In a comprehensive overview from 1927 to 1963, History of Soul Records’ 8CD anthology covers the genesis of soul music, tracing connections between R&B, jazz and blues, and gospel, the secular and the sacred.
As popular black musical genres were adopted by white teenage audiences in the 1950s, black music reverted to more authentic, basic styles. By 1960, the sound of black popular music had turned away from a driving, largely uptempo rhythm and blues towards a more emotionally poignant style.
The term ‘soul’ popped up here and there, but only became common parlance after the release of Ray Charles’s I Believe To My Soul at the end of 1959. The growing Civil Rights movement, the rise of the 45rpm record and the introduction of the electric guitar all played their part in the creation of a new sound.
Detroit had Berry Gordy’s Motown, Chicago had Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions and New York had Atlantic Records along with white songwriters Burt Bacharach and Jerry Ragavoy producing their uptown soul. Down south, Stax was setting Memphis alight, Fame were starting up in Muscle Shoals, and New Orleans was putting funk into the mix.
By 1963, soul had gone mainstream. There were more soulful records in the charts in 1962 alone than there had been in the whole of the 1950s. This collection of breathtaking blues and spiritual music brings you some of the most impassioned, compelling vocal performances ever to be recorded.
The accompanying illustrated 36-page book sets out the historical background and explains some of the technical features that make these beautiful songs the precursors of soul music.