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Who's the greatest soul singer of all time?

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Showing 1-25 of 828 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Sep 2008 16:30:07 BDT
L. A. Ward says:
Marvin? Al? Isaac? Otis? Fight!

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Sep 2008 15:32:32 BDT
luv marvin but must vote for the godfather of soul mr james brown

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Sep 2008 17:22:37 BDT
K.Burslem says:
There all great singers, but the most UNDERATED soul singer of All-time is SAM DEES.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Sep 2008 21:27:00 BDT
Antony May says:
Sam Dees should have been massive I agree but for me THE MAN will always be Donny Hathaway.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2008 22:35:10 BDT
avfc1874 says:
mavis staples or solomon burke or toots hibbert

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Sep 2008 23:38:41 BDT
Mad Dave says:
Edwin Starr anyone? David Ruffin should be in anyone's top ten, I'll stick with Starr as he did more solo songs during the prime of his career, whereas Ruffin shared a lot of leads and had a great group around him (Starr is like Maradonna- made average teams/songs look great on his own, Ruffin is like Pele, great team around him). The sad thing is I'm not even drunk. Since you twisted my arm, Steve Mancha would give them a run for their money, and J.J. Barnes would as well. Don't forget the New Orleans boys; Earl King and Eldgridge Holmes. There are loads of singers like Otis Clay who could be on top, but didn't record too many great sides.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2008 21:50:36 BDT
Sam Dees-yep spot on there.Truly soulful over time must be a toss up between Marvin and Bobby Womack.I go with Womack because he can growl like Brown but sing ballads like nobody else.He truly is a soul survivor. Also in the running must be Issac hayes and Curtis Mayfield.
I also like William Bell,Percy Sledge and Wilson Pickett who deserve a mention.Some rare groove outsiders would be C.L Blast, Ike Noble and Percy Larkins if you can find any of their music.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Sep 2008 12:01:26 BDT
James Carr - who else?
At long last he has been accorded the recognition he deserved.
Grant Soul Man Canyon

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Sep 2008 14:20:18 BDT
James Carr certainly was good as were all the singers mentioned previously. They all have their place as no 1 at various times. The question is impossible to answer for that reason. However it is good to see that some of the also rans are still remembered. If I were to throw some faves of mine (not excluding those above) it would be Bobby Bland, Homer Banks, Arthur Prysock but what about some newer practioners: Ryan Shaw, Antony Hamilton?
Surely there are some female contenders: Barbara Acklin, Aretha, Fontella Bass, Sharon Jones to name a few?

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Sep 2008 15:27:49 BDT
Sajn says:
Surprised no one has mentioned some of the more modern stars like Luther, Alexander O'Neal or Brian McKnight.

For me it is Luther.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Sep 2008 18:30:13 BDT
M. R. Smith says:
I suppose I`m biased as I saw him perform 2 weeks ago so my vote has to be STEVIE WONDER

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Oct 2008 08:36:58 BDT
W. Hertog says:
I say Al Green, very hard to beat but there really are so many great soul singers! Al Green really can sing circles around your soul and lift you up.

Well, that's it,


In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2008 23:52:18 BDT
M. Adams says:
For me it's Aretha. An obvious choice I know, but her voice just moves me like no-one elses.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2008 09:34:32 BDT
Soul Man says:
No fight necessary, Otis Redding would beat both of them with his hands tied behind his back.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2008 10:46:10 BDT
Soul Fan says:
Aretha and Otis I agree are absolutely amazing. Aretha being my all time favourite. Obviously a lot of the ones mentionned above are all time greats too. I didn't see mentionned the Staple Singers (well someone mentionned Mavis), Ann Peebles, Ike & Tina or Esther Philips who are definitely worth to be talked about I think.
Lately I have also "discovered" Laura Lee and particularly Bettye Lavette who is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend if you don't know her already.
Anyway, just my 2 cents :)

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2008 12:53:54 BDT
This is a difficult question to answer definitively. Nevertheless, my choice would be SAM COOKE.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Nov 2008 17:39:35 GMT
pikeyboy says:
There is no such thing as the greatest soul singer. Marvin, Otis, James Brown, they weren't in competition, but neither can you successfully categorise them as catering to one small bracket of music. All genre categorisation is divisive and probably racist, to my way of thinking. For me, Gram Parsons and Tim Buckley sang with as much soul as anyone you can mention, but one is labelled country-rock, or americana, and the other anything from folk to avant-garde to rock, (needless to say 'rock' implies music with a white face, yet includes Arthur Lee's Love, Jimi Hendrix, et al.) Just go into your local record store to see how meaningless labels are: you'll possibly find Stevie Wonder in the urban category, or just as easily in popular. It's all nonsense!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Nov 2008 18:14:48 GMT
Brass Neck says:
Fully agree with the notion that soul and feel are present in other genres, especially americana/C&W but let's stick with the man on the Clapham omnibus' understanding of what is soul and my vote goes to O V Wright with James Carr close behind, both givng sublime voice to their tortured experiences.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Nov 2008 10:49:57 GMT
Donny Hathaway, hands down. His version of 'A Song for You' makes me cry

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Nov 2008 14:54:12 GMT
For me, it has to be Al Green but others that I would mention are Solomon Burke, Millie Jackson and Patti Labelle. All great singers in their own way.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Nov 2008 20:59:36 GMT
Withnail says:
I'll go leftfield and stick a vote in for Etta James and.... Janis Joplin

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Nov 2008 11:24:54 GMT
Keith, too true. Also Love, Love, Love is a killer track and yeah, what a voice. I am a great fan of Sam Dees and for pure groove, Leroy Hutson.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Nov 2008 14:12:13 GMT
Pikeyboy-you are getting a bit heavy for a general chat about soul singers.All the singers named here are/were great artists but when Otis released 'The Soul Album' the genre was much more clearly definable than it is now.The original Blues roots of the music meant it was clearly a black orientated art form-not rascist, just fact!
Since the sixties we have had the Beatles relase a rubber soul album-clearly not 'soul' for fans of the genre.We have Southern Soul a la Stax-my take on the defination but what about Northern (UK) soul? Neo-soul, whatever the hell that is meant to be? Was the Motown sound soulful? certainly some of the artists were.The Average white band???? Now they broke barriers.
This is a heavy debate that intertwines American black culture and politics with the globalisation of music in the last fifty odd years.
There are some great truly soulful singers around today.Check out Kindred,Anthony Hamilton, Musiq Soulchild,Ralph DeVaughn, Wayne Brady, Angie Stone-there is some great music out there but is it all soul?
I have been listening to some Jean Carne-now she is damned soulful,so is Howard Hewett.But listen to Duffy,Adele and Amy Winehouse-are they soul artists? I would say more 'pop' but with some heavy soul influences. Let the debate continue!

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Nov 2008 15:35:33 GMT
I am glad that you all care,but it is an impossible choice.Sometimes for me it,s Sam Cooke or Al Green or Marvin Gaye,but what about Womack-Wright-Clay-Latimore-ZZ-Burke ? There,s youngsters too Sir Charles Jones and Lee Morris at their best deserve some time to develope.Poor Ronnie Lovejoy was going to be there also.We have hardly mentioned the ladies-Aretha-Patti-Etta-Irma !! We are spoilt for choice,but put me on the rack and one name would probably be screamed out-JOHNNIE TAYLOR-

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Nov 2008 16:13:06 GMT
I,ve just found this thread,by accident,and I find it very refreshing.
I have to agree with one of the earlier posts,it is an IMPOSSIBLE task to pick "the best" soul-singer of alltime.I agree with the vast majority of whats been said,it can be anyone of countless great Soul artists,depending on the mood you are in at any particular time.
I will mention three GREATS,
Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops,Ben E. King and Rudy Lewis of The Drifters,but how could you seperate these guys,and put them in order of merit/talent??????
Lets just appreciate these three greats,and everybody else who,s been mentioned,for what they are/were,just FABULOUS,they have left us with magical memories.
I do understand where a couple of contributions are coming from,Bonnie Raitt and Delbert McClinton knock this "category thing" into smithereens.These two artists have great "soul voices",but they are categorised as Country artists,and what category does Dusty Springfield go under???
Sorry guys,I,m on a roll here,I was fortunate to see The Ojays,LIVE,so I,m giving a special mention to Walter Williams Jnr and Eddie Levert,two GREAT Soul Singers.
Special thanks to whoever started this thread,reading through the posts has brung back many happy memories,from my youth,ha!
Davy C.
ps,Smokey Robinson,has anybody mentioned his TALENT???
My Girl AND Tracks of my Tears,does it get any better???
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