The origin of SOUL as a musical genre??

cheebahazecheebahaze 235 Posts
edited May 2005 in Strut Central
What was the first acknowledged soul recording/release??? You know, the one that made a soul record a 'SOUL' record....The reggae story goes:As far as Jamaican record-buyers are concerned, the word reggae was coined on a 1968 Pyramid dance single, "Do the Reggay (sic)," by Toots and the Maytals. Some believe the term is derived from Regga, the name of a Bantu-speaking tribe on Lake Tanganyika. Others say it is a corruption of "streggae," Kingston street slang for prostitute. Bob Marley claimed the word was Spanish in origin,meaning "the king's music." Veteran Jamaican studio musicians offer the simplest, and probably the most plausible, explanation."It's a description of the beat itself," says Hux Brown, lead guitarist on Paul Simon's 1972 reggae-flavored hit, "Motherand Child Reunion," and the man widely credited with inventing theone-string quiver/trill that kicked off Simon's single as well as many of the top island hits of the preceeding years. "It's just a fun, joke kinda word that means the ragged rhythm and the body feelin'. If it's got a greater meanin', it doesn't matter," Brown said.(CATCH A FIRE: THE LIFE OF BOB MARLEY)..Just curious...

  Comments


  • I don't know about a specific recording but I think much of the transformation happened near or around the late 50's into the early 60's as doo wop added heavier instrumentation/arrangements to the vocal harmonies for a more modern sound. Groups like the Impressions, Drifters and Miracles for example... It's a wonderful era of R&B music though, regardless.

    I've heard some people say it's earlier stuff such as Ray Charles' "I Got A Woman"...1955 or James Brown's "Please Please Please" 1956

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    I've heard some people say it's earlier stuff such as Ray Charles' "I Got A Woman"...1955 or James Brown's "Please Please Please" 1956

    That sounds about proper to me. It was all about when R&B started acknowledging its' gospel influences. I'd throw Nappy Brown in there somewhere.

    I don't think it was one song that jump-started the whole thing; it just kinda gradually came together. If you ask Solomon Burke, he'll tell you HE was the first person to come up with soul when he signed with Atlantic in the late fifties. Producer Jerry Wexler says that a little bit before that, when Ray Charles & Milt Jackson did those duet albums on Atlantic, both elpees had the word "soul" in the title, and that was supposedly Wex's idea.

  • bluesnagbluesnag 1,285 Posts

    james brown talks about the origin of soul music in his autobiography, which i recommend. of course, james brown attributes the first soul song to james brown, it being the one mentioned before "please, please, please". he does give other soul ground-breaking artists their due as well though. i don't have the book handy now, but he describes soul music as being a combination of rhythm & blues, gospel, and jazz. he gives some musical qualities of soul music that are taken from jazz.

    of course, in the autobiography james brown gives himself credit for the invention of both soul and funk music. of course there is argument for this to be the case, i just thought it was funny.

  • BsidesBsides 4,244 Posts

    james brown talks about the origin of soul music in his autobiography, which i recommend. of course, james brown attributes the first soul song to james brown, it being the one mentioned before "please, please, please". he does give other soul ground-breaking artists their due as well though. i don't have the book handy now, but he describes soul music as being a combination of rhythm & blues, gospel, and jazz. he gives some musical qualities of soul music that are taken from jazz.

    of course, in the autobiography james brown gives himself credit for the invention of both soul and funk music. of course there is argument for this to be the case, i just thought it was funny.


    man, if james brown didnt invent funk music, I dont know who did.

  • parsecparsec 5,087 Posts
    From what I've read, the Project Blowed invented soul in 1953, predating James Brown, Solomon Burke and Ray Charles. I guess you had to be there...

  • bluesnagbluesnag 1,285 Posts

    james brown talks about the origin of soul music in his autobiography, which i recommend. of course, james brown attributes the first soul song to james brown, it being the one mentioned before "please, please, please". he does give other soul ground-breaking artists their due as well though. i don't have the book handy now, but he describes soul music as being a combination of rhythm & blues, gospel, and jazz. he gives some musical qualities of soul music that are taken from jazz.

    of course, in the autobiography james brown gives himself credit for the invention of both soul and funk music. of course there is argument for this to be the case, i just thought it was funny.


    man, if james brown didnt invent funk music, I dont know who did.

    i'm on board with the statement, it's just funny how one of the general themes of the autobiography is james brown claiming to be the sole creator of various genres.

  • soulcitizensoulcitizen 304 Posts
    i'd agree on that, it's generally confirmed that ray charles started it all off when he fused r'n'b and gospel with 'i got a woman' and came up with a new secular sound that got named 'soul music'. james brown claims he invented everything, he is the godfather of funk, but as for the rest... -p.

  • Diamante_DDiamante_D 215 Posts
    On the dope 'soul deep' doc that's running on the BBC at the moment, Both Ray Charles and James Brown (in a roundabout sort of way) said that their primary influence in pushing the music in the direction they did was Louis Jordan. Ray took elements of his performance and delivery and fused it with his background in gospel and hey-presto - soul was born. I'm sure there was a ton of other stuff going on, cos shit's never that simplistic but that's certainly one point of view.

  • BsidesBsides 4,244 Posts
    i'd agree on that, it's generally confirmed that ray charles started it all off when he fused r'n'b and gospel with 'i got a woman' and came up with a new secular sound that got named 'soul music'. james brown claims he invented everything, he is the godfather of funk, but as for the rest... -p.


    this sounds right.


  • ArchaicArchaic 633 Posts


    man, if james brown didnt invent funk music, I dont know who did.

    Professor Longhair.

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,518 Posts


    man, if james brown didnt invent funk music, I dont know who did.

    Professor Longhair.

    If The Professor was just putting second line rythyms on the keyboard, then we should say the second line created funk. Thus funk is folk music created by the people on the streets of New Orleans. Of course Cold Sweat (1967) is the song that changed the course of music[/b] . Papa's Got A Brand New Bag (1965) I Feel Good (1965) Aint That A Groove (1966) Bring It Up (1967).

    I think there is a good case for soul coming from Atlantic Records who used it to describe Ray Charles music in general, and eventually all gospel influenced R&B.

    Can we come up with pre I've Got A Women R&B?

    Wynonie Harris Good Rockin Tonight (1948)?

    Faye Adams Shake A Hand (1953)?

  • KineticKinetic 3,738 Posts
    Soul Music = Gospel Music - church.

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    man, if james brown didnt invent funk music, I dont know who did.

    Professor Longhair.

    Of course Cold Sweat (1967) is the song that changed the course of music[/b] .

    ...after he heard Dyke & the Blazers' "Funky Broadway," which was out first. Not to take away from JB, who was already heading in that direction, but... (I'd explain that statement, but we're talkin' about the earliest soul records and I don't want to derail the thread. Another time.)

    Can we come up with pre I've Got A Women R&B?

    How about "It's Really You" by Nappy Brown (1955)?

    Wynonie Harris Good Rockin Tonight (1948)?

    I love this song, but I don't know if I'd call this the beginning of soul; it just sounds like a typical jump-blues record of the time.

    Faye Adams Shake A Hand (1953)?

    More like it.

  • Agent45Agent45 451 Posts
    I'm on board with the Ray Charles camp, but in terms of a real soulful vocal, you can't overlook the evolution of Do-wop, and I would like to stand up and shout HOAGY LANDS as an instrumental factor in the beginnings of real SOUL music. Yeah, it's 1961, but "My Tears Are Dry" is pure soul.

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    I'm on board with the Ray Charles camp, but in terms of a real soulful vocal, you can't overlook the evolution of Do-wop

    which reminds me of the Five Royales. no specific record, just in general, as far as R&B-evolving-into-soul. you could also put the isley brothers'"shout" in there, too. looks like to me soul was the result of a lot of different things, not just one landmark record.

  • SexyBNyceSexyBNyce 371 Posts
    hey-this is a really good thread! Some say the Falcons [Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd and others I cant remember, Porter?] "Your So Fine" as the first soul record. 1959.
    but thats the south. Up north Berry Gordy was putting out straight up doo-wop vocal group stuff and that eventually evolved into the Motown sound.
    Hey Poust, LET'S PARTY!

  • Agent45Agent45 451 Posts
    Hey Poust, LET'S PARTY!

    Yeah, it's getting to be that time, huh? What the hell I'll spin on a bill with two psych bands, however, is anyone's freakin' guess! See you on the 2nd!!!

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    hey-this is a really good thread! Some say the Falcons [Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd and others I cant remember, Porter?] "Your So Fine" as the first soul record. 1959.

    but thats the south.



    Not really, 'cause (1) the group was actually based in Detroit, and (b) Wilson wasn't in the group at that time. (Don't know offhand about Eddie Floyd's status...)



    Hey Poust, LET'S PARTY!



    Yeah, Brian, I intend to holla at you when you get to Chicago in a couple weeks...last time, between Swamp Dogg at Bluesfest and the MC5 concert in the same weekend I totally missed ya. PM me, let me know when you're coming to town. My band is playing on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, maybe we could hook up at the gig if you're in town. (And tell Brian P. that James sez hey.)



    And for the rest of you: sorry for the thread derailment - carry on!

  • ArchaicArchaic 633 Posts

    Of course Big Chief (1965) is the song that changed the course of music[/b] .

  • What about "I Feel Good" ? Same year, and some funky ass horn stabs.

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,518 Posts

    Of course Big Chief (1965) is the song that changed the course of music[/b] .

    I can't belive I am in the position of attaking Professor Longhair. I love PL, I love Big Chief. [Big Chief is a Mardi Gras Indian chant, existed complete with the second line rhythm decades before PL recorded it.]

    Like the soul thing we can point to many songs that were funky before any other given song. Lee Dorsey had a whole string of funky hits in 1965 and 1966 that were funky with none other than the Meters backing him up.

    To paraphrase Pickwick "looks like to me FUNK was the result of a lot of different things, not just one landmark record".

    All that said I still belive that Cold Sweat is THE LANDMARK funk record. It traded traditional song form in favor of riding a groove. It owes more in that sense to something like Lee Morgans Sidewinder, than to any NOLA or James Brown record that came before it.

    Dan

  • bull_oxbull_ox 5,056 Posts
    I just picked up a Curtis BBC SESSIONS disc, and in the notes they state plainly that the first soul song was "For Your Precious Love" (and I've seen it attributed as such elsewhere), but that was '58 - Ray had already done some of his key R&B before that... is this where one would draw a line between R&B and soul???

  • pickwick33pickwick33 8,946 Posts
    I just picked up a Curtis BBC SESSIONS disc, and in the notes they state plainly that the first soul song was "For Your Precious Love" (and I've seen it attributed as such elsewhere)

    i think its hyperbole myself.

    there are very few genres where you can pinpoint the first record. in the late fifties, soul was just in the wind, you know? if ray hadnt-a done it, then jerry butler and curtis mayfield would have, or nappy brown would have taken a crack at it, or sam cooke, or solomon burke, or brook benton. it was just an idea whose time had come.

    if i had to pinpoint the first soul record, i'd wind up with a 20-track CD.

  • luckluck 4,077 Posts
    sam cooke



    Bingo. Solomon always seemed more like a Country/Western-cum-Soul singer, whereas Sam seemed more like a Gospel-cum-Soul singer. Either way, Sam was definitely first.



    And folks, let's not forget Little Willie John in all this. The Godfather himself said that Willie John was his primary influence early on.

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,518 Posts
    I just picked up a Curtis BBC SESSIONS disc, and in the notes they state plainly that the first soul song was "For Your Precious Love" (and I've seen it attributed as such elsewhere)

    i think its hyperbole myself.

    there are very few genres where you can pinpoint the first record. in the late fifties, soul was just in the wind, you know? if ray hadnt-a done it, then jerry butler and curtis mayfield would have, or nappy brown would have taken a crack at it, or sam cooke, or solomon burke, or brook benton. it was just an idea whose time had come.

    if i had to pinpoint the first soul record, i'd wind up with a 20-track CD.

    In another thread we were talking about how R&B, Soul and Urban were just ways of saying Black popular music. I agree that there was no one record that changed the course of music from R&B to Soul. I've Got A Woman and For Your Precious Love and Please Please Please were very important records that define early soul.

    A decade later I've Never Loved A Man was nearly as ground shaking.

    Just to argue with myself, I agree with Pickwick, funk would have happened even without James Brown. Professor Longhair, the Meters and Sly Stone were heading in that direction.
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