In the early 1960s, African American popular music was called rock and roll or rhythm and blues (R&B), depending on whom you asked.Later in the 1960s, soul became the popular name for this music, although the shift was more symbolic than musical. By the 1970s, two major styles of music emerged out of soul. On the one hand, vocal groups like Durham’s own Communicators and Blue Steam focused on harmonizing about love and romance and were influenced by national recording artists such as the Chi-Lites and the O’Jays. On the other hand, groups like the Black Experience Band fused rock and soul with powerful rhythm and brass sections to create funk, a musical style pioneered by the likes of James Brown and Funkadelic.  Although Durham’s scene seemed to peak in the 1970s, local groups remained active in the 1980s, mixing synthesizers and drum machines with funk rhythms and vocal styles of the previous decade.

Other Durham Soul, Funk, and R&B Artists from the 1960s, '70s and '80s

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Charles Alexander

Black Magic Band

Brodie’s Gang
(also known as Brodie)

Candy & the Kisses

Dash of Black

The Deltations

The Dorvells

The Essence of Truth

Funk Factory Band

Peter Green &
the Groovers

The Imitating Temptations

The Mystics

The Oasis

One Real Band

The Pastels

Leon Pendarvis Orchestra

The Pimps and the Entertainers

The Positive Approach

The Scepters

The Soul Company


Bob Tapp and the
Acid Rock Combo

True Deliverance

Faye Turner

US Welfare Band

Wall Street

where are they now?