Soul Records | Funk Records | Northern Soul Records
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Originating in the mid 1960’s, Funk records music took off when African American musicians of the time sought to blend popular genres into a style of music that was more danceable. Taking jazz, R&B and soul music and meshing it with beats you could move to, a new genre was born.
Funk records usually contains rhythm instruments to provide interlocking rhythms of electric bass, electric guitar, drums, keyboards of some kind and often times even a horn section. Featuring heavy bass lines while also using extended chords that jazz have been known for, the style abandoned the music style of changing chords in favor of a more complex rhythmic style.
Some give credit to James Brown for pushing towards the beginning of the soul and funk records movement, with his signature, “on the one!” cue and other such innovations. Such hits came from him as “Mother Popcorn”, “Get up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine”, and even “Cold Sweat.” These hits were also known for adding in vocal percussions of using one’s voice as a rhythmic instrument as well.
Soon after these developments, Funk Records began to take off. “Funky Broadway”, released in 1967 was the first album to feature the word “funky” in its title since the start of the soul movement. The 1969 single, “It’s Your Thing” broke African American music free onto the scene of the music market that was beginning to be influenced by psychedelic rock.
Since the onset of the soul/jazz movement, the genre has expanded drastically. P-Funk formed to being in rock influences to the genre. Then the 1970’s arrived and increased funk’s visibility to the market, and the offshoot genre that became known as disco. When the 1980’s hit, the backlash against disco led to replacing many live elements of funk with electronic instruments and synthesizers. The lyrics also turned from subtly suggestive to heavier sexual content.
Funk music has now been merged with near every other genre of music, allowing it to appeal to broad audiences and to be more versatile than ever. Modern R&B musicians such as Beyonce uses it, rappers often sample portions of funk hits of the past, and the subgenres continue to influence the music scene.
Similar genres that tie in to this movement is the soul records and R&B genres. Soul records originated in the United States in the 1950’s and combined gospel music with the blues. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame referred to soul as, “music that arose out of the black experience in America…” Often credited to Ray Charles in his classic 1954 hit, “I Got a Woman,” the 60’s saw a rise of R&B and soul musicians. Artists who originally labeled themselves as rock musicians soon began saying they had always been R&B and as Little Richard put it, “king of rockin' and rollin', rhythm and blues soulin.” In the later part of the decade these popular music styles began forming into newer genres and meshing with other ones to create a varied genre of music.
While soul records music is now recognized as its own genre of music, had it not been for the funk movement and their musicians, the prevelance of soul records would have been smaller. Little Richard may have been a king of rockin' and rollin', but his blues and soul records and tracks were popular and remain popular today as well.
Northen Soul Records
Perhaps one of the most influential movements in the soul genre was the Northern Soul records movement. Combining soul with elements from the Motown sound of Detroit and sounds from Chicago, Northern Soul was born. As Northern Soul’s popularity rose, other variants of the soul records movement came along with it – creating a diverse genre of music that still spans to this day.
Northen soul took the popular sounds of soul records while combining oversea's elements. Originating in the Northern England British Mod scene, Northern Soul became a movement of its own. Nothern Soul was made up of black American soul and the Tamla Motown sound that was known for its fast tempos and heavy beats. The movement led to a group of devoted followers and enthusiasts, who seek out prized recordings that were mostly made by lesser-known artists.
Northern Soul records also led to many variations of its own genre of dancing. Starting with athletic movements, northern soul led to the early disco and break dancing styles.