Soul music grew out of black churches and high school band rooms. Young performers, inspired by a generation of older musicians rooted in gospel, blues, and jazz, developed a new style of music. Local radio and television exposed listeners to soul, and aspiring stars honed their craft in front of live audiences at the city’s nightclubs. Even the Civil Rights and Black Power movements encouraged this music’s rise.
For a city with just 100,000 residents in the 1960s and ‘70s, Durham was home to an impressive number of soul, funk, and R&B performers. More than 40 groups recorded over 30 singles and three full-length albums in these decades. Durham was also home to ten recording labels that released soul music, though most of them only released one or two records apiece. A few successful local records also came out on national labels like United Artists or on regional labels in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Visit the companion gallery exhibit at the Museum of Durham History's History Hub at 500 W. Main Street in Durham, NC through the end of 2014.