“Can blue men sing the whites?”
That’s a very good question. In the late fifties and early sixties many of the British musicians who were part of the ‘beat boom’ were greatly influenced by America’s blues singers and soul singers and this influenced the way the music developed. Some of the more pompous music journalists at the time were scornful of these ‘white’ boys trying to sing in the style of their idols saying that they were not ‘authentic’ whatever that means. In response to such silly journalism and possibly agreeing with them, you never quite know with Vivian Stanshall, The Bonzo Dog Band recorded a song called “Can blue men sing the whites?” Very whimsical and very British, of course.
But there are indeed not a few ‘blue’ men and women who really can sing blues or R&B with great feeling and ‘soul’ At least three of these singers here earned the respect of, and were fully endorsed by, the very singers they were trying to emulate!
Joe Cocker – Ray Charles said Cocker had one of the best voices he had ever heard.
Bonnie Bramlett was from 1963 to 1966 an ‘Ikette’, a backing singer for Ike and Tina Turner. She wrote this song with Leon Russell. It was originally recorded as ‘Groupie’ (with rather more explicit lyrics)
And three from Sir George Ivan “Van” Morrison, OBE