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3 hours ago, gmgraves said:

She did have a pleasant voice, but the songs that she sang with her brother were banal beyond belief. Still, the way she died was a real tragedy, and a useless death. 

I might not agree with you 100%, but there is substance to what you say.   My feeling is that they had perhaps a 10% rate of having some really nice songs.  TO me, the Carpenters are not just about any one thing, including even Karen's vocals -- my interest in the Carpenters is more about the whole package -- the tragedy, the simple beauty of her voice (however practiced or not), the apparently biased family dynamics, tragic choice for marriage, etc...   To me, if you want 'banal', that comes mostly from the brother side -- I think that Karen would have gone a little further if she wasn't pinned down with some problems and the 'structure' that she was apparently in.  From what I could see -- with quite a bit of distance and more than several years difference, she was a bit of a tomboy and maybe couldn't have real control of what anyone really needs to be more easily happy.

 

I use their recordings for testing also -- because 1)  the normally available stuff is hissy as h*ll with signficant FA compression (including the SACD version of the singles sold through HD tracks, 2) the issues with sibilance, and the need to get everything 'just right' for her enhanced vocals to sound right, 3) the music isn't irritating to me, even when I have to do repeats to evaluate for quality/testing issues.

There are so many older recordings out there, where they have various defects and odd characteristcs -- the Carpenters, ABBA, Carly Simon and several others are 'interesting' (but admittedly,  sometimes just cheezy cheap ear candy) test material.

 

I quit being an 'audiophile' back in about 1990 because the digital recordings were the future, but hopelessly distorted (I just didn't know how they were damaged back then.)   I had done my own recordings in the past (real stereo, orchestral, etc) -- and the new digital recordings didn't sound right, and didn't appear to be getting any better -- so I started working on my computer projects for leisure instead.   Now, I do listen to music alot -- over and over and over again -- trying to evaluate sound quality, but I really hope that something can eventually be done to improve the source material.   The historical damage that I talk about from time to time is still being done to new material -- and that is so very sad.

 

John

 

 

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let's add:  Cesária Évora.  Hauntingly beautiful and natural voice.  

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On 8/28/2020 at 12:46 PM, JoeWhip said:

Karen Carpenter had a beautiful pure voice, no doubt. It is a shame she died so young. As for Britney vs. Mozart, will anyone remember her and her music in 300 years? The great music and performers stand the test of time.

 

Subject is about great singers: not being remembered. Might be your definition that a great singer may HAVE to be popular/historical figure/remembered. That's cool: i respect it. I don't expect anyone to agree with anyone else's definition of what constitutes great art, or a great singer.... Do you think that there have been some great singers who have never been recorded and or great singers who've been "lost" to history?

 

People who love that age, (i hate it), 50s culture, and who are so super familiar with those groups of crooners. They will certainly have a lot of experience, and can make a case comparing Sinatra to Crosby to Bennett to (insert crooner here). 

 

But when comparing Frank Sinatra to MIchael Jackson, - a whole other set of criteria emerges in a valuation where different people will place importance on different things. 

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On 8/28/2020 at 11:49 AM, Bill Brown said:

It is very interesting to me that you espouse extreme musical relativism: "Britney Spears is the same as Mozart is the same as Barry Manilow is the same as Miles Davis....," but then completely cast that aside at the end with a statement that you make as dogmatically and factually as possible.

 

And I am not defending Sinatra, just pointing out what strikes me as a strange dichotomy.

 

"The relativist view sees music as entirely personal; there is no objective basis for determining whether one kind or form of music is ‘better’ than another. Music is simply a matter of subjective taste and personal preference, and bears no resemblance at all to the categories that lend themselves to objective evaluation, such as mathematics and the sciences."  I believe there is objectivity in music quality.  I simply cannot fathom comparing Brittney Spears and Mozart.  It strikes me as profoundly illogical on its face.

 

There are many who could produce art of Spears' caliber, not many (any?) Mozarts.  Not that people can't or shouldn't enjoy Spears or whoever.  I have plenty of guilty pleasures myself.  But to consider them equal in artistic merit?  Not me.

 

Sometimes I will go deep into an artist's music for an extended period.  With the truly great, after returning, many times other music sounds silly, frivolous.

 

Just my thoughts.  No bickering intended,

 

Bill

Yeah... I am not sure that it would be bickering... 

 

I do think that it might be "extreme" of you to assert that I am espousing "extreme musical relativism" and "dogmatic and factually".  (Don't get what you meant by that last part).

 

Music as (same with art) has no definition. Music is, and Art is, whatever someone who calls themselves a musician or artist says it is. The audience can call that bad music, or "not music" to them.. but that's just for them. How many people would assert that the band 1/2 Japanese is not music? What about the Residents?.

I can recognize for sure that there are objective criteria like, (Tony Bennett has a wider vocal range that Bing Crosby and has a better ear and misses fewer notes).

But, I am sure that there are Crosby fans who would say that that is not as important. Michael Jackson fans will have a whole other set of criteria that may take their opinion right out of the discussion, - IDK.

 

When you have something that has no definition, one's opinions are no more "correct" than another's. Some teenager who came of age in the 90s may not consider Bing Crosby as someone who was doing music at all, - as their definition of music doesn't even include those old people from the 50s who can't dance.  🙂  Of course I was writing to for "shock value" and to make a point..... And no, - I don't like Britney Spears. But my opinion isn't important to someone who does. And, - for me, - BOTH Britney and Sinatra suck, - and yes, - they suck pretty much equally IMM.

 

Since it's all opinion, - and no one opinion is any better than another in a definition-less area/art, - you might as well assert yourself, - just recognize that your opinion is no better than anyone else's. I don't expect that anyone here would agree with me. Conversely, - someone saying that Sinatra is the greatest singer of all time, - is not at all "wrong."

 

In this discussion, - as in many opinions here, - there are always an underlying set of assumptions that may or may not be shared when talking about art and artisan products that vary.....   Predominately, older white guys from the USA. Few people are mentioning stars like Ejigayehu Shibabaw, Nusrat Ali-Khan, Natcha Atlas, or Youssou N'Dour. Lucky that Ridley Scott liked Dead Can Dance,  - hence the Lisa Gerard mention... Great that @PYP mentioned Cesario Ekova.

 

Again, - not bickering...just wanted to assert that these types of discussions  carry with them a certain level of interesting assumptions that may apply or may not apply to our own unique cultural, and experienced viewpoints of how we define the art that we enjoy and incites our passions...

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No Albrecht, Britney will be lost to the sands of time because the quality isn’t there. It will not be an oversight. There were tons of composers over the years in classical music who have been forgotten. The ones who wrote timeless music are remembered. To mention Ms. Spears in the same breath as Mozart is just Staggering,

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2 hours ago, Albrecht said:

Again, - not bickering...just wanted to assert that these types of discussions  carry with them a certain level of interesting assumptions that may apply or may not apply to our own unique cultural, and experienced viewpoints of how we define the art that we enjoy and incites our passions...

 

I think you may be at risk of suffering from the set of assumptions you are projecting on others.

 

"Predominately, older white guys from the USA" may be a profile but I wouldn't assume that they cannot appreciate and make their own decisions regarding artists like Ejigayehu Shibabaw, Nusrat Ali-Khan, Natcha Atlas, or Youssou N'Dour or Lisa Gerard.

 

The artists I nominated came from my parents generation and not of my birthplace and not from my favourites list that either conforms to a certain culture, ethnicity, time or place or genre. I judge them on merit. If you look at Lisa Gerard I think Ridley Scott chose her for her talent and the fact that she wrote the material with Hans Zimmer and had a voice that suited that material, being ethereal and atmospheric. That said, she is not on my list

Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

I think you may be at risk of suffering from the set of assumptions you are projecting on others.

 

"Predominately, older white guys from the USA" may be a profile but I wouldn't assume that they cannot appreciate and make their own decisions regarding artists like Ejigayehu Shibabaw, Nusrat Ali-Khan, Natcha Atlas, or Youssou N'Dour or Lisa Gerard.

 

The artists I nominated came from my parents generation and not of my birthplace and not from my favourites list that either conforms to a certain culture, ethnicity, time or place or genre. I judge them on merit. If you look at Lisa Gerard I think Ridley Scott chose her for her talent and the fact that she wrote the material with Hans Zimmer and had a voice that suited that material, being ethereal and atmospheric. That said, she is not on my list

Mehbee...

 

And fair enough....  I am probably making some assumptions about audiophiles... What I meant by the Lisa comment was that most here wouldn't have heard about her if she had only be known as the second singer of Dead Can Dance. 

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10 minutes ago, GregWormald said:

I'm with Albrecht on this. "Great" is absolutely subjective (unless some objective criteria are specified), and so are "music" and "singer". What I think makes great singers is different from many others. I'm fairly familiar with the qualities that stimulate pleasant (often emotional) responses within me.

Totally agree with you and Albrecht about it being subjective. But subjective opinions have reasoning and preferences based on criteria and I think that's really what we're talking about here. I cannot proclaim what is "best", I can only express my subjective opinion and give reasons and compare those reasons with yours and others. Some of the reasons may include more objective features such as has been mentioned like range or technical skill or whatever. I think there is some value in consensus (most votes) and other criteria like stood the test of time.

Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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4 hours ago, Albrecht said:

 

Subject is about great singers: not being remembered. Might be your definition that a great singer may HAVE to be popular/historical figure/remembered. That's cool: i respect it. I don't expect anyone to agree with anyone else's definition of what constitutes great art, or a great singer.... Do you think that there have been some great singers who have never been recorded and or great singers who've been "lost" to history?

Russ Colombo comes to mind as a very popular crooner (with a great voice) in his day who has been “lost to history“. To a lesser extent, I would add Dick Haymes. Helen Forest and Jane Froman, etc.

 

George

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On 8/28/2020 at 10:53 AM, Albrecht said:

Yeah.. 

 

It's all art, all subjective, and means different things to different people... Britney Spears is the same as Mozart is the same as Barry Manilow is the same as Miles Davis....

 

Until you start laying down specific criteria like, - "who is the best non-rock, male-singer, who writes their own songs," - the only "value" of anyone's opinion is exclusively to themselves, and no one should expect that it is shared. 

 

One can argue that Phil Collins is a better singer TECHNICALLY than Peter Gabriel. But many might argue that Peter Gabriel has a more "expressively unique" voice. 

 

No criticism intended to the OP, - it's a fun exercise to read what people think: and cool to read what folks like and why. FWIW, as a songwriter and musician, - I am always interested in the choices that writers/musicians make; like how Richard Carpenter who co-wrote syrupy pop songs, - often would reach back and hit a flattened D to add an element of darkness to the bubblegum....

 

And sure, - Frank Sinatra, - was a below average talent that has nothing of value to bring to the table: it's only art and ultimately, - universalizably valueless. 

You are right. This is extremely subjective and it mostly revolves around personal criteria. For instance, I don’t value Britaney Spears or Barry Manilow, or Peter Gabriel, or for that matter, John Lennon, Micheal Jackson or Mick Jagger, as singers because they do not meet my criteria for a vocalist. Sinatra does, Crosby does, William Warfield does, as does Pavarotti, Ella Fitzgerald, And Dinah Washington (Does anyone here remember Minnie Ripperton, a true coloratura soprano?).
But I certainly don’t agree with you that art is universally valueless. Art is probably the only human endeavor that does have value, lasting value! And I truly hope that you were being facetious with that comment!

George

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17 hours ago, ARQuint said:

It's odd that (other than Sam Ramey) nobody is listing what, for lack of a better term, are referred to as "classically-trained voices". If opera and art song are musical genres you care about, you'll have some strong opinions. Despite the OP's parameter that recording quality doesn't matter, I'm reluctant to name singers with voices documented only with primitive recording methodology—Caruso, Melba, etc. So, for me, how about four, one for each major voice type? As with non-classical singers, I feel choices should be made based on three metrics: the "God-given" instrument, technique, and musical intelligence. All are gone but there's ample recorded evidence of their artistry.

 

Soprano: Joan Sutherland

Alto: Marian Anderson

Tenor: Luciano Pavarotti

Baritone: Dietrich Fisher-Dieskau

Agree. 100%! A little known fact, Fisher-Dieskau has the largest discography of any recording artist in history. The sheer number of albums that guy recorded over his lifetime is truly staggering. Last time I saw the number it was in the hundreds. I wonder how many are still available as CD reissues today?

George

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1 hour ago, gmgraves said:

Crosby’s singing was often said to be effortless as was Perry Como’s. One singer from the 1960’s that always thought had an incredible range which he seemed to use effortlessly was Roy Orbison. 

True, so many great voices.  Don't forget Dusty Springfield or Smokey Robinson.  If we add in showmanship into the formula, may singers would drop down the list to great singers and great entertainers.  

 

 

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4 hours ago, photonman said:

 

I would say that Chris Cornell was much bedder but Eddie had a bedder agent.  Sadly, Chris had a tragic end like many of his peers.  When Chris started to sing this crazy strong unbelievably powerful voice just bellows from his mouth, effortlessly like Karen Carpenter's.  Totally different genres but still pretty amazing.  

 

To the OP this is a really fun thread, thanks for starting it.  I mean there are so many unique voices and singers out there and it is impossible to say who is the best.

 

 

 

I guarantee I did not say what you quoted above.

No electron left behind...

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10 hours ago, Albrecht said:

Yeah... I am not sure that it would be bickering... 

 

I do think that it might be "extreme" of you to assert that I am espousing "extreme musical relativism" and "dogmatic and factually".  (Don't get what you meant by that last part).

 

Music as (same with art) has no definition. Music is, and Art is, whatever someone who calls themselves a musician or artist says it is. The audience can call that bad music, or "not music" to them.. but that's just for them. How many people would assert that the band 1/2 Japanese is not music? What about the Residents?.

I can recognize for sure that there are objective criteria like, (Tony Bennett has a wider vocal range that Bing Crosby and has a better ear and misses fewer notes).

But, I am sure that there are Crosby fans who would say that that is not as important. Michael Jackson fans will have a whole other set of criteria that may take their opinion right out of the discussion, - IDK.

 

When you have something that has no definition, one's opinions are no more "correct" than another's. Some teenager who came of age in the 90s may not consider Bing Crosby as someone who was doing music at all, - as their definition of music doesn't even include those old people from the 50s who can't dance.  🙂  Of course I was writing to for "shock value" and to make a point..... And no, - I don't like Britney Spears. But my opinion isn't important to someone who does. And, - for me, - BOTH Britney and Sinatra suck, - and yes, - they suck pretty much equally IMM.

 

Since it's all opinion, - and no one opinion is any better than another in a definition-less area/art, - you might as well assert yourself, - just recognize that your opinion is no better than anyone else's. I don't expect that anyone here would agree with me. Conversely, - someone saying that Sinatra is the greatest singer of all time, - is not at all "wrong."

 

In this discussion, - as in many opinions here, - there are always an underlying set of assumptions that may or may not be shared when talking about art and artisan products that vary.....   Predominately, older white guys from the USA. Few people are mentioning stars like Ejigayehu Shibabaw, Nusrat Ali-Khan, Natcha Atlas, or Youssou N'Dour. Lucky that Ridley Scott liked Dead Can Dance,  - hence the Lisa Gerard mention... Great that @PYP mentioned Cesario Ekova.

 

Again, - not bickering...just wanted to assert that these types of discussions  carry with them a certain level of interesting assumptions that may apply or may not apply to our own unique cultural, and experienced viewpoints of how we define the art that we enjoy and incites our passions...

I agree for the most part. It reminds me of people using the phrase, “s/he really pushed the art forward” or something similar. In art there is no forward or backward, only different. 

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6 hours ago, photonman said:

 

I would say that Chris Cornell was much bedder but Eddie had a bedder agent.  Sadly, Chris had a tragic end like many of his peers.  When Chris started to sing this crazy strong unbelievably powerful voice just bellows from his mouth, effortlessly like Karen Carpenter's.  Totally different genres but still pretty amazing.  

 

To the OP this is a really fun thread, thanks for starting it.  I mean there are so many unique voices and singers out there and it is impossible to say who is the best.

 

 

 

1 hour ago, AudioDoctor said:

 

I guarantee I did not say what you quoted above.


It was me who said it. 
 

Cornell is excellent but I think a bit more abrasive and didn’t have the caliber of songs Eddie has with PJ. 
 

I was fortunate to see Cornell sing with Eddie and Pearl Jam at PJ20 in Alpine Valley. He was a great talent.  

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7 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

I guarantee I did not say what you quoted above.

oh sorry, it was a double quote situation, I quoted what you quoted.

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11 hours ago, gmgraves said:

(Does anyone here remember Minnie Ripperton, a true coloratura soprano?).

Yes, yes, yes.

I was at the Rock Pile in Toronto to see Rotary Connection and she walked out of the dressing room and touched me on the way to stage—where she proceeded to blow me away. 

As well as the voice I remember her afro, it was fully round and extended beyond her shoulders. A memorable night. Thanks for the reminder.😀

 

She was gone way too young.☹️

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22 hours ago, Albrecht said:

I do think that it might be "extreme" of you to assert that I am espousing "extreme musical relativism" and "dogmatic and factually".  (Don't get what you meant by that last part).

 

I simply found the statement "Britney Spears is the same as Mozart is the same as Barry Manilow is the same as Miles Davis...." to strongly suggest musical relativism; then "Frank Sinatra, - was a below average talent that has nothing of value to bring to the table" to be stated as a dogmatic/objective fact of music/art.

 

Whether art is to be assessed relatively or objectively interests me.  I see the the need for some of the former, but also like some of the latter- certainly differing from many of the opinions expressed in this thread :).  Mozart did produce objectively better art than Brittney Spears; Charlie Parker than an R&B sax player of the same era; DaVinci better than the dude who put the urinal in the art exhibit; Baaba Maal, Andy Palacio, etc. better than XYZ- in my belief.

 

Bill

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20 minutes ago, Bill Brown said:

Mozart did produce objectively better art than Brittney Spears;

I must disagree. Someone’s opinion that Mozart is better than Britney is fine, but there’s no such thing as objectively better in art. 

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