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Whiskey voice - what is it?

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VirginiaTam 07 Jun 10 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Jun 10 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Ed 07 Jun 10 - 09:43 AM
Bernard 07 Jun 10 - 10:21 AM
Paul Burke 07 Jun 10 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Joey 07 Jun 10 - 06:06 PM
Alice 07 Jun 10 - 06:18 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 07 Jun 10 - 06:51 PM
Joe Offer 08 Jun 10 - 01:02 AM
VirginiaTam 08 Jun 10 - 02:51 AM
banksie 08 Jun 10 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,Silas 08 Jun 10 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 08 Jun 10 - 09:22 AM
Alice 08 Jun 10 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 08 Jun 10 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Geups 25 Aug 10 - 11:21 AM
Slag 25 Aug 10 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,Patsy 26 Aug 10 - 07:25 AM
Ebbie 26 Aug 10 - 10:55 AM
Art Thieme 26 Aug 10 - 04:50 PM
michaelr 26 Aug 10 - 07:41 PM
GUEST,vantheman 27 Aug 10 - 02:29 AM
Desi C 27 Aug 10 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,thompson 02 Dec 10 - 03:03 AM
GUEST,Grishka 02 Dec 10 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Gelphy 10 Jan 11 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,Frug 10 Jan 11 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Melissa Meherg 27 Feb 11 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Grishka 27 Feb 11 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 24 Dec 13 - 11:52 PM
GUEST,Bil 27 Jan 14 - 02:11 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Jan 14 - 02:42 PM
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Subject: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 09:16 AM

I have heard the term applied to several very different sounding voices. All female, such as Suzanne Pleshette and Mariella Frostrup.

Does it mean just low and husky? Does it mean gravelly which is kind of hard or raspy which is soft? Is it considered a good thing or a bad thing in a singer?

I would like a technical definition but cannot find one on the interwub.   

Some sound samples would not go unappreciated.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 09:31 AM

I used to encounter the phrase 'whiskey tenor,' but it's old-fashioned now.

I think it meant a throat in bad condition (cracked, hoarse) probably combined with poor control of tuning.   

It is definitely a bad thing in a singer. However, the world of pop music has long tolerated singing styles (like 'rock belted') which damage the voice, so the connection between alcohol and a raspy throat is now weakened.

Sorry I don't know anything about Suzanne Pleshette and Mariella Frostrup.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 09:43 AM

It's a colloquialism, so you're not going to get a technical definition.

A rasping, gravelly voice is perhaps the best definition. I don't think control of tuning has anything to do with it.

Tom Waits is a good example.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 10:21 AM

My understanding is that it's a voice that sounds better when you're listening under the influence of whisky - as in 'beer goggles' which make all females look attractive...!

There are probably as many 'definitions' as there are people who use the term!


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 02:29 PM

People who drink metal polish develop a brasso profundo..


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Joey
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 06:06 PM

Well I think you sort of answered your own question. Suzanne Pleshette was the first person I thought of when I saw your question, also Lucille Ball and Bette Davis in their later years.

It just means a gravelly, low, deep voice. Sometimes it's natural and the person can't help it but often it is the result of drinking too much hard liqor and smoking too many cigarettes, hence whisky voice. Although to be honest smoking is nearly always the reason for such a voice rather than booze.

I don't think it has anything to do with needing to be drunk to apreciate it!! I remember my folks using the term years ago. But it is usually about a speaking voice and people with a whisky voice aren't usually goos singers as the voice tends to be monotone and flat.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: Alice
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 06:18 PM

A "whiskey voice", as guests Ed and Joey, means a low, raspy voice as of one who drinks and smokes.

Men and women both have been described as having a whiskey voice, so it is not just a label for a female singer.

A National Public Radio of interview with Tom Waits about his release of the cd "Orphans" was titled The Whiskey Voice Returns.


Alice


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 06:51 PM

My wife's late grandmother had a whiskey baritone - and she was all of four feet, ten inches in height! As for Tom Waits, in talking to folks who knew or encountered him back in his "salad days" on the streets of San Diego and National City, they say he has long graduated from whiskey - to Drano. Whatever; he is certainly one of a kind.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 01:02 AM

Would you say Peggy Lee had a "whiskey voice"?
I love her singing, but part of the sexiness of her voice is that smoky timbre of her voice - probably caused by cigarettes.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 02:51 AM

I think I am developing this whiskey voice and I do not smoke or drink. My voice has gone very low and it is getting quite raspy. Only when I sing. Speaking voice is annoyingly normal and boring.

Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Helena - PM
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 06:22 PM

I never heard the term "Whiskey voice" Viv, but my father in law has a "Whisky nose".


Are you the one who created a fake profile of me on Yahoo Buzz? I see you erroneously use the name Viv for me.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: banksie
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 07:24 AM

I always think of Janis Joplin when it comes to `whiskey voice'. And that was for real too, as she was often accompanied on stage by a bottle of Jack Daniels.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Silas
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 08:50 AM

The term is used in the Jaques Brell song 'Port of Amsterdam' - at least in the english translation.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 09:22 AM

I think I've heard the term - but probably just assumed that it was some sort of meaningless waffle dreamed up by the music industry and music journalists.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: Alice
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 01:38 PM

Janis Joplin is a good example. But, it doesn't require drinking or smoking to cause the raspy, low sound. One is born with a vocal range that depends on the size of your vocal folds, then if something damages those folds (shouting, forcing your voice, singing lower than the natural range, etc.) then you can a develop a raspy voice.

I don't think Peggy Lee had a whiskey voice, but her voice did have a warm quality.

Alice


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 08 Jun 10 - 01:45 PM

Maria Muldaur, a singer perhaps best known to the general public for the quirky "Midnight at The Oasis," once described her voice as having become a "saxaphone" as she matured, as opposed to a flute maybe. That can become an asset, perhaps making a voice more "interesting."

I'm sure the same dynamic applies when the subject of "whiskey voice" comes up. Many years of singing will alter a voice as will smoking, drinking or carousing. One thing you can't avoid, if you're fortunate, is aging. Call it what you will, it's your instrument and it is in your care. You can learn to use it wisely enough to minimize those changes using proper breathing and vocal techniques, avoiding smoke and wretched excess, drinking plenty of water and knowing your effective range.

But, if you don't want deal with all that, you can party like hell and periodically reinvent yourself. You didn't REALLY want to live forever anyway, did you?


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Geups
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 11:21 AM

Ray Lamontagne, Ryan Bingham,

and yes, Janis, Tom Waits...


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: Slag
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 04:37 PM

Smoker's rasp.

Whisky voice (gee, you might think in terms of liquid tones).

Confusing or confused lyrics slurred and strewn about like so many fish scales. The Blatherskates!

B flat minor minor minor (under 21 in most states).

The pear-shaped tone, fermented.

Who was it that said "Tee many martoonies!"?

"Rye Whisky, Rye Whisky, Rye Whisky I cry!
If'n I don't git Rye Whisky I'll lay down and die" sung in a whisky voice: now that would be interesting.

Do you all know the difference between Whisky and Whiskey? There is, you know.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 07:25 AM

Although not exactly husky I bet Billie Holiday took a slug or three to hit all of those random notes so well. Unfortunately all whiskey does for me is to make me bad tempered so I avoid it at all costs.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: Ebbie
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 10:55 AM

Suzanne Thomas has what I would call a rather gravelly, raspy voice and I like it. I like her recording of 'You're Doing Me Wrong, Jim Beam", too.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 04:50 PM

Old friend, Larry Penn, a retired truck driver from Milwaukee, Wis was said to have a voice like "beer for breakfast funk." I always thought it was accurately applied.

Larry wrote "I'm A Little Cookie"

When he had to stop drinking, he wrote a real great one called "The Whisky's Gone"

The whisky's gone, the whisky's gone,
Left me here to sing this song...

Art


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: michaelr
Date: 26 Aug 10 - 07:41 PM

Marianne Faithfull!


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,vantheman
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 02:29 AM

I had a friend some years ago who kissed Leonard Cohen and told me that he tasted of whisky. So I assume that as he had a whisky kiss he must have had a whisky voice.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: Desi C
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 07:15 AM

As an Irish traditionalist it referes there to voices like Ronnie Drew, maybe more so to Luke Kelly e.g a ruch throaty voice, I'd certainly disagree with 'poor tuning' nothing of the kind. In fact I regard it as a fine quality in a singer


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,thompson
Date: 02 Dec 10 - 03:03 AM

when i drink i drink hard stuff strait chugin. beginning to notice raspyness with my voice
whiskey voice like charley patton blues man


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 02 Dec 10 - 05:02 PM

I guess it is a music journalists' metaphor, once clever and then turned cliché. It describes a voice that sounds as whisk(e)y tastes: rough, smoky, yet enjoyable. The cause may or may not be drinking. Songs about a consumptive, yet somewhat stylish way of life, such as a whisk(e)y addiction, are deemed adequate for such a voice.

I have the feeling that whisky is considered more stylish (diseuses), whiskey more desparate (Waits etc.), but I may be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Gelphy
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 04:37 PM

A whiskey voice is a raspy tenor. It is usually found in elderly former smokers, although younger persons (myself included) can develop it through a combination of voice exertion, smoking and drinking (usually beer).

Most males will find themselves with a temporary whiskey voice after a party, especially if they find themselves singing along with the music.

Celebrity examples:
Al Pacino, John Mahoney, Rush Limbaugh.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Frug
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 04:57 PM

Whiskey voice.......let you know at the end of this bottle


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Melissa Meherg
Date: 27 Feb 11 - 01:40 PM

I've been noticing that when I hit any high notes, I hear this raspiness in it. I don't smoke nor do I drink, but my parents smoke. Does being around smoke affect your voice?


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Feb 11 - 02:59 PM

Melissa, I am sure it does, and it's also bad for your health.

Not every bad voice is a whiskey voice, otherwise there would be a lot of Tom Waitses. Like a bad reputation in the yellow press, it must be earned.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 24 Dec 13 - 11:52 PM

aaahh.. Whiskey voice

you lot all may not have noticed my absence
or just let time slip by and completely forgot I ever existed
but I used to be a bit of an abrasive wind up bellend round this here party..

well there is a reason...
about 18 months ago I voluntarily gave up drinking
and the internet
as I was forced to grow up a bit
by necessity of sad family circumstance...

However.. tonight I feel confident that my singing voice might have returned

Tonight I broke my self imposed fast

1 bottle of Talisker,..and 1 bottle of Laphroig..

punkfolkrocker may be back..


do you know what.. my singing voice might not be as shit
as I thought it used to be...

life and experience grinding down on the vocal chords
until suddenly we find the sweet spot !!!???


odd thing is I have no imminent desire for cider ??????

but the warmth of expensive single malt in my heart and belly makes me find
long lost melody in my soul and trousers.......


Happy Xmas you old mudcat [fill in expletives and/or endearments as required]...


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: GUEST,Bil
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 02:11 PM

Lefa Rae definitely has a Whiskey Voice.


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Subject: RE: Whiskey voice - what is it?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 02:42 PM

Sounds like "another double and a pint o'heavy Jimmy".
Jim Carroll


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