So, I know I just did a post about R&B crooners and it was well-received. But ya'll know I couldn't leave out the ladies! Let me preface this post with the fact that I am mentioning my favorite artists. Some of you might love them as much as I do, but that's not important. smile What is important is these ladies' songs have provided the soundtrack for love, life and getting over it all!
Let's kick things off with my favorite gospel vocalists. First off is definitely Yolanda Adams. I don't have to tell you that this woman has one of the most angelic voices I've ever heard. My daddy, the man who tells people he left his eye in Vietnam, said that her voice "will bring a tear to a glass eye." And he's probably right. Lord knows she brings tears to my eyes when I hear some of her songs.
When you hear Adams' name, a lot of folks immediately think about her CD, "Mountain High, Valley Low" and while it was a good one, it's not her best work. Don't get me wrong, I can listen to "Open My Heart" all day long, but give me her early stuff, like, "The Battle Is the Lord's," "Is Your All on the Altar" or "My Liberty."
Her last studio-recorded CD, "Day by Day" has some nice songs on it too. Everybody and their mama is familiar with "Victory" from "The Gospel" soundtrack. My favorite song on that CD though is "Be Blessed." There's something about the lyrics that can make me stop dead in my tracks and want to "fall out and cry" like my daddy says.
The Clark Sisters have also had that affect on me. I talked about Twinkie Clark in my songwriters post but I didn't mention her sisters Jacky, Dorinda and Karen. These ladies have voices that make you want to throw something at them.
I'm one of those people who gets the majority of their Word through music. That's why if the music is not on point at a church, I probably won't be there long. Anyway, you don't have to worry about it with these ladies. Most folks probably know their songs, "You Brought the Sunshine," "Is My Living In Vain" and "Pray for the U.S.A." My favorite, however, is on their CD, "Live - One Last Time." It's simply called, "Instrument." While Donald Lawrence certainly wrote beautiful lyrics, the ladies sang that song like no one else could. The first few lines are:
Designed to praise in every way
Gifted with music, anointed with lyric
You made me an instrument of praise
Let's move on to more heavenly voices. Though we know Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin for their rhythm and blues music, they all got their start singing in church. Now, they've all gone back to recording gospel music, so it's all come back full circle.
Starting with my favorite of the three, Gladys Knight. While she has a nice gospel CD, I'd sooner pop in her Greatest Hits CD. Most of that music is the stuff she recorded with the Pips, or the Pimps as I said when I was younger.
I know I compared Jill Scott's voice to pecan pie and Jaheim's voice to velvet but I swear to you I can NOT find a single thing in which to compare Knight's voice. I thought, and thought and though some more about what has both a rough and smooth texture. The only thing I could think of is sandpaper.
Have you ever run your hand across sandpaper? You feel these raised granules that will scratch you if you're not careful, but it will soothe you if you are careful with it. That's her voice. I'm a big fan of raspy voices and hers is, well, probably the most raspy voice I've ever hear on a woman, with the exception of Leela James.
When I hear songs like "If I Were Your Woman" and "Midnight Train to Georgia" I hear pain in her voice, but I hear that twinge of 'I'm gonna be alright' too.
Next, let's go to Re Re. That's THE QUEEN, Aretha Franklin ya'll. I really, really love her voice and I don't know why. Under normal circumstances, high soprano voices irritate the mess out of me. I don't know why they just do. Hers doesn't though.
When I think Aretha Franklin, I think "Think." I think, "Natural Woman," "Pink Cadillac" and "Spanish Harlem."
Here's a tid bit of info on your girl, Smarty. I enjoy singing karaoke from time to time. I lost my karaoke virginity in a karaoke bar in Jackson, Tenn., back in 2004 with a very good friend of mine and a co-worker singing a drunken version of "Respect."
I don't drink anymore now, but back then, I used to toss back Blue Motorcycles and Long Island Iced Teas with the best of them. Anyway, we looked through that book and it was the ONE song we all settled on immediately, after a bit of liquid courage. We ended up having to scream the song into the microphones because the rest of the ladies in the bar lifted their drinks and started singing with us. If she doesn't record another song, that will live on long after she's gone.
Now on to Patti Patti, Labelle that is. Here's a woman who is beyond explanation, I won't even try. I'll just say that she's awesome and incomparable and she's going to be that way until someone can dethrone her. To be completely honest with you, I'm not sure that there's anyone who can.
I said earlier that Gladys Knight is my favorite and she is but Patti LaBelle is in a class all by herself. This woman was the lead singer of the group responsible for "Lady Marmalade." Come on now, that's the only song that EVERYBODY knows, saints and sinners alike. The saints know it because they've condemned it forever. The sinners know it because, well, it's all about sin. ***hehehehehe***
She's not all about the sin though, my favorite Patti LaBelle song is "You Are My Friend." That song alone makes me love her. Listen:
I can still remember hearing "Real Love" for the first time. We were more fascinated with the beat than anything. How could you not hear that cow bell at the beginning of that song and not yell out, "Ohhhhhhhhh," and be up in time to start dancing when the beat dropped.
Shoot, between my sister and her best friend, I learned every single word to the "What's the 411" CD. My favorite on there was "Sweet Thing." I'm not a fan of remakes but Mary did that! Then came "My Life" which by far is some of, if not, her best work. Pull it out, dust it off and listen to it. After you've done that, get "Share My World" and try listening to "Seven Days," "Missing You," "You Are Everything" and "Be With You" just one time.
And then, I DARE YOU to pop in "Mary," you know the one with her profile on it that shows the scar on her face. "All That I Can Say" is that CD help to bring out all the emotions that were "Deep Inside" me. I could go on and on about her but I don't have the space.
I hope that Fantasia will be the one to pick up the torch and move it on through the new millennium. If she could just get a stylist and a hair dresser who don't think it's funny to have her out here looking like a damn fool, she'll be alright.
Since we heard her sing on American Idol and saw her movie "Life Is Not a Fairytale," we've all come to love the North Carolina native. (You know I had to throw that in there, right?) The girl has got pipes for days and she's another one who can sing the phone book and I'd probably buy the CD. You know by the time she gets to 'S' we'll all be standing up and cheering because she's tearing it up!
She's put out a few solid singles and two good solid CDs. I am just ready for her contract to be up with the American Idol producers so that she can get on to working with songwriters and producers who can sky rocket her career. I really love the song she and Aretha Franklin did together. I think that is the perfect marriage of the old school and the new.
Well, I could go on about Lalah Hathaway (Please check out her new CD), Betty Wright, Angie Stone, Natalie Cole, Whitney Houston, Deborah Cox, Syleena Johnson and a 'slam slew' of others but then, you all won't comment. And I want you to comment. Drop a line to let me know who your favorites are and don't be shy about it!
Oh, remember I said these ladies' songs have provided the soundtrack to my life? Well check it out!
Opening credits: Livin' - The Clark Sisters
Waking up: All That I Can Say - MJB
Average day: Rock Steady - Aretha Franklin
First date: Where Do We Go From Here - Deborah Cox
Falling in love: Saving All My Love For You - Whitney Houston
Love scene: No Words - Syleena Johnson
Fight scene: 20 Dollars - Angie Stone (I only GOT 20 dollars)
Breaking up: Free Yourself - Fantasia
Getting back together: I Believe In You and Me - Whitney Houston
Secret love: I Got Love On My Mind - Natalie Cole
Life's okay: Wish I Didn't Miss You Anymore - Angie Stone
Mental breakdown: Chain of Fools - Re Re
Driving: This Will Be - Natalie Cole (I was listening to this when I got my ticket)
Learning a lesson: I've Got to Use My Imagination - Gladys Knight
Deep thought: Brotha - Angie Stone
Flashback: Family Affair - MJB
Partying: Tonight I'm Gonna Let Go - Syleena Johnson
Happy dance: Just Fine - MJB
Regreting: What Goes Around - Lalah Hathaway
Long night alone: Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston
Death scene: Someone Watching Over You - Yolanda Adams