MUAR 392 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: The Soul Stirrers, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett

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16 Aug 2016
MUAR 392
Lecture 8
Soul and the Church
-James Brown: “At the churches there were lots of singing and hand-clapping and usually an
organ and tambourines…wanted to base his sound around this”
-Aretha Franklin: “Most of what I learned vocally came from her father who gave her a sense
of timing in music”
Many soul performers had roots in gospel
The Sound of Soul
-Soul stirrers with Sam Cooke — “How Farm Am I From Canaan?” (1952)
-Gospel quartet melismatic vocal style
-Ray Charles — “What’d I say” (1959)
-Condensed simulation of an African American Holiness religious service…whoops, cries,
bent notes, melismas and shouts, engaging in call-and-response patterns with either horns
or a female backup trio
-Often changed the words from sacred and secular texts to his own lyrics
-Otis Redding — “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (1965)
-Relatively slow tempo, triplet subdivisions, often articulated in piano or guitar arpeggios
-Sliding through a pitch is very expressive — builds a tension starting below the note and
sliding upwards
The Blackness of Soul
-Wilson Pickett — “In the Midnight Hour” (1965)
-Atlantic/ Stax
-The Temptations — “My Girl” (1964)
Based on what we have heard and read to date, which is the more authentic representation of
black expression?
Can one form of music be blacker?
Motown (Detroit)
-Blackowned, almost all musicians African American
-Modeled on Brill Building mainstream American entertainment practices
Stax/ Atlantic (Memphis/NYC)
-White owners/ producers, integrated band
-Loose approach to production, greater emphasis on gospel-influenced vocal expression
-“Midnight Hour” groove idea from Wexler, co-written by Steve Cropper
“There can be no particular monolithic sense of black expression — linked to place, social/
economic class, individual agency
Civil rights movement — timeline posted online
-Brown v. Board of Education (1954) — declared segregated schools unconstitutional
-Civil Rights Act (1964) — outlawed discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex or
national origin
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