Soul music is something which many people including Tunde Folawiyo have loved for years. This genre came about during the fifties in the USA, and is a combination of several other genres, including jazz, r n’ b and gospel. It developed as a result of the economical, racial and historical issues which many African-Americans faced during this decade, and combines both secular and religious styles. Characterised by its emphasis on improvisation, tense vocals, handclaps and catchy rhythms, it has become one of the most popular types of music in the world.
The recordings made by James Brown, Ray Charles and Sam Cooke are considered by most to be the first ever soul compositions. Charles, in particular, played an important role in the progression of this genre, as his hit songs, such as ‘Georgia on My Mind’, and ‘Hit the Road Jack’ received worldwide critical acclaim. Cooke rose to fame as the lead singer of The Soul Stirrers, a gospel group; however, he then decided to move from religious to secular music, a decision which caused quite a lot of controversy.
His career was launched in 1957 with the song ‘You Send Me’ and his recording, in 1962, of ‘Bring it on Home to Me’ solidified his place amongst the stars of soul music. Aretha Franklin was arguably the most significant female singers to emerge from this genre. Like Cooke, she too began her career singing gospel songs, and gradually moved towards profane recordings. Her most famous hits included ‘Respect’, and ‘I Never Loved a Man’.
Many musical fanatics such as Tunde Folawiyo are aware of the numerous subgenres within this style. Some of the most well-known of these include Detroit, Memphis, and Philadelphia. Detroit has a distinctly religious sound, and is characterised by strong bass lines, hand clapping, the use of horn sections, the electric guitar, and a lack of vocal riffs. Memphis soul is more upbeat, and was at its most popular during the sixties and seventies. Known for its use of drums, organ and melodic horns, this subgenre was made famous by Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and Al Green.
Philadelphia soul has strong funk influences, and was the preferred style for artists like Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass and The O’Jays. With plenty of orchestral sounds, sweeping strings and vocals inspired by doo-wop, this is one of the more dramatic subgenres of soul. It also servedas the inspiration for a number of other genres, including smooth jazz and disco.