Saturday, May 19, 2012

Best & Worst Singers. SILVER DOLLAR - Judy Henske, Teresa Brewer

Having referenced Judy Henske in the two entries above (on her daughter Kate, and Liz Seneff, her replacement on the ill-fated Whiskeyhill Singers), it seemed only right to once again salute Big Judy herself (and remind you her 2 CD best-of is well worth buying).

Judy Henske belongs on most any list of Great American Singers. She's sung R&B, folk, pop standards, ballads and originals in a style that is not only faithful to the material, but stamped with her own unique personality. Whatever she does grabs your attention, sauces your cauliflowers, balms your brain, and even purges your libido. She is one of the BEST.

The other side of the coin: there are the WORST. Exempting the hapless indie-label amateurs that some cruel and stupid bloggers laugh at as "so bad they're good," and also exempting intentionally bad singers such as Mrs. Miller, let's confine WORST to actual respected money-making performers who YOU CAN'T STAND TO HEAR FOR EVEN ONE SONG. Who do you rate as the opposite of Henske…someone who can give you tinnitis with her tonsils? Maybe the braying Stevie Nicks? The overblown Celine Dion? The car-alarm Whitney Houston? The grandly enunciating Kate Smith?

The nominee here as THE WORST, is the grating, irritating and infuriating Teresa Brewer. Stevie Nicks is a cutie. It's a bit un-American to claim not to be able to sit through Kate Smith's "God Bless America." Celine and Whitney you might be able to tolerate the first time you hear them lambast a big ballad with their lung power. But Teresa Brewer? Anything she sings she ruins, and it happens within 20 seconds.

Her adenoidal voice almost perpetually fires loudly in a range that would frighten chipmunks. She sings lyrics as if she was calling out Bingo numbers, and matches her lack of emotion with an overbearing amount of glee. To quote Ed Asner as Lou Grant: "You have spunk…I HATE SPUNK." Even a song that suits her perfectly, is perfectly horrifying. Ten seconds of "Put another nickel in, in that nickelodeon…" and you want to pay a hit man to kick her out the door.

If you care to nominate someone else, do leave an acidic comment. Bear in mind that your choice should not simply be guilty of having an untrained voice (Patti Smith), or having a supposedly good voice but absolutely no clue to interpreting lyrics (Miss Toni Fisher and "The Big Hurt" for example). Nor should you vilify a singer if she has the redeeming quality of giant boobs (Dolly Parton's voice is not all that pleasant to my ears, but she sang "9 to 5" well, and her rendition of her self-penned "Jolene" is actually good). The woman you nominate should have the infected trifecta of an irritating voice, clueless technique and poor taste in song choices.

Here, as an example of the right and wrong way to sing a song, is Judy Henske and Teresa Brewer both covering "Silver Dollar."


Judy Henske SILVER DOLLAR Instant download or listen on line. No capcha codes, pop-unders, links to dopey porn and bogus dating sites, or requests to pay for a "premium" account from a Eurotrash "cloud" server run by criminals.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cilla Black! The way she mangles "For No One" has me wincing with agony out of both amusement and embarrassment.

Though she can sing perfectly and clearly, Mary Hopkin possesses one of those voices that make me want to RAM something up McCartney's ass.