Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Eric Karonen, Aug 21, 2010.
This is exactly why I change the station when AC/DC or Guns 'n Roses come on.
The 4 Seasons was one of my early 60's favorite groups (still is, in fact). The first time I heard "Sherry" (I was 15), I wasn't sure whether it was a guy or a girl singing the lead ... I loved that extreme falsetto, though.
What set them apart from most vocal groups of the time, was that the guy with the highest voice sang lead.
Bass or soprano - doesn't matter as long as it speaks to me! Or sings ...
Del Shannon - Runaway
The Newbeats - Bread and Butter
Last two posts: I bought the 45 by the Newbeats when it was released and I've gone to see the Jersey Boys twice because I liked Frankie Valli, but I still gravitate to the low down sound of a man that's been there and done that.
This is a really of falsetto songs and I like it. I loved that vid of Del Shannon (that was the 1st LP i ever got on my birthday in 1963).
I am not a great fan of male soprano eunuchs on the whole, but there are some I consider greatness like Del. So let me see if I can delve down into others......
Hmmmm, maybe, mmm. Stop I am trying to think here.
Nope. Del Shannon and that's it for me.
Some like 'em high, some like 'em low ... Maybe this guy will please you all.
Be sure to watch the entire clip.
love this voice and every other range if it's done well....baritone included
Large Rang for the win! I personally like the higher end of things, a baritone voice is often not my cup of tea.
Vince Gill, Alison Krauss - High Lonesome Sound
A guy with a GREAT low baritone that can also go much higher than I can if he wants to is Webb Wilder. He just plain has a GREAT voice, but he's so funny and unique that I don't think that aspect of his performances gets enough notice...
I know a tenor who's 6'5''
I am a tenor who's 6'6". But I can still get kinda lowish. About an F2 would be the bottom end, I guess.
I'm very pleased that you like(d) Frankie Valli, and I envie you for having seen Jersey Boys - twice even!
I have a rather bassy voice myself, and Sam Elliot is one of my favorite western actors. And my favorite white singer is George Jones (except for Swedish tenor Jussi Björling).
But I'm also convinced that Mr.Valli has "been there, done that"!
You probably don't mean it that way, but we mustn't make the mistake and think that a low voice equals manliness.
That's almost the same as saying it's more manly to play 11's or 12's or a big neck. Or a guitar with only one pickup.
But I'm sure you agree ...
Masculinity is also elusive in Rock/pop music, as marketing is always trans-gendered to a degree.
Think about how low and tough Jim Morrison's speaking voice was, and look at all those pretty poses he did for people like Joel Brodsky that made him an icon. Theatre and poetry were his first-loves. You can see that the line is blurred somewhat, even by the artists themselves in an attempt to appeal to more of a mainstream audience. His Crystal Ship vocal is more feminine, and after the 1st album when his tone and range was destroyed by screaming, pot and booze, you get the rough-guy sound. He just couldn't sing like that anymore because he ruined his voice permanently. Ever hear a death-metal guy go into a Sinatra song without missing a beat or vice-versa?
That is why someone like Roy Orbison, technically gifted with an incredible voice, can never truly approach Alpha-Male in my book. He is just too delicate to get a little rough. Even if he's singing "Rockhouse," I get the feeling that he won't be having a bar-fight anytime soon. Pavorati walked around with a scarf around his mouth to protect his vocal chords. That sounds like something a Diva would do. A guy needs to sound a little rough to sound like a man's-man. There's a balance there that I've seen in some artists. Somebody like Hank Williams Sr. Not too high, not too low, in fact you don't even notice he's a singer because he sings right through you. By the time the song's over you are left with the spirit of the song and all that communicated it. You just feel the song and not the singer.
I really like Josh Turner's voice for a low baritone approaching bass, as I'm listening to some modern pop country the last few weeks. To me he epitomizes what you are talking about. But watching the video of "Why Don't We Just Dance" you can see that a deliberate attempt has been made aesthetically to add a feminine touch (costume/dance choreography/colors, etc.) maybe to balance out his low voice. Here is a youtube clip of some of his lows & highs:
To me the most pleasing male voices are round, full and with a great range. Caruso is probably the best example of an almost "perfect" voice imo, who also lacks an inherently "male" aura. You're not going to talk cars and guns with Caruso.
I have every single Leonard Cohen album and I think he is absolutely brilliant. Same thing with Bob Dylan. A lot of people cannot stand their voices and I have experienced this first-hand as the reason most people never even get past the voice and enjoy the lyrics. I love their voices but I do not think they are good singers. They are excellent phrasers and lyricists (singing writers), with an emphasis on delivery, like Mick Jagger.
Early on, Bob Dylan's voice was technically better, I think, esp. on the 1st album, although stylistically more derivative. His peak for me was Blonde On Blonde delivery-wise. And I have a soft-spot for Street Legal. After that, besides Oh Mercy, I really don't like his voice as much. Masculine-wise, he became a man's man for me with Oh Mercy. You want to change a tire with that guy. Everything is broken.
With Leonard Cohen he was great early on because he stayed mostly in the 1st register. I think for me his best singing was New Skin For The Old Ceremony-era. With Death Of A Ladies Man you can hear some really embarrasing attempts to go up in range. Even still, some of my favorite songs of his were complete technical vocal failures, like the ending of "One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong" or "Diamonds in The Mine." His voice is so ravaged by the "I'm Your Man" album that it is almost un-listenable. But I still love his lyrics and he is like a best-kept secret for all lonely men looking for solace after a broken heart. He gives you power again, by re-writing his trauma into destruction and that to me is very male. Moral of the story: Put down the book and take the trash out, she'll love you for it.
Johnny Cash had a pretty decent range considering he was known more for singing bass/baritone. On some Sun stuff he gets up there a few times. I think he knew his meal ticket was down low, but he could go decently high. He didn't have an ounce of feminine in him vocally, I don't think.
Elvis was a tenor early on trying to do more of the Ink Spots style. Perhaps the greatest key to understanding Elvis is the fact that he was incredibly feminine naturally and equally as determined to be more macho. As time went on he desperately tried to sing bass parts (gospel quartet style) as well as pop operatic tenor notes Mario Lanza style. After the army there is a technical peak or balance as a crooner. His overall technique is not considered "great" by "singing" experts, but listen to this youtube clip to hear some of the notes he was able to hit in full voice, which is not easy:
Falsetto singers and high tenors of the 80's have always fascinated me, not only because of their ability to hit high notes (and fit into those pants), but because of their apparent in-ability to replicate their recorded achievements live. I really think that if Appetite for Destruction was vocally recorded live, mistakes and all, we would have had that band around for longer, even if the album was less than studio-perfect. Hitting inumerable high notes at full power night after night (with questionable sound reinforcement) in almost every song is a sure way to end your singing career, at least until surgery or rest. To me, Axl was uber-male almost to a fault attitude-wise, but had a dangerous penchant for fashion and glamour, which makes him more of a romantic. You don't buy November Rain because that same guy just said the other stuff in One In A Million. It's that guy that is gonna win persona-wise.
With Robert Plant I am on the fence. I think he had an incredibly unique and powerful voice and drove the girls crazy. I have no idea why, though. "Rock & Roll" is one of the most macho sounding songs, even though he is singing high. But watching him sing it you get more of a Eddie Brickell-on-cocaine vibe than Paul Bunyon. David Coverdale on the other hand had some pretty low-lows, and could really get up there in range, without ever sounding too feminine to me. But the makeup and hair adds to the confusion. He looks like a bad drag-queen that can beat your butt. People gave him trouble for imitating Robert Plant but I think he actually was a better singer than Plant and can still sing. Lyrically, there is no doubt as to his intent. No fairies or witches in "Slow & Easy." There is nothing Celtic going on in "Slide It In." He's playing the hair/makeup thing like a game and laughing all the way. Lyrically is where he gets emotional, but it's understandable and endearing because Tony Kitaen did dance on that Jaguar and fool around with OJ. of all people. The first tape I bought was Houses Of The Holy so I'm not picking on R. Plant. But if I hear "b-b-b-Baby Baby Baby Baby" one more time.... He seems to me more of the feminine side of the androgynous line. Freddy Mercury ironically actually sounds more "masculine" to me on some songs than Plant and had a better voice imo. But "Fat-Bottom Girls" never really sounded as earnest as Steven Tyler's "Rag Doll."
I think it comes down to the singers that aren't singing to get all of the trappings of fortune and fame. They aren't trying to sound too male or too female or make millions of bucks. They are just making music. If I had to pick a singer that has it without being a jerk or too polished, I'd have a beer with Eddie Vedder.
Take a look at this song "Light Years" from PearlJam:
Hmmm....masculinity.....as a good friend of mine once said while we were drinking beer and watching sports on a Sunday morning, "Come, let us do manly things in manly ways...."
Fighting is not particularly masculine in my book (but, hey, I'm from California)
Morrison always had a pretty manly voice to my ears....even on Crystal Ship
Is the only way a man can be a man is to put on the macho/chauvinist act?
I'm sorry....the entire argument about artists "adding" or "subtracting" masculinity and femininity in their acts on purpose to sell more records is maybe a little paranoid.*
*Except for Robert Plant who did cultivate his girly side but it was NOT about selling records.....he had another purpose in mind.....
While it's not something I have really given much thought to, I'd have to say...it needs to fit the song. If the song is very testosterone drivin (ie: sexual), then the voice needs to not sound like Bozo the clown or Tinkerbell. But, I do enjoy Michael Jackson's voice on most of his songs. And, I even kind of dig this for some reason:
I did not know that Nick Tosches was on this board! And living close by too
That was a great write up and some very astute observations. My compliments.