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Oldies Music Encyclopedia: "New Orleans Soul"


Oldies Music Encyclopedia:

Barbara George's original 45 of "I Know"

Definition: Only recently garnering the attention given to '60s soul brethren like Stax-Volt, Deep Soul, and Southern Soul, the genre known now as New Orleans Soul is in actuality a strange hybrid only somewhat akin to the churchy style usually associated with soul music. Pioneered largely by singer-songwriter-producer Allen Toussaint around 1960 (but soon picked up by other local and regional entities), New Orleans Soul was a piano-driven pop-soul built around the boogie-woogie style popularized in the postwar Crescent City.

Unlike earlier R&B, however, this genre used bedrock-simple pop structures and rhythms strongly influenced by the "second line" and "parade" beats common to the city. The area's strong Caribbean influence, as well as the Latin music fad of the early '60s, also spurred New Orleans musicians to include more exotic beats and rhythms. Typically, few guitars were present; New Orleans Soul songs were driven by piano and sax (sometimes horn sections made entirely or largely of saxophones), and, often, featured no-nonsense lyrics, deep midtempo rhythms, and an angelic female voice or two in the background -- possibly a nod to the influence of Atlantic's ever-present backing choir, though simpler and grittier.

Although the genre produced about two dozen national hits, its impact was at first largely regional; perhaps no other Sixties musical scene contains so many unrecognized gems that never made it out of the city. Yet the influence of New Orleans Soul is hard to underestimate. It's been cited by Memphis musicians as a key ingredient in the development of that city's brand of soul. Mod and Northern Soul aficionados also cite the style as a primary one; British Invasion bands routinely covered the genre's obscurities. And around 1965, Toussaint moved to a harder, slower version of the genre, essentially midwifing the birth of funk.

Also Known As: Southern Soul
  1. "Mother-In-Law," Ernie K-Doe
  2. "It's Raining," Irma Thomas
  3. "Ya Ya," Lee Dorsey
  4. "I Like It Like That," Chris Kenner
  5. "Barefootin'," Robert Parker
  6. "Fortune Teller," Benny Spellman
  7. "Ooh Poo Pah Doo (Pts. 1 & 2)," Jessie Hill
  8. "All These Things," Art Neville
  9. "I Know," Barbara George
  10. "There Is Something On Your Mind (Pts. 1 & 2)," Bobby Marchan
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  7. New Orleans Soul Music - What is New Orleans Soul Music? - Oldies Songs and Artists

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