The term Southern Soul usually evokes images of either some small studio in the Southern US states in the mid-60s to mid-70s, where the musicians are working at getting a suitable groove for a singer to pour heart and soul into some true-to-life lyrics, or a hot, sweaty chitlin’ circuit club, where the crowd is urging acts on to ever greater heights of emotion over the relentless groove of the house band. The best Southern Soul is a rich blend of blues and gospel, with a dash of soulful country added to the mix. Singers who came on the scene in its golden age grew up on their parents’ blues and gospel records, and hearing the (exclusively country) Grand Ole Opry on the radio. They usually started off singing in church, taking their gospel influences with them when they moved to soul. The majority of Southern studio bands mixed black and white musicians, each mixing sympathy with a singer’s vocal needs and knowledge they had to keep the music hard and tight enough to provide the solid framework that the songs needed.
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