I have often written about the voice on this blog – awareness of, its use and effectiveness. Well, over the passed week the whole issue of singers in the, shall we say, Autumn/Winter of their years came up in the media.
The octogenarian crooner Andy Williams was in town recently to plug his book and album. He performed live on the Jonathan Ross show. It was all rather tragic really – a weak quavering voice, straining to hit the high notes a million miles away from the dashingly assured, sweated clad entertainer of the 1970’s and 80’s. And this week saw the release of a Christmas album from no less than Bob Dylan...
The reviews have differed wildly but what is certain is the quality of Dylan’s voice. It is shot to pieces, sounding more like Tom Waits with an inflamed throat - and that’s being generous.
But it can sometimes work. Joni Mitchell, a contemporary of Dylan, had the voice of an angel – clear, pure and pitch perfect. A life of singing, heavy smoking and the natural ageing process has given her voice a patina of experience, which has taken it to another place. It is very beautiful, as can be heard on the album, Travelogue released in 2002 with wonderful orchestrations by Vince Mendoza
But sometimes I wish the coterie of people surrounding our singing legends would say, ‘I think it’s time to hang up the career’, leaving their legacy of quality intact for us all to cherish.
Hear for yourself.
Bob was here but unfortunately YouTube has removed the link, so listen on itunes or Spotify
And listen to Tom Waits singing Silent Night here