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SoulDisco - Soul Specialist

Soulfood For The Feet...!

Soul music has its roots in gospel music and rhythm and blues. The hard gospel vocal quartets of the 1940s and 1950s were big influences on major soul singers of the 1960s. The term "soul music" itself, to describe gospel-style music with secular lyrics, is first attested in 1961.

Ray Charles is often cited as inventing the soul genre with his string of hits starting with 1954's "I Got a Woman". Another view has it that Solomon Burke's early recordings for Atlantic Records were the beginning of soul style; his early 1960s songs "Cry to Me", "Just Out of Reach" and "Down in the Valley" are considered classics of the genre. Little Richard (who was the inspiration for Otis Redding), Fats Domino and James Brown originally called themselves rock and roll performers. However, as rock music moved away from its R&B roots in the 1960s, Brown claimed that he had always really been an R&B singer. Little Richard proclaimed himself the "king of rockin' and rollin', rhythm and blues soulin'", because his music embodied elements of all three, and because he inspired artists in all three genres. Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke are also often acknowledged as soul forefathers.

Aretha Franklin's 1967 recordings, such as "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", "Respect" (originally sung by Otis Redding), and "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man", are among the most commercially successful soul records. In the late 1960s, Stax artists such as Redding, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, and Johnnie Taylor made significant contributions to soul music. By 1968, the soul music movement had begun to splinter, as artists such as James Brown and Sly & the Family Stone began to incorporate new styles into their music.

Later examples of soul music include recordings by The Staple Singers (such as I'll Take You There), and Al Green's 1970s recordings. Mitchell's Hi Records continued the Stax tradition in that decade, releasing many hits by Green, Ann Peebles, Otis Clay, O.V. Wright and Syl Johnson. Bobby Womack, who recorded with Chips Moman in the late 1960s, continued to produce soul recordings in the 1970s and 1980s.

In Detroit, producer Don Davis worked with Stax artists such as Johnnie Taylor and The Dramatics. Early 1970s recordings by The Detroit Emeralds, such as Do Me Right, are a link between soul and the later disco style. Motown Records artists such as Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson contributed to the evolution of soul music, although their recordings were considered more in a pop music vein than those of Redding, Franklin and Carr. Although stylistically different from classic soul music, recordings by Chicago-based artists are often considered part of the genre.

By the early 1970s, soul music had been influenced by psychedelic rock and other genres. The social and political ferment of the times inspired artists like Gaye and Curtis Mayfield to release album-length statements with hard-hitting social commentary. Artists like James Brown led soul towards funk music, which became typified by 1970s bands like Parliament-Funkadelic and The Meters. More versatile groups like War, the Commodores and Earth, Wind and Fire became popular around this time. During the 1970s, some slick and commercial blue-eyed soul acts like Philadelphia's Hall & Oates and Oakland's Tower of Power achieved mainstream success, as did a new generation of street-corner harmony or city-soul groups like The Delfonics and Howard University's Unifics.

As disco and funk were dominating the charts in the late 1970s and early 1980s, soul went in the direction of softer melodies. Many funk bands, such as Con Funk Shun, Cameo, and Lakeside would have a few smoother tracks on their albums. Among the most successful acts in this era include Smokey Robinson, Teddy Pendergrass, Peabo Bryson, Atlantic Starr, and Luther Vandross, amongst many others.

A soul night with SoulDisco can include classic 60's Motown, Funk, Smooth Soul and Jazz-Funk anthems.

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Soul Legends

Some of our most popular soul artists & bands...

  • Ray Charles
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Sly & The Family Stone
  • O'Jays
  • Pointer Sisters
  • Luther Vandross
  • Billy Griffin
  • Deniece Williams
  • The Bluenotes
  • James & Bobby Purify
  • Erma Franklin
  • Delfonics
  • Average White Band
  • Al Green

Love Soul Music?

Visit IndieRetroDJ

- Specialist Website

SoulDisco has been created for people who want familiar, classic party songs – but if your tastes are a bit less commercial please visit our other site IndieRetroDJ. Here you will find we specialise in Northern Soul, Ska, Rockabilly, Underground 60's, Psychedelia, Indie, Britpop and anything alternative, retro or unusual, but like SoulDisco, IndieRetro we will work closely with you to make sure the music is perfect for you and your guests.