There is an old sound with a new flavor for your ear rising through out the country, and it’s called “Southern Soul”. Why introduce it as an old sound? Well it’s simple, before looping and sampling became popular, which was somewhere around the mid 80s, we had something called real music. Okay, I hate that label as much as I do the label “Old School” or “New School”. But for lack of a better term, we’ll go with it. Here’s a brief history lesson. Soul music has been around since the early 60s, spawning such greats as Otis Redding, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and more that are considered legendary greats of today. Moving towards the 70s we gradually distanced ourselves from the label “Soul” and embraced the term Rhythm and Blues which is commonly referred to as R&B music.
But there was still more change to come and not just in labeling styles, but in changing the way songs were even created. Now with the emergence of rap in the latter part of the 70s, the industry, at least on the production end, was introduced to a new method of making records. Because rappers weren’t musicians their method of creating a record was to take music from already released recordings and put their lyrics over them. With the invention of certain digital machines this eventually turned into sampling. Now, if you had a sampler and a drum machine you could produce your own tracks, and produce, aspiring artist and producers did. So what is the connection to soul music you ask? There is a huge connection. Here’s a couple of examples; take Jermaine Dupri’s 2002 hit “Welcome To Atlanta”, the entire song was created with a drum loop and a sample of a popular 70s R&B song entitled “Do It Baby”, originally recorded by “The Miracles”. You know, “The Miracles”, oh okay, how about “Smokey Robinson and the Miracles”. Yeah, Smokey Robinson, one of the most prolific song writers in modern music. Now you feelin’ me? Then for a kinda cool twist there’s Beyonce’s “Be With You” off the “Dangerously In Love” album. With this track there was no sampling but she did borrow the melodies from two of the funkiest R&B songs of the 70s, Bootsy Collins 1976 hit “I’d Rather Be With You” and The Brothers Johnson’s 1977 hit “Strawberry Letter 23”, which was actually written and recorded by producer/ song writer Shuggie Otis a few years earlier.
So you see, soul music has contributed tremendously to creating the hits and success for the R&B and Hip Hop artist of today. But it doesn’t stop there, for a while now soul music has been on the rise. Though mainly marketed in the blues arena southern soul music is by far in a class of it’s own and making a lot of noise around the country. Headed up by some of the southern soul pioneers like Theodis Ealey, Mel Waiters, Bobby Rush, and J. Blackfoot along with relative new comers, this evolution is blazing. Southern Soul Music best described would be, feel good music, for when you wanna just go out, dance and have a good time. A Southern Soul Show is like a neighborhood party that you can’t miss because everybody’s gonna be there.
To learn more about Southern Soul and what’s going down in the Southern Soul world, stay up on the Get Blues Info site.
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