Panda Channels Big Mama Thornton

20 Sep

Watch that full video. Yes, the entire thing. Above is 42-year-old Panda Ross singing Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home” in her audition for The X Factor. She was still suffering from a touch of pneumonia as she performed and later had to be given oxygen. Fact is, all her bubbly personality and incredible stage presence aside, Panda can sing. Sing may even be putting it lightly.

I have watched a lot of auditions in my years of sitting through singing competitions, and this one may have been my favorite. When I heard her first note, I became overwhelmed with excitement. Panda Ross’ voice is not from 2012. Her guttural, gospel, croon is a relic, a call-back to a time in history when the foundation of rock n’ roll was still being founded and the inspiration of blues was in full force. Last night, she channeled the late Big Mama Thornton, who sang the original recording of “Hound Dog.” Just listen.

Strong matriarchal musicians like Mama Thornton became inspirations to ALL female vocalists, especially some of the best to ever open their pipes (Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin). So you understand why I was so excited to hear Panda Ross fully encapsulate some back-shelf blues last night. I only wish her the best in the competition, and I hope she goes a long way.

And, just in case you forgot how good of a voice Sam Cooke had, here is the original version of the song Panda Ross is singing above.

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2 Responses to “Panda Channels Big Mama Thornton”

  1. John Phillips September 20, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    You sound like a legend. No shit Simon. I gave up on this show last year. Maybe with a look see just for Panda this year. Holy crap

    • Matthew Coleman September 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

      Yeah, I know! Found a reason to keep watching, haha

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