Earlier this year I spent a few days in New Orleans where I was learning about the future of digital communications (i.e. VoIP and video calling.) New Orleans does not seem to have the spunk it had the last time I visited. It was probably the lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina and possibly too, the city was taking a deep breath before Mardi Gras got into full swing.
Besides Mardi Gras, New Orleans is perhaps best known for its jazz. Like many musical styles, jazz comes in different flavors. Some of the music I enjoy is like jazz in the sense that it is hard to categorize by a single style. For example, which category defines a group like Chicago (one of my top 5 faves.) Compare their songs “Beginnings”, “Color My World”, and “25 or 6 to 4” and you’ll understand what I mean. I could make a similar case for the Gaither Vocal Band.
“Let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious.” — Virgil (70 BC – 19 BC), Eclogues
These examples hint of my preference for music with brass and/or male voices. I am especially fond of a cappella men’s singing, such as barbershop quartet singing. Traditional barbershop songs have lyrics that reflect a simpler time. Wrap them in a singable melody with tight barbershop harmonies and you have a distinctive sound that most people recognize even if they can’t define it.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much barbershop music is on YouTube. Barbershop quartets today also sing non-barbershop songs in a quasi barbershop style. Below, you’ll find a few samples of a capella singing, most done in the barbershop style. The music is intended for all — some of the link captions are intended for my barbershop friends.
- Harold Hill lives in Kentucky
- The Truth about men
- The Lone Ranger
- Warm thoughts in January
- Still a kid
- Doing a gig with Bill Gaither
- Sly down under?
- Awesome Joe
- Makin’ fun of Awesome Joe
- Take 5 for a cup of Joe
- Take 6
- E-Bay eat your heart out!
- Classical barbershop?
- A bouncy love song
- No one sells a love ballad better
- It Is Well
- The Stars and Stripes
- Encore: A suggestion for our commander-in-chief
“Dance as if no one’s watching, sing as if no one’s listening, and live every day as if it were your last.” — Irish proverb
© Copyright July 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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