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The Voice: 1963-2012

Perfect vibrato. (Deceivingly) effortless diaphragmic support. Excellent way of “crowding” the cadences with “just enough” sonic information before landing coyly in the next structural part of the song. Widest of ranges: hardly ever “bailed out” by flipping into falsetto. Used the falsetto flip as a subtle garnish. Impeccable intonation (builds “trust” in a listener). Grew more melismatic as time progressed–never overdid this, though–mostly clever twists at the ends of phrases or tossed in between plainly rendered melodic statements that allowed us to sing along at full voice, by ourselves, in the car. Through musical economy and powerful execution could shape the emotional contour of a song whether in long concert-versions or on a 4:00 minute record. A come hither/don’t come another step closer or I’ll call my cousin camera presence. She and “the voice” seemed like two separate entities: she performed it; allowed us to witness it, she obviously enjoyed it herself. But in the end it just couldn’t keep up.

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