I was recently watching Kiss Me Kate for the umpteenth time and thinking, as I always do, that (a) I like Howard Keel’s voice, (b) I like baritones generally, and (c) there are no baritone pop voices today. That didn’t used to be the case, of course. Back in the day, one could listen to Bing Crosby, or Dick Haymes, or Billy Eckstine, or any number of other pop-singing baritones. Nowadays, though, it’s rare to hear a “grown-up” male voice. They’re all pop tenors and exceptions, if they exist, tend to go even higher and squeakier (think Cee Lo Green or Nate Ruess, who has a fascinating, but not very manly, voice).
I guess that’s why I was taken aback when I first heard the Kongos’ “Come With Me Now.” This is kind of old-fashioned rock-and-roll, sung by people whose voices have clearly changed. The singers are four brothers, of Greek extraction, who were born in South Africa, and raised both there and in England. Whether or not one likes their music (I’m old enough to like this kind of throbbing rock ‘n roll), I think they stand out simply because they sound like men: