Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Birth of Soul Music

The birth of any music is a slow business with signs of the birth of said music appearing gradually and in stages. No new form of music just appears, as if by magic. The road that Soul music took in its delivery to a fully formed style of music was long and winding. The great James Brown didn’t invent Soul music in the early 1960s any more than Elvis Presley invented Rock ‘n’ Roll in the mid-fifties.
Soul as a music is a combination of Rhythm ‘n’ Blues and Gospel Music performed by African-Americans at some point in the 1950’s. Hand clapping and voodoo like dancing enhanced the catchy rhythms of Soul.

We begin this story right back in the 1930s….there stands a gal in front of a big band, the big band of Lucky Millinder. It is the Swing era and this band really Swings! And that gal was Sister Rosetta Tharpe whose delivery of words and phrasing is Gospel music certainly but you can hear far more. Why….you can plainly hear from the heart Soul inflections! Like most music the music of the Sister is many things, Swing, Gospel and the black birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll. But this girl was truly ‘The original Soul Sister’ too!

Sister Rosetta Tharpe
By the 1950s Soul music was truly recognisable as....Soul music. Artists who performed the first Soul music included the stupendous Sam Cooke, Clyde McPhatter, Ray Charles and the superb Jackie Wilson. Some of these artists where Rhythm ‘n’ Blues like Ray Charles but Soul phrasing and vocal tone was also present. In the 50s Jackie Wilson sang in a totally R&b style but Soul was also in his voice, big time!

Jackie Wilson.....

Ooooooh Ma Soul!


  1. Ahh, greats like Jelly Roll Morton, Bessie Smith, Cole Porter and of course Lady Day... =)

  2. Jelly Roll Morton was cool and Bessie Smith. Ma Rainy, Mable Scott and Ella Johnston too.
    Lady Day was street wise and sooooooo cool.

  3. Oh did I forget Fats Waller, Paul Whitman and Paul Robeson? =D

  4. Fats Waller! What about Duke Ellington! This ain't the roots of Soul but its sooo cool! its Jazz! Count Basie, Cab Calloway and Louis Prima....Jazz? no no Swing! Cab Calloways Jive and Swing and Jump! Confusion and dilution!