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First Annual Raymond Kent Listener’s Poll

Germaine Bazzle, Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse, March 3rd, by Raymond Hough 2013
Tag(s): Show host blog

For favorite New Orleans based singers/vocalists, male and female:

For the entire month of January of this year of 2013, on the air on my Friday morning show from 6 to 9 a.m. I asked people to call or e-mail with the names of their favorite female or male New Orleans based singers.

 I used the word “favorite” purposely first of all because choosing the “best” of anything is such a subjective thing, and then also to spotlight lesser-known or hardly-mentioned singers who might be just as good as the high-profile names who appeared on TV somewhere or who have national recording contracts.   This generated responses which surprised even me, but had the effect I was looking for.   Lots of names which don’t get the spotlight were suggested and proposed.

Among the females, or songbirds as I like to call them, were:  

Michelle Cunningham of Strange Roux, Esther Rose, Ellen Smith, Mikhalia Harrison, Sarah Peterson of the Smoking Time Jazz Club, Marcia Ball, and Ingrid Lucia.

Among the males, were these names:

Luther Kent, St.  Louis Slim, Luke Winslow-King, Davell Crawford, Aaron Neville, Cyril Neville, Johnny Adams, Dr. John (Mac Rebennack), Terence Blanchard, Allen Toussaint, George French, Tommy Malone (of the subdudes), Jon Cleary, Eric Lindell, Grandpa Elliott, Coco Robicheaux, and Kermit Ruffins. 

A few of the surprises in this list particularly show how subjective it all is.  The list was supposed to be singers who are still living, but I accepted a vote each for Johnny Adams, the "tan canary" because his voice was truly exceptional, and also Coco Robicheaux because he was a revered New Orleans figure. 

This last Friday, March first, I revealed the final results: 

There was a three-way tie for second-most votes among the females, and they were Erika Lewis of Tuba Skinny, Meschiya Lake, and Debbie Davis.   The most votes went to Germaine Bazzle. 

Among the males, the second-most votes went to Glen David Andrews.   I confess I had never thought of him as a singer -- but listen to him doing “Tootie” from Paul Sanchez’s adaptation double CD, “Nine Lives”.   And receiving the most votes, as elsewhere, was John Boutté.   In my opinion, the best showcase for John’s voice is the tune Skylark from Troy Andrew’s now kind of oddly obscure CD “The End of the Beginning”.

I thank everyone who called in, or sent e-mails, or texted, or told me personally who their favorites were.  Next January we’ll do it all over again!

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