Southern soul, otherwise known as deep or country soul, is a kind of soul music that originated in the Southern U.S. It comes from quite a few different styles such as blues, country and western, gospel sounds from African-American churches in the south, and rock and roll. The groove was southern soul’s main focal point instead of the lyrics. The force behind it greatly influenced funk music later on.
Many pioneers of southern soul music included Ray Charles, James Brown, Little Willie John, Bobby Bland, Allen Toussaint, and DJ Rufus Thomas.
Around the 1960s, southern soul had reached its peak and Memphis soul was created. Stax Records and Booker T. and the Mgs were major contributors. Otis Redding, who was one of Stax Records’ most successful artists, had been influenced by Little Richard and Sam Cooke, who had a cosmopolitan sound. Wilson Pickett launched a solo career through Stax as well.
Goldwax Records had several artists on their label: O.V. Wright and James Carr. Al Green recorded for Hi Records in Memphis and was produced by Willie Mitchell. Muscle Shoals sound was influential as well and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section played many artists from Stax including Percy Sledge and Aretha Franklin.
Today, southern soul is still being played. There are many artists still singing the music and people who continue to listen to it.
Much of the southern soul music comes from the south, though not all of it. It is mostly appreciated in the south because the music relates to everyday life.