Texas Blueswoman Ruthie Foster

Posted on: Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ruthie Foster has a fabulous voice. If you want to hear how good and to hear an interview then you should head on over to the NPR site to listen to the recent “All things considered” site.

All Things Considered, April 25, 2007 · Singer and songwriter Ruthie Foster has been compared to Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin.

Foster, who grew up in Gause, Texas, served a stint in the U.S. Navy — singing in its funk band — before launching full-time into her music career………




May 12th, 2007 at 17:52
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Aretha Franklin seems to be the “standard” by which every new singer is judged. I think it odd because when you look back at Miss Franklin’s roots, you’ll find a very young girl who started singing in the church at seven years old, and traveled with her father throughout the country singing gospel in her teens, competing with (and it WAS competition) the best gospel singers in the world and going up against other young girls who could sing their butts off in churches in every state in the Union. Also, the greats of gospel and blues were flowing through Miss Franklin’s living room. Great jazz and gospel pianist sat with her and taught her chords and “trade secrets.” Also, gospel greats like Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward, James Cleveland and even the Queen of the Blues, Dinah Washington, was a frequent guest in the Franklin home. She learned from them all. All this, and growing up in a segreated, Jim Crow nation where bigotry and racism was a fixture. Miss Franklin arrived at 18 years old with all that experience in her voice and STUNNED the music world with her driving gospel piano and soulful, shouting singing style.

Now, every young singer (or blond English girl who happened to just LISTEN to Aretha’s records) who decides that she wants to be a soul singer, is instantly “compared” to Aretha Franklin. Please, ALLOW THESE SINGERS TO “PAY SOME DUES” before you start comparing them to The Queen. Most of them cannot “compare” to those brilliant singers who haven’t reached Aretha’s stature in music history. Take Loleatta Holloway, Bettye LaVette, Shirley Brown, Ann Peebles, etc. Can Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse or any of these “new singers” even stand on the same stage as them? I think not.

If you read David Freeland’s incredible book (LADIES OF SOUL) on soul singing ladies who didn’t make it as big as Aretha, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, etc., you’ll see that they, too, had hard lives which contributed to their singing styles and the depth of emotion with which they sing.

Ruthie Foster might be good, but give her a chance to own her sound and don’t compare her to others who have earned their way in music.



May 13th, 2007 at 12:47
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The comparison was not mine but was a direct quotation from the NPR site. I agree that one must allow people to be judged on their own qualities.

As for me I enjoy Aretha as I enjoy Amy Winehouse as I enjoyed the NPR clip on Ruthie Foster (I haven’t heard Joss Stone). This does not mean that any of them are better than anyone else. What’s good is good.

I had a lovely bottle of Penfold’s Australian red wine last night but it doesn’t mean that I’ll never enjoy a pint (or two) of Timothy Taylors Landlord every again.