Best female blues voice?

A discussion of the blues for blues lovers and fans.

RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby david » Tue Jul 16, 2002 4:01 pm

How about a new up and comer? Anybody ever hear Jonell Mosser from Nashville?

She used to sing with New Grass Revival, way back when, and has done backups for Keb Mo and Ringo, among others. She has a blues band of her own now and has an incredible voice that won't quit. She is often compared with Janus Joplin.

I saw her recently at a local festival. It was like a reunion, because she sang at my wedding back in 81, back when we were both college students. She didn't have a band then, just sang and played with her boy friend.

She has a couple of CDs out, but they don't do her justice. They are mainly sweet sounding ballads, not her hot blues style.
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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby ricochet » Tue Jul 16, 2002 7:40 pm

Well, tell that gal to put out a hot blues CD and we'll all get it! :7
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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby bosco » Thu Jul 18, 2002 12:35 pm

>I'll jump in with Big Mama Thornton and Big Maybelle, who
>both kicked the bejeezus out of anything they did<

Blueswriter - Got a question for you...'bout 10 years on a Detroit radio station I heard a song by "Little Esther" (?) that I think was titled "IS you is, or is you ain't,(my baby)? I'm reasonably certain about the artist and title although a lot of time has elasped. Been casually looking for it every since. I have seen versions by other singers but everyone says this cut must have come from a compilation as they can't find it. Any ideas? I'll post in "In search of..." if you don't find this here. Anyone else is welcome to respond too.
Thanks.

"A song ain't nuthin' in this world but a story with music to it."
Hank Williams
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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby blueswriter » Thu Jul 18, 2002 8:12 pm

Bosco...

I've a got a few ends looking for it now. I've checked and I don't see a reference to her doing "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't" in what I have here (which is a lot, but certainly not exhaustive). I'll get back to you if I do happen to dig anything up, or not, if such is the case. But, I'm woikin' on it...

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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby blueswriter » Thu Jul 18, 2002 11:57 pm

Bosco,

A member of the post-war list checked songfile.com, which I also looked in, and there's no reference of Little Esther doing a version of "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't." I'm familiar with the song, and have always thought Little Esther's stuff with Johnny Otis was top-notch (what a voice she had when singing with his band). When I first saw your post, my initial reaction was that I had no recollection of her doing the song. I've got a good amount of her on vinyl and it isn't on any of those, nor on either of the Johnny Otis two-LP sets I have on Savoy. She did one called "T'ain't Whatcha Say It's Whatcha Do." Could that be the one?

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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby bosco » Fri Jul 19, 2002 12:51 pm

BW - Thanks for checking into it. I had checked everything available on Amazon and spent a couple hours reading anything connected with her on a Google search. She apparently was pushed towards country and pop standards by her labels later in her recording career. I'm guessing the song I'm looking for was earlier in her career (when they still called her "Little Esther", not Esther Phillips), and her material was more blues/dance band oriented. As you noted, she recorded with the Johnny Otis Orchestra for years and a search of his material revealed many "Revue/Extravaganza" recordings with multiple guest vocalists and Esther having one or cuts on each. The song you mention is the only one that comes close to what I recall. I'll check it out when I get the chance; maybe the lyrics I remember are part of the chorus and not the actual song title. Thanks again for your help, I know you enjoy a good blues/history/fact finding quest.

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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby blueswriter » Fri Jul 19, 2002 6:38 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Jul-19-02 AT 02:38 PM (CST)]Hey Bosco...

No problem looking for something, since, as you mentioned, I do enjoy the fact finding/ferreting missions. I've checked a little more and still have come up with zilch. When you do listen to "Tain't Whatcha Say," let me know. I've looked into her early days when still called Little Esther, and there ain't nothin' I can dig up that refers to her doing the song. If I find anything, I'll let you know.

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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby blueswriter » Sat Jul 20, 2002 10:59 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Jul-20-02 AT 07:09 AM (CST)]Bosco,

Big Joe Louis brought up a good point and one I hadn't thought of asking. Dinah Washington recorded the song twice, once for Mercury and later Roulette. I was then led to think that, early on, her voice was quite similar to Little Esther's. Deciding that wasn't enough and wanting to dig a little deeper, I then gave both of them a spin, and they do sound quite alike (early in their careers). Could your mystery artist actually be Dinah?

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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby bosco » Sat Jul 20, 2002 12:54 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Jul-20-02 AT 08:56 AM (CST)]BW- The artist part, "Little Esther", I'm positive about. The song is the hazy part. At the time,(at least 10 years ago), I had never heard of Little Esther and I immediately went on a search for the song. CD's were fairly new then, the internet but a pup, and the music stores only had phonologs and not computer terminals. I hit all dead ends very quickly.
The song was very upbeat blues with almost a bounce to it, and I was struck by the humorous use of slang and double negatives. Can you supply links to sites where I can listen to Esther's "Tain't Whatcha say, It's Whatcha do" and Dinah's "Is you Is, or Ain't you Ain't?". That could help narrow it down to the correct song. Thanks.

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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby santo » Thu Sep 19, 2002 8:36 pm

I've seen Irma Thomas sing at every kind of event imaginable. Picnics, fairs, bowling alleys, CYO dances, Jazz Festivals and fancy night clubs. She is the queen of New Orleans R & B. When She sings "Ruler of my Heart" I feel like I'm in New Orleans in the Early 60's.
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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby tele_caster _ » Sat Nov 16, 2002 7:34 pm

Etta & Sara Dash
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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby howlnwoof » Thu Feb 20, 2003 12:23 pm

how 'bout this lady?

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/maxinejohnson

YAHOO..................
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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby alexjay » Thu Feb 20, 2003 1:45 pm

Well, I've only gotten to listen to one other blues chanteuse on CDBaby so far (I had to tear myself away for fear of drowning in debt), but Ms. Johnson has a very good Patti LaBelle brassy nasal voice, with touches of Sippie Wallace. Seems more soul-jazz than blues, though.

I still prefer the other one I heard so far, whose album I ordered but do not yet have. When I get that one, I'll give a full report in the Reviews conference.
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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby ricochet » Tue Apr 15, 2003 11:39 pm

Just got to see & hear Koko Taylor a week and a half ago. She's great, all right!

John
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RE: Best female blues voice?

Postby alexjay » Tue Jun 03, 2003 8:42 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Jun-03-03 AT 04:43 AM (EST)]If you like Jessie Mae, you may want to check out the information that young blues chanteuse Olga has on her website--apparently, she's not only befriended Jessie Mae and started up the Jessie Mae Hemphill Foundation ... the young'un also got Jessie Mae to record for a new album just recently!

The site, http://www.laolga.com , looks like it's undergoing a revamp, but you should still be able to find out some stuff.
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