Soul music, or simply soul music, is an African-American popular music that emerged in the late 1950s in the United States, derived, among other things, from gospel and rhythm and blues. It is considered by some as a return of rhythm and blues to its roots: gospel (church music).
The term "soul music" is associated with black American music and appears for the first time in the title of two Ray Charles albums: Soul Brothers in 1958, and Soul Meeting in 1961. The development of soul music is stimulated by two main trends: the urbanization of rhythm and blues and the secularization of gospel music. It was Ray Charles who mixed his passion for gospel with the jerky rhythms of rhythm and blues to create soul. So part of the sacred emotion is found in soul, mixed with secular themes, often with strong sexual connotations. Soul has its roots in pop, gospel and negro spiritual. Black youth used it as a protest movement to react to the white community and the invasion of rock'n' roll, whether white or black.
At the end of the 1950s, the desire to offer original black artists to the white public led several labels to seek marketable versions of "black music". The two most influential labels were Stax (near Memphis) and Tamla Motown in Detroit. They are often opposed and we then speak of southern soul with Stax, closer to the roots (fast and incisive soul), and northern soul5, more dancing and more influenced by pop with Tamla Motown. Similarly, in terms of management, Motown - whose slogan "the music of the young America" espouses the emancipation wishes of the time - is the first label founded and directed by a black American, the formidable Berry Gordy. Stax, on the other hand, was founded by a white man, Jim Stewart, and many of his most famous studio musicians were also white (Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, and Tom Dowd).
Funk is a musical genre that emerged in the mid-1960s in the United States, in line with the hard bop movement, and developed during the 1960s and 1970s. According to some interpretations, the term funk comes from Anglo-American funky slang, which literally means "stinking", "smelling of sweat", a traditional insult addressed to blacks by the WASPs and then taken up by black artists such as Horace Silver in his song Opus by Funk (1953). Coming mainly from soul and jazz, funk is characterized by the predominance of the rhythm section (guitar, bass, drums) which plays syncopated motifs, the frequent presence of brass or saxophones on rhythmic punctuations (riffs) or solos and, in general, by the large place given to instruments.
With his concept of "The One" (i. e. the rhythmic support on the first beat), developed in the late 1960s, James Brown, at the crossroads of gospel, rhythm and blues, soul, blues and rock, synthesizing all the black American music of the 20th century, was considered as the godfather of funk. Emblematic are titles such as Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud, Licking Stick, Give It Up or Turnit a Loose, There Was a Time, Super Bad, I Got the Feelin', Funky Drummer, Talking Loud and Saying Nothing, Soul Power, Mother Popcorn and Sex Machine.
However, the origins of funk go back to the 1950s, when the idea for these rhythms came from New Orleans bars that were poor and had only one piano to entertain the clientele. The piano was the ideal instrument for musicians to synthesize bass, drums, guitar, vocals or brass on a single instrument. The funk then landed on the streets of the city, played by brass bands long before James Brown and saxophonist Maceo Parker popularized his style. Like hard bop players, funk musicians build a collective work around the guitar, bass and drum section that played the groove, a rhythmic figure that can be extended and modulated at will, allowing vocalists and instrumentalists to intervene at will.