Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, March 20, 2005

A couple months ago I was saying hereabouts that while Elvis was a huge inspiration to the ‘60s rockers, I didn’t hear much direct influence, but today while listening to him I thought, duh, of course he had an influence, the range and freedom he brought to timbre which few singers I’ve heard, black or white, had before him, the range from sweet smooth croon to rough raspy yell -- who sang like that before him? Bobby Blue Bland could do it, maybe Ray Charles, but Elvis’s ability to encompass the range in one breath, in a single phrase -- like nobody else that I’ve ever heard. So yeah, though nobody after has quite measured up technically as a singer (contenders: Etta James, Streisand, Lennon, McCartney, Marvin Gaye, S. Wonder, Robert Plant, Prince, Bjork -- and some of them have had technical capacities that Elvis lacked, and probably some of them could go from a roar to a croon in one phrase but simply haven’t felt it), Elvis’s range was hugely influential.

And, you know, I just think his voice is beautiful.

* * *

Technique: This morning the 2-year-old got going on a scat chant -- “oona boona toona coona,” or some such -- dancing and chanting, waving his arms, stomping in a circle, getting more and more intense, till he’s shouting, and his head is vibrating with the intensity, like he’s shaking with rage (though he doesn’t seem angry), and on and on it goes, a few minutes, with more than a minute of peak-wild vibrating, and then he stops, and he says -- calmly, smiling, looking me in the eye -- “That was a good song.”
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