so the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band once asked the gender-prejudice version of this
question "Can blue men sing the whites?" as a spoof on the terrible self-chastisement
that used to go on in the Brit blues scene when people like Eric Clapton and
John Mayall used to play all that poor Afro-American slave music...
but what is interesting (for me) is that there were (still are) a lot of great women
singers of blues (r'n'b in the old sense, and bordering on jazz) in the UK scene
some were absolutely stellar - much better than (say) Jagger or whoever - for example
before they became glam, or just died, or got waylaid by their lesser male partners
in the band, I would claim that
Elkie Brookes (in Vinegar Joe), Carol Grimes,
Jo-Ann Kelly, Charlene Spiteri, Pauline Black, Alf,
Julie Driscoll (note I am not straying across the pond to
Janis and gang)
were all frabjous - indeed, Sarah Jane Morris, and
lets not even talk about Adele, Amy Winehouse
(dare I add Joss Stone, who I think aint half bad)
or Big Beth (Watsername from the Gossip)
and Bats-for-lashes, or Siouxie Sioux etc etc, although now
I am a darker shade of goth-off-topic... ... ...
notice how many of these were "with" someone (Brian Auger and the dreadful Trinity
or the Selector), often someone not too bad (e.g. a spot of OK slide guitar, or the Banshee's bass player (nay, nay, not the drummer or the various guitarists with suicidal tendencies long before the fashion caught on with the Manics)
but not in the same really stellar league as the singer in question
there's some sort of eternal tragic truth in here trying to get out...