Category: Soul

  • Soul and the City

    In the late 1960s and early 1970s, soul began to address the social and economic problems that faced Black Americans in the (mostly Northern) cities. The textual emphasis on this new wave of soul moved away from the genre’s earlier optimism, instead highlighting dystopian urban visions. This iteration of soul was, in a sense, a […]

  • Black Woodstock and the Opposite of Woodstock

    New York City Mayor John Lindsay, the “blue-eyed soul brother,” arriving at Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park) for a July 13, 1969 concert, escorted by Black Panthers. UPDATE, June 2021: A documentary about “Black Woodstock” is about to be released based on original footage of the concerts, Summer of Soul! Here’s the trailer: […]

  • Soul and Funk: Some Historical Background

    Kitchenette buildings on Chicago’s South Side, 1950. The turbulence of the 1960s was as much a response to the domestic situation in the urban United States as it was to Vietnam. One of the effects of the Great Migration was to turn northern cities into unofficially segregated spaces — segregated in fact, if not by […]

  • Soul as Protest

    Content/Trigger Warning: Racist language in original sources. Soul was a stream of rhythm and blues that engaged overtly with social issues. Where 1950s and early 1960s R&B was primarily dance music, in the mid-60s, certain artists began marrying the R&B musical sensibility to lyrics that dealt with pressing political topics. In the Civil Rights Movement, […]

  • Godfather of Soul vs. Bad Boys of Rock

    The T.A.M.I. (Teenage Awards Music Intenational) Show was a concert documentary that combined footage from two concerts held in Santa Monica, California in October 1964. The concerts were attended mostly by local high school students, who had been given free tickets to the show, and were headlined by a mix of white pop and rock-and-roll […]