“100 Years of Soul Music”

Kickynit Satellite Radio launched the year of soul music to keep in the world’s mind that soul music matters.  For nearly 2 decades R&B, Blues, and Jazz have taken a back burner, it’s now time to return to the greatest music ever produced.  Soul music is the original American music, it was born in the soul of those who slaved in the fields of the southern states, and the rhythm was a collaboration of  the sounds of Africa and the life lived by captives into American slavery.  This music initially was known as church music or gospel but, evolved into the secular life of entertainment including, dancing.

Soul music is responsible for the creation of an industry that have lifted millions from the bottom of poverty into a true economic super class.  Regardless, whether R&B, Blues, Jazz, Rap, Hip-hop, Gangster-Rap, or Country & Western all are offspring of Americans original music, the soul of slaves.

1920s jazz band wearing black tie

Kickynit Satellite Radio believes the future is soul music and isn’t necessarily the past.  That’s why “The Year of Soul Music” isn’t necessarily this year or any year in particular, but for all years. 

The history of soul music goes a long ways back into the days of slaves and the poverty stricken who made music with scrub-boards, tin tubs, bottles, and single strings on a stick.  As everything in nature, from its inception, American music evolved into the music of the world.  

Thousands of superstars cover a single path into today’s music – like a mystical carpet that makes way for the new King and Queen.  We are the inheritors and we must never forget the true gift from our ancestors.    

Edythe Turnham and Her Knights of Syncopation,
Seattle, 1925

 Among too many to mention are greats of the 1920’s:  Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Ma Rainey, Edythe Turnham, Coleman Hawkins, Count Basie, Sara Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, et al.  These people were black American heroes and heroines. They led our people into the new world of fashion, glamor, dance and song, elegance and etiquette, and into a higher quality of life.

They also proved without any doubt, black Americans were ready to enter into the 20th century with a bang.  They redefined the meaning of music and found notes that was never heard.  They took the world on a trip that has never ended. 

From Gospel, Jazz, and Big Band came Blues and R&B.   Many believe that Blues music was in fact, coded to publicly talk about how white Americans were treating black Americans. These lyrics were about work, jail, and social issues, such as hunger and poverty.  Songs like “Strange Fruit”, by Billie Holliday, “I Have Paint on My Face”, by Sam Chatmon, “Levee Camp Blues”, by Fred McDowell, “What Will I Tell the Children”, by Juke Boy Bonner, “Rock Me”, by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, et al.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Juke Boy Bonner

Blues music gave to those, who just a few decades earlier, were liberated from slavery a sense of awareness and a history lesson on what had happened during the slave era and what was happening as of that day.  America owe so much to these brilliant entertainers who kept their spirits high and delivered a message to millions about freedom, justice, and social responsibility.  We must never forget their contribution to the making of America.  

As the evolution of American music continues came Rhythm and Blues (R&B).  This form of music produced an “up beat sound” but, the old message is there as well as a new message.  R&B continued the stories about human relations i.e., how white America was interfering in black America domestic life, how relationships were coming together and breaking apart, civil rights, police brutality, a lack of jobs and poverty in the mist of negativity, the new message brought another lifestyle or better quality of life.  Black America started to get a handle of this super powerful industry, Music.  

Marvin Gaye

The “black music industry” produced writers, composers, engineers, performers, and thousands more jobs.  Within urban communities across America sprung youth private music classes and public school music classes as well as school bands and competitions.  Music was that engine that brought about a higher quality of life and created ten of thousands good paying jobs.  The industry was primarily self-supporting and black America invested.  

James Brown
The Supremes

The entertainment industry was black America’s pathway from slavery into mainstream American life.  But, the message of the 60’s put fear into the hearts of many non-black American citizens.  This fear caused them to move toward dismantling the only industry that black America had had an opportunity to control.  Many of the entertainers was writing and singing about civil rights and a better quality of life for everyone.  This new message, in many ways, was the anthem of civil rights, but violence, crime, and the burning of cities was too much to bear.  Even in the midst of a tumultuous period, the other message was teaching black America how to get alone with each other, how to treat the women, work ethics, education, anti-drugs, etc.  Most of these lessons were in love songs and long musical ballets.  


The music of the 60’s and 70’s profoundly reshaped and redefined the essence of human relationship.  This music caused the world to realize the genius of black America.  The instrumental, lyrics, melody, and soul force the world to pour into America to discover this new sound and musical form.  

R&B has survived the decades, is relentless, and irresistible.   It’s hard to fathom that listening to this music today is as fresh as when it was first produced over 5 decades ago.  Music is our life, in it is our soul, culture, and history.  Our greatest accomplishment is on the horizon – the return of soul music i.e., R&B.    

I’ve mentioned nothing about the many recording labels, the different modern musical sounds: Motown, Memphis, and Philly, nor the transition into rap and hip hop.  Thousands of pages are written trying to capture “A Hundred Years of Black Music”. 

Join Kickynit Satellite Radio in celebrating “The Year of Soul Music”.


Published by Memphis Wireblog

Memphis is a city that's on the mighty Mississippi River and shares its borders with Arkansas and Mississippi. As the seat of this area, she is posed for a constant growth in many areas like commerce, culture and tourism, education, health care, political, etc.; another area of growth that’s, unfortunately, far too high is crime.

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