Soul Music

Booker T. Jones grew up in Memphis and began recording as a session player while still in high school at the age of 17.  While waiting for a session to begin, Booker and the other musicians in the studio began playing a song Booker wrote, which was later given a name when the engineer encouraged...
Stephen “Doc” Kupka met Emilio Castillo in July, 1968, and discovered they both had a dream to form a rock and roll band with a strong horn element. By the end of the year the band began touring and was discovered by Bill Graham two years later when the Tower of Power recorded their first album,...
Ralph MacDonald grew up in Harlem, where he was exposed to many musical traditions. As a drummer, he focused on his African roots and as a songwriter he relied on his soulful understanding of the blues. Ralph wrote "Where Is the Love", the Grammy winning song made popular by Roberta Flack and Donny...
Steve Madaio played trumpet on most of Stevie Wonders recordings during the innovative and creative period between 1971 and 1976.  Stevie was experimenting with electric keyboards and synthesizers, which Steve witnessed and took part in, including working on the classic album Songs in the Key of...
Bobby Martin was one of the architects who developed the Philly Sound that provided a unique twist of soul and funk records of the 1960s and 70s. As a producer he worked with many top artists of the day and as an arranger he gave us the blend of blues and funk on “For the Love of Money” with the O’...
Floyd Newman is among the most noted studio musicians from the early days of Stax Records in Memphis. As a saxophonist, Floyd became an integral part of the studio band at Stax Records known as the Mar-Keys.  He was also a member of the famed Memphis Horns group, which was formed by Wayne Jackson...
Spooner Oldham was a studio musician down in Muscle Shoals, Alabama before becoming a noted songwriter. Spooner's keyboard skills can be heard on such classic records as "You'd Better Move On" and several songs with Aretha Franklin including the Wurlitzer introduction on "Never Loved a Man the Way...
Rocco Prestia grew up in Northern California where he began playing guitar as a teenager before joining a newly formed group called Tower of Power, when he switched to the bass guitar.  On his extensive Wikipedia page, Rocco is praised for mastering the “fingerstyle funk, a technique that he...
Smokey Robinson!  The man changed popular music!  He brought a common, streetwise approach to his lyrics, which were embraced by millions of people the world over who related to his messages of longing, love and second chances.  Smokey conveyed in words and music what many of us felt and wanted to...
Wolf Stephenson met Tommy Couch (the founder of Malaco Records) while the two studied pharmacy in college. They began booking musical acts for their college parties and soon expanded to events and night clubs in and around Oxford, Mississippi. In 1963, Wolf met Rick Hall (the founder of Fame...

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