Nina Simone perhaps. Power, bite, grit but musical. She died recently. Or Judy Henske; listen to her 'Baltimore Oriole' cut. New one would be Thea Gilmore, she has great lyrics.
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How about Lucille Ball and Suzanne Pleshette! Heheh.
I remember about twenty years ago while listening to KROQ here in Los Angeles, Poorman asked, "who's that dude singing?" It was Alison Moyet.
Every time a friend of mine puts Nina Simone on the CD player at work, to get a rise I always ask, "who's that dude?"
I've always noticed that talented educators, people who care about their students and their work always seem to have students that want to spend time with them. You must be a pretty cool teach.