Since the early to mid 1800’s, music has been the most powerful vehicle of human expression. As the embodiment of love, disapproval, happiness, pain and experience, mainly life, music speaks to us because it comes from us. Everyone in the, paradigm of the human experience instinctively and systematically change the music of the past to represent the realities of the present. In this century, African American music, more specifically Soul music, has been the music that has brought to plain view evidences of our humanities – hope, hurt, joy and passion – in such a way that the world has no other choice than to feel its power and marvel in its brilliance. Although the first true pioneers of music can not be traced, some of the first people to bring the art of music to the for front can.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, there were different styles of music that developed. One of most popular styles was known as the blues. The blues was a style of music that in a rhythmic matter, told a story of men and women who had been hurt, abused, depressed or who felt confused (Kebede 135). As the blues grew, it began to fall in to one of four categories: country blues, city blues, urban blues and instrumental blues. Country blues existed in oral tradition as a form of personal expression. It began its development in the early part of the 1900’s because it was a difficult period of transition form slavery to freedom. African Americans used the blues to tell of the adversity, they had experienced and was still experiencing. Interest in country blues did not start until the mid 1920’s. Papa Charlie made one of the earliest recordings of this time. Leadbelly and Blind Lemon Jefferson helped advance the interest in African American Music through numerous performances and recordings. Ma Rainy, Mamie Smith ad Bessie Smith are considered the mothers of the city blues which flourished into the scene in 1877. The city blues gave the women a chance to be in the limelight. Focusing on issues that plagued African Americans, these dynamic women entertained audiences all over through their rich soulful voices accompanied by musical repertoire.
In the 1940’s what was known as city blues became urban and instrumental blues with the implementation of additional vocals and a big band, which now included saxophones, keyboards and electrical basses and guitars. This style of blues gave way to what we now know as R&B. Just as the blues, R&B served a form of communication, a way of telling one’s life story as well to delivery information. Such examples can be seen in the music that developed in the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and even leading into today’s music genre.
When one discusses the relationship between Soul music and the civil rights movement, it becomes a dialogue very akin to that of the chicken and the egg. The period of “Classic Soul” is that period primarily, but not exclusively referenced as the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s (Stephenson 186)....