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Modern soul

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Modern soul

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Modern Soul is a style of music with its own associated clothing and dance styles [obvious precursors to the Disco era of the later 70s] that developed in the north of England in the early 1970s. It was given birth to by the Northern Soul [aka "Northern"] scene. In the early 70s, some "Northern" DJs began looking in the record shops of the USA and UK for something more complex, more contemporary rather than staying put with the known "Northern" stompers. What emerged was a richer, more complex sound, that was, like "Northern," lyrically and melodically "soulful," but took advantage of the developments in record production, Hi-Fi and FM radio technology. With it being contemporary, it also offered the tantalising prospect of a steady stream of new releases being available. "Modern Soul" records are not necessarily "modern" at any one point in time. Some current "Modern" favourites are some 30 years old! The records were simply "Modern" when the innovative "Northern" DJs began to play them.

A large proportion of Modern Soul's original audience came from the Northern Soul scene, retaining their adoration of underground and rare, independent label soul music. One of the first Modern Soul clubs per se was Blackpool Mecca, which was fronted by the innovative and knowledgeable DJ, Ian Levine. Ian broke from the "Northern" mould, by playing a wonderful new release by the Carstairs ["It really hurts me girl"] in the early 70s. Around the same period, Colin Curtis played The Anderson Brothers' - "I can see him loving you" and another key, "Modern" track emerged: Don Thomas - "Come on Train." With the arrival of such "Modern" records, the main protagonists of the two genres had a falling-out and went their separate and somewhat parallel ways, with soul clubs generally siding either with "Modern" or "Northern." "Modern" was here to stay and became a major force, drawing many more people towards The Music and its venues. Liverpool, the only major Northern city of the West-East swathe, running approximately from Preston in the North, to Stoke in the South, had remained largely immune from the charms of Northern in the 60s and 70s, preferring to listen to Motown and Funk [similar to the London Soul and Funk scene], has proven to be a more fertile area for the Modern sound. There is probably not a single major centre of Northern England that does not have its share of world-class Modern Soul collections.

Despite their initial profound differences, "Northern" and "Modern Soul" started out and remain inextricably linked genres, indeed some DJs such as Richard Searling and "Soul Sam" [Martin Barnfather] have championed both the Northern and Modern Soul scenes simultaneously for several decades. Nowadays most soul venues play music from both genres, literally side by side. A Greg Perry track, could immediately follow a track by The Vibrations ... no problem! In the early 70s such a mix would have been politically incorrect.

"Modern Soul," with a richer, more FM radio-friendly production has yielded more crossover hits and many of the stars of "Modern Soul" have had lucrative careers, unlike the stars of the "Northern" scene, who, almost to a man/woman, saw their entire careers' output sink without trace, at best only scoring minor hits locally.

Tracks by artists such as LeRoy Hutson, Greg Perry, Lou Courtney, Breakwater, Johnny Bristol, Johnnie Taylor, Bessie Banks, Randy Brown, Jean Carne, Phyllis Hyman, Chapter 8, The Controllers, William DeVaughn, Lamont Dozier, Sam Dees, Loleatta Holloway, Willie Hutch, Al Johnson, Anthony White, Gloria Scott, Howard Johnston, Leon Ware, We the People, Luther Vandross and Bobby Womack, The Valentine Brothers and the Whispers, to name but a small fraction of artists have helped shape the "Modern Soul" sound; filling both dancefloors and record boxes since the 70s, right through to the present day.

Like its older, ["Northern"] Soul Sister, the "Modern Soul" genre is a healthy and flourishing one in the 21st century.

External links

Soul music
Girl group - Motown Sound - Northern soul - Psychedelic soul - Memphis soul - Neo soul - Funk - Hip hop soul - Disco

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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