the best singers

best singers = new & undiscovered, and the discovered & under-appreciated

antje duvekot
best singers #1
fave vocals: "dandelion" "merry-go-round" "judas"
a best singers WOW
best singers: comparisons to ani difranco, shawn colvin & tracy chapmen i'd add suzanne vega to that list. antje duvekot is a tremendously gifted, german-born, new york-based singer-songwriter, who writes melodically rich, intelligent folk music. listen to the glorious, up-sweeping chorus to duvekot's "dandelion" ("but i am the 4th of july / throwing you a fire in the sky"), or the somber, thoughtful "judas", where antje masterfully re-works biblical reference, so that jesus was "every mother's perfect son" and judas was a abused child. researching antje for this best singers page, i came on several comments people made about being moved to tears, hearing duvekot for the 1st time. one of the new best singers AND best songwriters. extraordinary stuff. an extraordinary talent.

celeste alayne
best singers #2
"portrait of a goddess" & "havana rain"
la-based havana jazz, pagan goddess
best singers, new age, world, east meets west, havana jazz, pagan & goddess : celeste alayne. check out her resplendent recording with a 14 piece orchestra, led by alex acuna, doing the havana jazz of sergio de karlo. or, if you're into Goddess Music, listen to the gardner cole-produced "portrait of a goddess" - which has instrumentation that includes native american flute, Uilleann pipes & penny whistle. offbeat, highly recommended, and truly great. celeste alayne. remember the name.

malford milligan
best singers #3
fave vocals: "bluest eyes", "mercy street"
soul, pop, blues and hard rock with equal finesse
best singers, austin texas: malford's bands have included the stick people, funky london, and storyville, an atlantic records act that boasted stevie ray vaughn's rhythm section, and guitarist david grissom (who gets one of the best guitar sounds live that i've ever heard; malford told me it has something to do with grissom setting up a 2nd "ambient" guitar amp that he points at a wall... or, something like that). malford's got pipes. a vocal stylist who counts sam cooke among his influences, malford's "kinder, gentler" vocals seem perfectly suited for mellower, delicate ballads and soul. but he meets the challenge of hard rock commando-style -- listen to these two songs back to back: malf's slow, grieving cover of peter gabriel's "mercy street" and the uptempo, stridently infectious "bluest eyes." there's a stick people version (which i don't think's been officially released), and the storyville version. both dazzle.

anna lacazio
best singers #4
fave vocals: "el norte"
singer with the '80s band cock robin, current whereabouts unknown
best singers: online, there are rumors of a cock robin reunion, there are rumors of an anna lacazio solo project; no one seems to know. i did a great deal of music journalism in the '80s, and i saw ALOT of artists play live. anna stood out as a singular talent with an extraordinary voice. cr's record label had a habit of releasing cock robin singles with lead vocals by the band's songwriter, peter kingsbury. pk's a good singer, but he's a bit of an acquired taste. anna was dynamic, a naturally powerful, evocative, scorching presence on stage. you had to watch her. and, man, could she sing.
best singers, whatever happened to: i used to see anna alot in the '80s, when i wrote about the band. if anyone has any info on ms lacazio, please email me. i'd love to touch base with her, and post about any new music projects she's got going.

ted hawkins
best singers #5
fave vocals: "golden sun"
sam cooke and richie havens have a baby
best singers, worst luck: the unwanted child of a prostitute, ted, in between prison stints, a nasty bout of heroin addiction & homelessness, made some truly great music. a mix of soul, blues, folk, gospel and even a dash of country. bestsingers - after numerous up and downs, hawkins was signed to geffen records, and began to enjoy some commercial acceptance - then died tragically on new years day, 1994, after suffering a stroke. years earlier, me and a friend -- mike brown of polygram records -- tried unsuccessfully to help ted get signed. all the label a&r weasels thought he was too old. sad. this guy had a voice. vocals with the husky authority of brook benton, and the sincere earthiness of richie havens. we miss ya, ted.

camille henry
best singers #6
best unsigned la band - bloc
camille henry
best singers: bloc was an underground los angeles sensation at one point. their shows were packed, they made the cover of la weekly mag, as la's best unsigned act fronted by the charismatic vocalist camille henry, this band rocked. everyone loved them, including label execs, who kept mumbling, "i just wouldn't know what to DO with a group like this" (the curse of having an original sound). well, camille henry and co finally WERE signed, but their label, a&m reportedly dropped them a scant four weeks after releasing their debut effort. a shame. camille, wherever you are, i hope you're still singing up a storm.

best singers, discovered but under-appreciated

ok: i'm going to run through the rest of the list quickly. the following singers acquired different levels of popularity during their careers. i'm listing them because, whatever the reason, they don't seem to have been accorded their due.

best singers #7
fave vocals: "f*ck it, i don't want you back"
eminem meets marvin gaye
best singers, discovered: eamon's "f*uck it, i don't want you back" was a huge urban hit, so he's not exactly "undiscovered." he is under-appreciated. with a rich, soulful voice, eamon's pained doo-wop on "i don't want you back" proved his vocal gifts. but many have written the vocalist off as a shrewd manipulator, rising to popularity by way of a crude novelty song.
not so. which is why eamon belongs on my best singers list.

stevie marriott
best singers #8
fave vocals: "30 days in the hole"
humble pie, baby
best singers, who no one can remember: listen to "30 days in the hole." just, listen to it. this largely forgotten blues-rock singer stevie marriott was fantastic. his gutteral, expressive vocals that of the gritty blues-shouter; similar to the eric burdon way of singing, though marriot's raspiness was more often compared to rod stewart's. (my god, i just realized i'm So Old i can remember when rod stewart used to be good... PLEASE, rod -- RETIRE!)

gordon downie
best singers #9
fave vocals: "nautical disaster", "new orleans in sinking"
tragically hip: famous in canada
best singers, only famous on home turf: all great live bands are greater than the sum of their parts. it's a musical kind of alchemy. the meters have that, live. still. tragically hip: an under-rated band, with an under-rated singer. as a lyricist, downie confounds. the net is filled with posts speculating on the meaning of his songs. and the vocalist's self-assured, inspired performances make us even more curious: he sure sings these things like they have great meaning to him. in an interview, a Hip member once said downie is forever getting ideas for lyric fragments, scribbling them down, and that some of his cryptic verses are more william burroughs cut-and-paste than anything else. whatever it is, it works.

long john baldry
best singers #10
fave vocals: "don't try to lay no boogie on the king of rock and roll"
the guy who gave elton john, the "john"
best rock song, unremembered: baldry's version of "don't try to lay no boogie woogie (on the king of rock and roll)". from the artist's album, "it ain't easy," produced by rod stewart and elton john. wow.


the best singers, top left moving clockwise: best singers antje duvekot, celeste alayne, austin's malford milligan, best singers r fuller, best singers anna lacazio, t hawkins, best singers camille henry, eamon, best singers stevie marriott, best singers gordon downie, best singers long john baldry

james thurber
james thurber quotes, notes and bg

best singers
best singers

bad, worse & worst
bad (since we were doing best, we decided to give bad equal time)

singers (the older version of this singers page)

weird band names
weird band names (and, no, we didn't make them up)

best singers
best singers

cool blog names
wickedly cool blog names

the best singers