Posted by Brad @ 3:25 pm on January 24th 2011

Music Video of the Week

I’ve mentioned before, I think, that I have a running list in my head of the Five Greatest Voices Ever in Music. It’s kind of an eclectic list, I guess, and isn’t necessarily meant to represent the best singers, the best music, or anything of the sort. Rather, I call them my Voice of God singers. In that, if I ever went to to the Pearly Gates and met the man himself, I wouldn’t blink if their voices came out of His mouth.

The fifth spot is always rotating, but the top four include Sam Cooke, Leonard Cohen, and Dolly Parton. And the man forever in contention for #1 is Ralph Stanley. Here he is at NPR, putting in five minutes to do a Tiny Desk concert (quite a popular thing with the staff, and if you dig this check out others).

Ralph Stanley – NPR Tiny Desk Concern (“Gloryland”, “Turn Back, Turn Back”, and “Amazing Grace.”)

Some people work their whole lives to achieve vocal mastery through great technical mastery or mountains of experience and hard work or the tried-and-true “belting it out”. Ralph is one of those guys that can just breathe out a line, and the sky parts and heavens open up.


  1. Not bad, but the Voice of God is either John Facenda or Orville “Hoppy” Jones.

    Comment by Rojas — 1/24/2011 @ 3:57 pm

  2. Say, those are two pretty good choices (though admittedly I had to look up Facenda).

    Mmmmm, the Ink Spots.

    Comment by Brad — 1/24/2011 @ 4:06 pm

  3. Also, thank you for not bringing up Daryll Hall.

    Comment by Brad — 1/24/2011 @ 4:22 pm

  4. A very solid pop voice and exactly the right voice to re-popularize soul at that time; one of the top 100 singers of the rock era. Not the voice of God and no sane person’s choice for the top five.

    Comment by Rojas — 1/24/2011 @ 4:41 pm

  5. Hey, you made a pretty good case for him last time this came up, and I still think Huey Lewis is one of the great vocalists of the 80s and beyond (too bad he’s such a lazy musician). I guess I just haven’t listened to enough Hall and Oates to make a judgment. Most days, I take that as a good thing, but I’m open.

    Comment by Brad — 1/24/2011 @ 4:49 pm

  6. Huey Lewis was put on this earth to sing kareoke. They made a movie at one point that proved this. I don’t even mean it as an insult; more in Brad’s sense that his remarkable and distinctive voice represents the entire range of his musical talent.

    If you listen to Hall and Oates with an ear for comparing them to the greatest soul entertainers of all time, as critics tend to, they’re going to fall flat. If you’re going to listen to Hall and Oates within the range of early-80s top-40 radio–in other words, if you listen to them in the actual context in which virtually the entire public experienced them–they are going to open your ears to an entirely different and more authentic approach to rock and roll than you are used to. They will match any mass-market act of the era for catchy hooks and quality production and then beat them to death in terms of range and pure style.

    I enjoyed the hell out of Hall and Oates and I still get substantial nostaligic enjoyment when I hear them. And to hell with anybody who wants them to be something they weren’t.

    Comment by Rojas — 1/24/2011 @ 6:44 pm

  7. That movie, Duets, was pretty good, if you ignore the story parts.

    Comment by Brad — 1/24/2011 @ 10:42 pm

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