Saturday, November 28, 2009

Where Have All The Good Voices Gone?

The couple of days I spent preparing for the Thanksgiving feast at my house, I played classic country music in the background from on of the digital music stations that comes with my cable package. About half the music came from my hey-day of listening to country in the late 70’s and the 80’s. I remembered every lyric and unfortunately for my neighbors, sang along.

Another substantial portion of the playlist was from the 60’s and early 70‘s. The songs reminded me of the reason country music had such a reputation for silliness and for counting on sorrow for inspiration in ways that put the best bluesmen to shame. Over all this clutter, the quality of the voices, particularly male voices, simply is unmatched by any singers today. Singers like Eddy Arnold, Tom T. Hall, Charley Pride, Glen Campbell, and Jim Reeves had voices like liquid silk. Most of the songs are heartbreaking tales of broken love, cheating, prison (many of a man on his walk to the gallows), but I could listen to them all day long as those perfect voices croon their misery.

I wonder why it is today that we cannot have singers with the vocal quality they had in the past. We have good singers, but I cannot think of a country singer whose voice compares to the greats of old country music. With all the pitch control and digital enhancement, one would think that the “voices” today would be better than back in the olden days where there were only knobs and ears to guide the engineer and producer. Country songs are generally much more positive today, while some still have a propensity for silliness, but I could be much more into country than I am now.

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