Vocal Impressions: Hearing Voices, Round Six Commentator Brian McConnachie has been asking listeners to describe their impressions of famous voices. In his last challenge, he asked listeners to describe the voices of Paul Robeson, Rodney Dangerfield, Samuel L. Jackson and "Mama" Cass Elliot.

Vocal Impressions: Hearing Voices, Round Six

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

As part of a series we call Vocal Impressions, we asked listeners to describe some well-known voices. This month, we heard Elvis Presley, Phyllis Diller, Celine Dion and Bobby Short - quite a range.

Writer Brian McConnachie monitored the responses for us, and starts today with a general overview.

BRIAN McCONNACHIE: Elvis provoked a lot of memories from the backseat of GM cars. Phyllis Diller was frequently cited as a loopy aunt. For Celine Dion, I have to say her fan base did not participate. And Bobby Short was firmly perceived as understated sophistication. So we begin with Elvis.

(Soundbite of song "Jailhouse Rock")

Mr. ELVIS PRESLEY (Singer): (Singing) The warden threw a party in the county jail. Prison band was there and they began to wail.

McCONNACHIE: Naseem Rakha said his voice is my boyfriend's engine, revving in the driveway while I'm being told I can't go out. Sara McElwain says he's the sand in your bikini you don't want to wash out.

(Soundbite of song "Jailhouse Rock")

Mr. PRESLEY: (Singing) Little Joe was blowing on the slide trombone.

McCONNACHIE: James Green said of Elvis' voice, it's the sound of a switchblade opening in a church choir. Susan Wilson declares that his voice made me quiver in parts I didn't know I had.

(Soundbite of song "Jailhouse Rock")

Mr. PRESLEY: (Singing) Everybody in the whole cell block was dancing to the jailhouse rock.

McCONNACHIE: And on to Phyllis Diller.

Ms. PHYLLIS DILLER (Stand Up Comedian): Boy, you know it bothered for years why do you pay so much more to salon…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DILLER: …than you do in a cheap beauty parlor…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. DILLER: …because I know it all comes out of the same bottle.

(Soundbite of laughter)

McCONNACHIE: Fred Tasker said she sounds like the Vlasic Pickles' stork's girlfriend. James Green said she's the sound of an aluminum beer can rubbed on a rusty cheese grater. Marilyn Turner says of Phyllis Diller, she sounds like a drunk duck. And Rayoma Kleen says it's a prickly pear cactus complaining to her porcupine psychiatrist.

(Soundbite of song "I'm in Love Again")

Mr. BOBBY SHORT (Singer): (Singing) I'm in love again.

MCCONNACHIE: And there was Bobby Short.

(Soundbite of song "I'm in Love Again")

Mr. SHORT: (Singing) And the spring is coming. I'm in love again.

McCONNACHIE: Guy Western says he's the sound of a valet brush whisking a tuxedo. Martin Camps says of Bobby Short, he sounds like a peaceful river asking directions to the sea.

(Soundbite of song "I'm in Love Again")

Mr. SHORT: (Singing) I'm in love again, and I can't rise above it.

McCONNACHIE: George Clack says, your sixth-grade music teacher on spring break in Paris. And Martha Kate Chapman says of Bobby Short, he's the last bluebird over the rainbow high-fiving Dorothy.

(Soundbite of song "I'm in Love Again")

Mr. SHORT: (Singing) Good news.

McCONNACHIE: And the last voice of this batch was that of Celine Dion.

(Soundbite of song "Because You Loved Me")

Ms. CELINE DION (Singer): (Singing) For all those times you stood for me, for all the truth…

McCONNACHIE: Markus Schafer says she sounds like a Siamese cat stretched immodestly over a black leather couch. A melted moon pie on a dashboard, offers Shaun Perkins.

(Soundbite of song "Because You Loved Me")

Ms. DION: (Singing) You're the one who helped me up, never let me fall.

McCONNACHIE: Rayoma Kleen says of Celine Dion, she's the sound of wealth becoming pedestrian. Daphne Case offers, it's the superior smirk on every homecoming queen you've ever hated. Ouch. And we end with Larisa Koehn suggesting that she's the last thing you want to hear on a large ship in the middle of the ocean.

So now on to our new batch of voices. Our July batch includes the voices of…

(Soundbite of song "Ol' Man River")

Mr. PAUL ROBESON (Actor; Singer): (Singing) Ol' man river, that ol' man river, he must…

McCONNACHIE: …actor, singer, activist, attorney and all-American football player Paul Robeson.

(Soundbite of song, "Ol' Man River")

Mr. ROBESON: (Singing) Nothing, he just keep rolling. He keeps on rolling along.

Mr. RODNEY DANGERFIELD (Comedian and Actor): What a dumb family I got. Are you kidding? Last week, I look up my family tree, I find out I'm the sap.

(Soundbite of laughter)

McCONNACHIE: Legendary comedian Rodney Dangerfield.

Mr. DANGERFIELD: My old man, he was dumb, too, my old man. He worked in a bank. They caught him stealing pens.

(Soundbite of movie "Pulp Fiction")

Mr. SAMUEL L. JACKSON (Actor): (As Jules Winnfield) Ezekiel 25:17…

McCONNACHIE: Actor Samuel L. Jackson.

(Soundbite of movie "Pulp Fiction")

Mr. JACKSON: (As Jules Winnfield) And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger, those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.

(Soundbite of song "Dream a Little Dream of Me")

Ms. MAMA CASS ELLIOT (Singer): (Singing) Stars shine bright above you.

McCONNACHIE: And contralto Mama Cass Elliot.

(Soundbite of song "Dream a Little Dream of Me")

Ms. ELLIOT: (Singing) Night breezes me to whisper I love you - birds singing in the sycamore tree. Dream a little dream of me.

McCONNACHIE: So have fun and I'll be back next month with your imaginative and poetic blunt replies.

(Soundbite of song "Dream a Little Dream of Me")

Ms. ELLIOT: (Singing) Stars fading, but I linger on, dear.

NORRIS: Send Brian McConnachie your words to describe the voices of Paul Robeson, Rodney Dangerfield, Samuel L. Jackson and Mama Cass Elliot. Go to npr.org and search for Vocal Impressions.

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