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Soul music

Parents: soul - music

Related: American music - black music - Northern Soul - gospel - funk - music - proto-disco - country got soul - rare grooves - Soul Mafia - Soul Jazz (record label) - James Brown - Stevie Wonder - Minnie Riperton - 1000+ soul classics - Studio One soul - Soul Makossa (1972) - Manu Dibango - machine soul - nu soul - Nuyorican soul - Philly soul - religion

"The 'soul' of the machines has always been a part of our music. Trance always belongs to repetition, and everybody is looking for trance in life... in sex, in the emotional, in pleasure, in anything... so, the machines produce an absolutely perfect trance."
--Ralf Hütter, 1991, quoted in Kraftwerk: Man Machine and Music, Pascal Bussy

Innervisions (1973) - Stevie Wonder

There is an inescapable link between Jamaican reggae and US soul. Since the late 1950s, which saw ska born out of American R&B, the Jamaican reggae fraternity has always had a strong affiliation towards US soul, and later on, funk. --Chris King

" You take the soul out of reggae, you get ragga. You put the soul back into reggae, you get lovers rock. You take the soul out of jazz you get bebop, you put the soul back onto jazz you get latin jazz, vocal jazz. You take the soul out of house you get hardcore, gabba, even techno. You put the soul back into house, and you'll get garage or some deep house. Soul is the basis of modern dance music. Even when its not in the makeup of modern day dance music itself, its influence is strong that the industry would collapse without it". --Carl via garage-music.com


Soul music is a type of music which grew out of rhythm and blues and gospel during the late 1950s and early 1960s among African Americans in the United States. Soul music usually features individual singers backed by a traditional band consisting of rhythm section and horns.

The development of soul music was spurred by two main trends: the urbanization of R&B and the secularization of gospel. Artists like Ben E. King, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and the Everly Brothers mixed the passion of gospel vocals with the catchy, rhythmic music of R&B, thus forming soul in the late 1950s. Socially, the vast audience of white teens who had been listening to (primarily) watered-down white covers of black R&B and rock hits began demanding records by the original black artists, such as Little Richard and Chuck Berry. By the late 1950s, this had caused several record labels to seek out marketable versions of black music. The most influential labels were Stax, based out of Memphis, and Motown, based out of Detroit.

During the 1960s, soul music was popular among blacks in the US, and among many mainstream listeners throughout the United States and Europe. Blue eyed soul artists (white musicians who performed for white audiences) like the Righteous Brothers achieved the greatest success in the short term, though artists like Aretha Franklin and James Brown have proven more enduring. Along with blue-eyed soul came a large number of regional varieties of soul.

By the early 1970s, soul music had been influenced by psychedelic rock and other influences, and artists like Marvin Gaye (What's Going On) and Curtis Mayfield (Superfly) released album-length statements with hard-hitting social commentary. Artists like James Brown had led soul towards a dance-oriented jam festival, resulting in 1970s funk bands like P Funk, The Meters and War. During the 70s, some highly slick and commercial blue eyed soul acts like Hall & Oates achieved mainstream success, along with The Delphonics and similar Philadelphia soul groups. By the end of the 70s disco was dominating the charts and funk, Philly soul and most other genres were dominated by disco-inflected tracks.

After the death of disco in the late 1970s, soul superstars like Prince (Purple Rain) and Michael Jackson (Off the Wall) took over. With sultry, sexually charged vocals and dance-able beats, these artists dominated the charts throughout the 1980s. Female soul singers like Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Tina Turner also gained great popularity during the last half of the decade.

In the early 1990s, alternative rock, hair metal and gangsta rap ruled the charts, though New Jack Swing groups began to merge hip hop and soul. Boyz 2 Men was the most popular of these groups, which quickly fell out of favor. During the later part of the decade, nu soul, which further mixed hip hop and soul, arose, led by Mary J. Blige, D'Angelo and Lauryn Hill. -- http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_music wikipedia, Aug 2003

Black pride

Difficult to define, soul music has traditionally been related to black church music, and may be considered a composite of gospel and blues. The term was attached to several styles of music that expressed the growing feeling of black pride, primarily in the '60s. It came after R n B.

From the South to the North

Soul music made it’s way North, East & West via the same train routes that carried rural black workers from their homes in the south to the industrial north. As these "blues people" made their way north, the music that they brought with them fused with the sophisticated urban sounds of jazz to create the sound first called "race music" and then later referred to as "rhythm & blues". As this music known as R&B began to gain acceptance among whites, it became split artificially and became known as "rock n’ roll" (for whites only) and "soul" (for blacks only). from http://www.soulpatrol.com

Lyn Collins

James Brown's Funky People Pt1 (early 1970s) - various artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

RIP Lyn Collins, 56, soul singer aka "Female Preacher"

In the early 70s James Brown began recording for Polydor Records, and many of his sidemen and supporting players, such as Fred Wesley (and the JB's, Brown's backing group), Bobby Byrd, Lyn Collins, Myra Barnes and Hank Ballard, released records on Brown's subsidiary label, People, which started up in 1971. These recordings are as much a part of Brown's legacy as those released under his own name, and most are noted examples of what might be termed James Brown's "house" style. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Brown_%28musician%29 [Mar 2005]

Lyn Collins (June 12, 1948 – March 13, 2005) was a soul / R&B singer best known for working with James Brown in the 1970s.

Born in Lexington, Texas, U.S.A., she began her recording career aged 14. Her biggest solo hit was the gospel-style Think (About It), from the 1972 album of the same name. The track also contains a break which has been widely sampled in hip-hop and drum and bass.

She died aged 56 in Pasadena, California, following a cardiac arrest. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyn_Collins [Aug 2006]

You're Gonna Miss Me (1999) - Ann Sexton

You're Gonna Miss Me (1999) - Ann Sexton [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

I don't know how well this compilation, but two tracks are worth the price of the CD: You're losing me and I'm his wife, you're just a friend . I listened to the former again on a rare groove mixtape I bought when visiting London in the 1980s

1. I Had a Fight With Love (And I Lost) 2. I'm His Wife, You're Just a Friend 3. You Got to Use What You Got 4. Colour My World Blue 5. I Want to Be Loved 6. You've Been Doing Me Wrong for So Long 7. Who's Gonna Love You? 8. You Can't Win 9. Love, Love, Love 10. You're Letting Me Down 11. You've Been Gone Too Long 12. Come Back Home 13. Keep on Holding On 14. Loving You, Loving Me 15. You're Gonna Miss Me 16. If I Work My Thing on You 17. You're Losing Me 18. Sugar Daddy 19. Be Serious 20. Have a Little Mercy

see also: soul - music

Soul and social class

Rock and soul divided largely on class lines. And while there were plenty of working-class rock fans, I hardly ever met any middle-class soul or reggae fans. Rock fans hated soul and reggae, which despite the increasing corporatism of Pink Floyd et al they dismissed as "commercial" and, worse still, "girly". Why the hardest kids in any town tended to follow such "soft" forms of music was never fully explained but the chief object of derision in this charge was the sound coming from one label, Bell and Huff's "Philadelphia International". -- Maurice Bottomley


  • http://www.melingo.com/thesoulnet The Soul of the Net, Reggae got Soul.

  • http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Club/1268/ with Wand discography, the label where Mel Cheren and Tom Moulton worked for
  • http://www.georgwa.demon.co.uk/index.htm Ska2Soul


    1. Sweet Soul Music (1986) - Peter Guralnick [Amazon.com]

      Guralnick's thesis seems to be that Southern soul achieved its great creative flowering in the 60s as a result of the partnership between black and white musicians, and even though he interviews a great number of musicians and businessmen - black and white - he can't help himself from empathising with the young white hipsters that made up the house bands at Stax and Muscle Shoals, with the result that the book becomes very much a story told from their point of view (Guralnick calls Dan Penn the "secret hero of this book" - fair enough, but surely James Brown should have been its overt hero). After these white musicians were intimidated out of the business during the racial tension that followed Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968, Guralnick concentrates more on the politics and seems to lose interest in the music itself. -- Peter Brigdman for amazon.com

    2. The Rough Guide Soul: 100 Essential Cds () - Peter Shapiro [Amazon.com]
      The Rough Guide to Soul collects their 100 essential soul recordings in a compact book (it is literally a pocket book as it can easily fit into your front shirt pocket). Obviously due to the dimensions of the book, each album is not reviewed in great detail. The reviews are decent, nothing spectacular. The one plus the book has is that while there are numerous collections like this for rock or combine all genres, there are very few that concentrate only on soul music. The biggest negative I have is that they include greatest hits collections. Most all of the Motown groups like The Four Tops, The Temptations and The Supremes are represented by greatest hits collections. While they are more noted for their singles work, they and many other Motown groups made some outstanding albums in the 60's prior to the groundbreaking album work of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye in the 70's. --Thomas Magnum for amazon.com

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