Beautiful Blues


New musical guest blog by Ruddy Adam.

A Beautiful Blues Song by One of the All-Time Great Voices: Dinah Washington

One of the great voices of all time who could sing in a variety of styles, Blues, Jazz, Pop, R&B, Classical, and Country, Miss Buck used to call Dinah Washington, “The Black Elvis,” because of her style range and the high-quality intone level that she sang (9-10). Dinah not only sang at a high intone level; she had vocal range and could hold a note. She is one of the black singers of the day who truly deserved the praise she’s gotten for her voice.

As so many of the self-trained-by-their-own-ear black singers of the day did, Dinah began singing Gospel in her family church. A Southern gal, she, however, sang without any notice of accent of any type. A pure voice derived from a pure ear is about all you can say about the result of her self-training.

As great a voice as she had, she’s another one of so many that still never reached her potential because of drugs. Broken relationships (7 marriages), firings from bands, musicians leaving her, and finally an overdose, took her voice from us at age 39. She was the first I remember who died from drugs (1963). After her, the losses kept coming, and sadly, as we have seen recently with Prince (or so the media say at this point) have not stopped.

Let us hope that one day they do stop!

Great accompaniment in this piece, especially the strings. Be sure to get a load of that voice; it’s one of the great ones of all time. No vibrato. But with that type of voice, you don’t need it.

Dinah is E.’s favorite black female singer. Enjoy!

“This Bitter Earth,” by Dinah Washington, 1960 (2:25)

I’ll think you’ll enjoy this version as well, by a German composer, with Dinah’s voice. It proves what a great song “This Bitter Earth” is and what a wonderful voice Dinah Washington has that they chose her voice and this piece 52-years later for this choreography. It fits perfectly, too.

This beautiful orchestration changes “Bitter Earth” from a bluesy love tune to a haunting operatic piece that tends to move you in a far more chilling way than the former.

“This Bitter Earth,” composition by Max Richter, sung by Dinah Washington (4:30)

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