still you couldn't keep your hands to yourself? Waste no more time, this site's for you!
posted by crasspastor on Jun 27, 2001 - 14 comments

Gravel Road Requiem

Gravel Road Requiem hits the spot. In Scott's May 14th posting he discusses then links to an amazing song, which he wrote and recorded. This was a nice gentle way to break into my day.
posted by vanderwal on May 14, 2001 - 4 comments

Whoa man, look out! This sewing machine's got attitude! Singer and Nintendo join forces to create a sewing machine that attaches to a Game Boy. After seeing Microsoft and La-Z-Boy team up, I guess they were feeling the technotextile envy.
posted by hijinx on Jan 11, 2001 - 6 comments

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