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In a comprehensive overview from 1927 to 1963, History of Soul Records’ 8CD anthology covers the genesis of soul music, tracing connections between R&B, jazz and blues, and gospel, the secular and the sacred. As popular black musical genres were adopted by white teenage audiences in the 1950s, black music reverted to more authentic, basic styles. By 1960, the sound of black popular music had turned away from a driving, largely uptempo rhythm and blues towards a more emotionally poignant style. The term ‘soul’ popped up here and there, but only became common parlance after the release of Ray Charles’s I Believe To My Soul at the end of 1959.
The growing Civil Rights movement, the rise of the 45rpm record and the introduction of the electric guitar all played their part in the creation of a new sound. Detroit had Berry Gordy’s Motown, Chicago had Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions and New York had Atlantic Records along with white songwriters Burt Bacharach and Jerry Ragavoy producing their uptown soul. Down south, Stax was setting Memphis alight, Fame were starting up in Muscle Shoals, and New Orleans was putting funk into the mix. By 1963, soul had gone mainstream. There were more soulful records in the charts in 1962 alone than there had been in the whole of the 1950s.
This collection of breathtaking blues and spiritual music brings you some of the most impassioned, compelling vocal performances ever to be recorded. The accompanying illustrated 36-page book sets out the historical background and explains some of the technical features that make these beautiful songs the precursors of soul music.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
This one is a corker…every bit as epic as it sounds… It’s hard to know where to begin with such a monumental and thorough anthology – especially one as full of highlights as this
Lauren Laverne BBC 6 Music
Mammoth and magnificent anthology…While there can be no package large enough to represent all the players,
Sacred To Secular has a worthy stab at it, excavating as close as possible to the core and acting both as a cultural document and an excellent crash course in one of music’s most epochal periods.
Fiona Sturges Uncut
Embrace this journey through a lost era…the real thrill lies in discovering lesser names especially from the fringes of gospel, whose work is every bit as stirring
Clive Davies Sunday Times
It’s common knowledge that soul developed largely from gospel; but that journey has never been as extensively mapped as on this eight-CD compilation
5 star review in The Independent