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A look at the singers whose work is all about the message

Gregory tells the story of talking voices – ‘great voices that don’t have to be technically perfect to be truly great’, but have something to say.

He looks at the growlers and poets who have made their name in music, from the conversational rasping – a combination of speech and jazz singing – of Billie Holiday (including an emotional showing of her final performance, filmed for the BBC in 1959) to the talking blues twang of a young Bob Dylan.

The kind of singers with a message that’s not dressed up or refined – it’s been given from the heart, like the poetry of Leonard Cohen, of whom Gregory says: ‘He makes me lean in and listen’, and the real-life street style of Lou Reed.