Singers To Check Out

Dear Singing Students:

When one of you tells me you've never heard Otis Redding, Etta James, or Al Green, my heart breaks a little! So, here is a list of singers who'll help teach you how to sing from the soul. I've listed specific songs and albums that I especially like. The list is by no means complete, but it's a place to start...



[update 09/13/13]

Al Green - SONG: “I've Never Found A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)”, or the ALBUM: Gets Next To You

Anita O’Day - SONG: “Them There Eyes”

Annie Lennox - SONG: “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” [from Red Hot + Blue: Cole Porter Tribute album, various artists]

Aretha Franklin - SONG: “Skylark” or the ALBUM: Live at the Fillmore West

Bessie Smith - SONG: “Weepin' Willow Blues”

Betty Carter - SONG: “I Only Have Eyes For You”

Big Mama Thornton - SONG: “Hard Times”

Big Maybelle - SONG: “I Got It Bad”

Billie Holiday [I prefer the 30’s-early 40’s] - SONG: “I'm Gonna Lock My Heart” or the ALBUM: Lady Day Swings

Bjork - SONG: "Isobel"

Bobby McFerrin - anything

Bonnie Raitt - anything

Carla Thomas - SONG: “Bring It On Home”

Carmen McRae - anything

Cassandra Wilson - SONG: “I've Grown Accustomed To His Face” or the ALBUM: Blue Light Til Dawn

Charles Brown - SONG: “Please Come Home For Christmas” or the ALBUM: All My Life

Dinah Washington - SONG: “You Don't Know What Love Is”

Donny Hathaway - SONG: “For All We Know”

Ella Fitzgerald - SONG: “A Sunday Kind of Love” or the ALBUM: Cole Porter Songbook

Emmylou Harris SONG: “All My Tears” or “Plaisir D'Amour”

Etta James - SONG: "I'd Rather Go Blind", “These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)”

Etta Jones - SONG: “If I Had You”, "The Gal from Joe's"

Eva Cassidy - anything

George Jones - SONG: “She Thinks I Still Care”

Gillian Welch - SONG: “Paper Wings” or the ALBUM: Revival

Gladys Knight & The Pips - SONG: “Nitty Gritty”, "Heard It Through the Grapevine"

Irma Thomas - SONG: “Ruler Of My Heart”, "Time is On My Side"

Jack Sheldon - SONG: “On The Sunny Side Of The Street”

Jackie Wilson - SONG: “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher”

Julie London - SONG: “You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To”

June Christy - SONG: “How High The Moon”

k.d. lang - SONG: “Outside Myself” or the ALBUM: Ingenue, Drag, Hymns Of The 49th Parallel

Kurt Elling - SONG: “You Don't Know What Love Is” or “My Foolish Heart”

Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - SONG: “Centerpiece” or the ALBUM: Everybody's Boppin'

LaVern Baker - SONG: “Shake a Hand” or the ALBUM: Sings Bessie Smith

Lena Horne - SONG: “Stormy Weather”

Les Paul & Mary Ford - SONG: “Vaya Con Dios”

Little Willie John - SONG: “My Love Is”, "Grits Ain't Groceries"

Lonnie Johnson - SONG: “Tomorrow Night“

Lou Rawls - SONG: “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)”

Louis Jordan [American sax player] - SONG: “Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby” or “I Want You To Be My Baby”

Louis Prima & Keely Smith - SONG: “That Old Black Magic”

Lucinda Williams - SONG: “Lonely Girls” or “Fruits of My Labor” or the ALBUM: Essence, World Without Tears, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

Luther Vandross - SONG: “A House Is Not A Home”

Mahalia Jackson - SONG: “Move On Up a Little Higher”

Mark Murphy - SONG: “More Than You Know”

Marvin Gaye - SONG: “Ain’t That Peculiar”, "Try It Baby", "Got To Give It Up" or the ALBUM: "What's Goin' On"

Maura O'Connell - SONG: “The Water is Wide”

Mel Torme - SONG: “Comin' Home Baby”

The Mills Brothers - SONG: “Tiger Rag”, "Nevertheless (I'm in Love With You")

Najma - SONG: “Neend Koyi” - ALBUM: Qareeb

Nancy Wilson - SONG: “When Did You Leave Heaven?” or the ALBUM: Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley

Nat King Cole - SONG: “Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby”

Nina Simone - SONG: “Feeling Good”, “Come Ye”, “My Baby Just Cares For Me“

Otis Redding - SONG: “Pain In My Heart”, "Trick or Treat"

Patty Griffin - SONG: “Be Careful”

Peggy Lee - SONG: “Fever”

Ray Charles - SONG: “Here We Go Again”, "Lonely Avenue"

Rickie Lee Jones - SONG: “Chuck E.’s in Love” or the ALBUM: Rickie Lee Jones [first album], Pop Pop

Roberta Flack - SONG: “Tryin' Times”, "I Am the Girl" or the ALBUM: First Take

Ruthie Foster - SONG: “Hole in My Pocket” or the ALBUM: Phenomenal Woman

Sam Cooke - SONG: “You Send Me”, "Change is Gonna Come"

Sheila Chandra - SONG: ”Ever So Lonely” or the ALBUM: Weaving My Ancestor's Voices

Shelby Lynne - SONG: “Thought It Would Be Easier” or the ALBUM: I Am Shelby Lynne

Shirley Horn - SONG: “Don’t Be On The Outside” or the ALBUM: Travelin' Light

Solomon Burke - SONG: “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love”, "Cry to Me"

Stevie Wonder - SONG: “For Once in My Life” or the ALBUM: Talking Book [or anything before 1983] 

Willie Nelson - SONG: “Georgia On My Mind” or the ALBUM: Stardust (produced by Booker T Jones!), Red Headed Stranger

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