Recording Studios Sydney: History of Soul Part I

Recording Studios Sydney: In these next few blogs we take an interesting look at the history of one of the most important and joyful music genres in our history. Soul music is a genre of African American popular music that led to many later genres, from funk and dance music to hip hop and contemporary R&B. It developed in the USA in the late 1950s from African American church music called “gospel music”. After slavery thankfully ended in 1865, African Americans weren’t welcome in the churches of white Americans, so they built their own churches and sang Christian songs with African-American vocal styles and rhythms. They sang joyful, up-tempo gospel songs while clapping and moving to the beat, and they sang slower gospel songs that expressed deep feelings like yearning for God’s love. These different styles led to the two main styles of soul music.

Recording Studios Sydney: Early Soul Music

The first Recording Studios Sydney soul songs were created when gospel songs were changed into secular songs by rewriting the lyrics. Joyful, up-tempo gospel songs became up-tempo soul songs, while slower gospel songs became romantic love songs. An example of the up-tempo style is R&B artist Ray Charles’ 1954 song I’ve Got a Woman (Way Across Town), a secular version of the old gospel song I’ve Got a Savior (Way Across Jordan). Another example is Ray’s first crossover hit What’d I Say in which he uses a gospel-music call and response to exchange sexy “oohs” and “aahs” with the Raelettes, his female backing singers. An example of the slower style is former gospel singer James Brown’s 1956 song Please, Please, Please in which he changed a gospel song about yearning for God’s love into a song about yearning for a girl’s love.
We continue our history of Soul Music in the next blog.
Recording Studios Sydney