After a short intermission I'm back with the latest installment of ...
TOP 25 VOICES EVER!!!!!!!
12. David Ruffin - Real weird coincidences here. He had two brothers named Quincy and Jimmy. So do I. His sister's name is Rita Mae. That's my nickname Down South. Just weird. Anyway, Leon sure showed out in that miniseries, huh? Well I guess you'd have reason to as well if you were playing THE voice of the Temptations (okay, ONE of THE voices cuz Paul Williams and Dennis Edwards could blow). I don't know what it is about talented people and "demons." Perhaps we like to make them even more special by considering their tragic stories extraordinary; after all, there are plenty of regular folk with demons too. Whatever, the voice was just plain undeniable, and for a few years he was hot as sin.
"(I Know) I'm Losing You"
"Somebody Stole My Dream"
"I Don't Know Why I Love You"
11. Cassietta George - Another Midwest entry, a Chicagoan in fact. A legendary member of the legendary Caravanas (who incidentally pretty much introduced the world to almost every major gospel star of the 60s-80s-Shirley Caesar, Albertina Walker, Dorothy Norwood, James Cleveland, and that ain't even the half). So revered, in fact, that I want her version of "Walk Around Heaven All Day" to play at my funeral. I don't know, every time I hear her voice I feel so connected to my Baptist upbringing. I just throw up my hands and do the "gospel snatch". RIP Cassietta.
"Walk Around Heaven All Day"
"I'm Ready to Serve the Lord" w/ The Caravans
10. Al Green - Let me get this out of the way. I think Al Green is creepy, a real weird dude--strangely upbeat and kinda vacant in the eyes; however, dude has pipes, so he must be honored. Teamed up with Willie Mitchell (who strangely reminds of me of my grandma), he's made some of the most memorable tunes of all time. Hearing them, you just think of grits and beige-colored kitchens and love.
"Jesus is Waiting (Soul Train -Live)"
"I'm Glad You're Mine"
9. Luther Vandross - Oh, Luther. I'm still pissed about his death and often find it difficult to believe. This man is responsible for one of my top five R&B albums of all time (Never Too Much), one of my favorite Aretha tunes ever ("Jump to It"), and millions of births. I'll never forget where I was when I found out, The Chicago Taste, at the ticket booth. Within minutes my age advanced about 30 years and I exclaimed, "Looord! Not Luther!!!!" Yeah.
"You Stopped Loving Me"
"Make Me a Believer"
"I Can Make It Better"
8. Sarah Vaughan - I spent so many days of my youth trying to sing like this woman. I swear, she has the most beautiful voice. Her version of "Misty"? Flawless. Sassy was the woman. I remember Donnie Simpson's interview with her right before she died. I recall being so surprised that this tobacco-voiced, feisty woman was the same one who sang "The Man I Love." I decided then to like her even more. I love my women tough.
"Have You Met Miss Jones?"
"Shulie a Bop"
7. Dinah Washington - Another woman I'd put against your Ellas and Billies. I'm not quite sure about the amount of adoration she receives, but I feel it's not enough. You don't hear her name mentioned with Billie Holiday's and Ella Fitzgerald's, and that's plain ridiculous. Have you heard this woman's voice? It was dumb great, like John Woo choreography and perfectly edited curses and Giuseppe Zanottis--forbidden, dangerous things so beautiful you have to pay attention. Plus, she reps both Alabama and Chicago, need I say more?
"Sometimes I'm Happy"
"Back Water Blues"
"Long John Blues"