Detroit's Soul Musical Roots

The Detroit area's diverse population includes French, Belgian, German, Irish, Hispanic, Polish, Greek,

Black Bottom
Italian, Middle Eastern, and Black populations, with each adding its rich cultural traditions. Following the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression impacted the nation. Detroit's former "Black Bottom" area, a district on the city's east side, became nationally famous for its music; major blues singers, big bands, and jazz artists—such as Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie—regularly performed in the night clubs of Paradise Valley entertainment district. In the 1960s, "Black Bottom" was demolished and replaced with the upscale Lafayette Park.

The east necklace of downtown links Grand Circus and the stadium area to Greektown along Broadway. The east necklace contains a sub-district sometimes called the Harmonie Park District in the Broadway Avenue Historic District which has preserved part of the renowned legacy of Detroit's music from the 1930s through the 1950s and into the present. The historic Harmonie Club and Harmonie Centre are located along Broadway. The Harmonie Park area ends near Gratiot and Randolph. The Detroit Opera House is located at Broadway and Grand Circus. Near the Opera House, and emanating from Grand Circus along the east necklace, are other venues including the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts and the Gem Theatre and Century Club.
Hastings St - Jazz & Blues centre

The Detroit blues scene in the 1940s and 1950s was centered on clubs and bars along Hastings Street and featured artists on the local JVB and Sensation labels such as Eddie "Guitar" Burns, John Lee Hooker, Bobo Jenkins, Boogie Woogie Red, Doctor Ross, Baby Boy Warren and Washboard Willie.

Detroit has produced some of the most famous gospel singers in past decades. In the 1940s, Oliver Green formed The Detroiters, who became one of the most popular Gospel groups of the their era. In the 1950s, a young Della Reese began her long and distinguished career, joining the ranks of the gospel elite in Detroit, while Mattie Moss Clark is believed to be the first to introduce three part harmony into gospel choral music.

In the 1960s, the Reverend CL Franklin found success with his recorded sermons on Chess Record's gospel label and with an album of spirituals recorded at his New Bethel Baptist Church included the debut of his young daughter, grammy award winner Aretha Franklin.

In the 1980s, the Winans dynasty produced Grammy winners Cece and BeBe Winans. Other notable gospel acts include Bill Moss & The Celestials—The Brother of Mattie Moss Clark, Father of J Moss and Bill Moss, Jr. & Uncle of The Clark Sisters, J Moss, Bill Moss, Jr., The Clark Sisters, Rance Allen Group, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Thomas Whitfield, Byron Cage and Fred Hammond.

As the Jazz Age began, Detroit quickly emerged as an important musical center, standing alongside New Orleans, Chicago, and St. Louis. Among the musicians who relocated to Detroit were drummer William McKinney, who formed the seminal big band McKinney's Cotton Pickers, with jazz great Don Redman.

Through the 1950s Detroit was one of America's most important jazz centers. Musicians from Detroit who achieved international recognition include Elvin Jones, Hank Jones, Thad Jones, Howard McGhee, Tommy Flanagan, Lucky Thompson, Louis Hayes, Barry Harris, Paul Chambers, Yusef Lateef, Marcus Belgrave, Milt Jackson, Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Curtis Fuller, Julius Watkins, Hugh Lawson, Frank Foster, Doug Watkins, Sir Roland Hanna, Donald Byrd, Kenn Cox, George "sax" Benson, Sonny Stitt, Alice Coltrane, Dorothy Ashby, Roy Brooks, Phil Ranelin, Faruq Z. Bey, Jaribu Shahid, Hakim Jami, Pepper Adams, Tani Tabal, Charles McPherson, Frank Gant, Billy Mitchell, Kirk Lightsey, Lonnie Hillyer, James Carter, Geri Allen, Ralph Armstrong, Ali Jackson Jr., Rick Margitza, Kenny Garrett, Betty Carter, Sippie Wallace, Robert Hurst, Geri Allen, Rodney Whitaker, Clarence Penn, Karriem Riggins, and Carlos McKinney.

Other significant players who spent part of their career in Detroit include Benny Carter, Joe Henderson, Wardell Gray, Grant Green and Don Moye. As this list reflects, the Detroit musicians were major contributors to the Hard-bop and Post-bop styles, especially in the rhythm sections that drove the classic groups of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and contributions to the bands of Charles Mingus, Horace Silver and The Jazz Messengers.

One of the highlights of Detroit's musical history was the success of Motown Records during the 1960s and early 1970s. In the late 1950s the label originally known as Tamla Records was founded by auto plant worker Berry Gordy and became home to some of the most popular recording acts in the world. These included Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Edwin Starr, Little Willie John, The Contours and The Spinners.

However, before Motown became a major force, Detroit was already well on its way to being a R&B and soul hotbed. In 1955, the influential soul singer Little Willie John made his debut; while in 1956, the Detroit based R&B label Fortune Records enjoyed success with Nolan Strong & The Diablos. The Diablos, in the mid-to-late '50s were the hottest vocal group in Detroit, thanks to the group's hit songs "The Wind," "Mind Over Matter" and "The Way You Dog Me Around." Smokey Robinson noted in his biography that Strong's high tenor was his biggest vocal influence. Strong is remembered on the 2010 album Daddy Rockin Strong: A Tribute to Nolan Strong & The Diablos - a tribute compilation that features current rock and roll bands covering Diablos songs. The album was compiled and released by The Wind Records and Norton Records.

Also In 1956, notable blues and R&B singer Zeffrey "Andre" Williams recorded a string of singles for Fortune, including the song "Bacon Fat." Knowing that he couldn't compete with the voice of label-mate Nolan Strong, Andre chose to talk-sing the song. In 1961, Nathaniel Mayer & Fabulous Twilights hit the charts with "Village of Love," which became one of Fortune's top selling singles. Mayer recorded a string of popular 45s for Fortune, even once performing on Dick Clark's American Bandstand.

In 1959, The Falcons, (featuring Wilson Pickett and Eddie Floyd), released "You're So Fine", considered the first true Soul record. Also that year, Jackie Wilson had his first hit with "Reet Petite", which was co-written by a young Berry Gordy Jr.. The Volumes had hit single in 1962 for Chex Records with the single "I Love You". That Same year singer/songwriter Barbara Lewis had a hit with the single "Hello Stranger.", while Gino Washington had cross-racial appeal and achieved Midwest hits in 1963 and 1964 with "Out of This World" and "Gino Is a Coward".

Several other Detroit artists became nationally known without the help of Motown. One such artists was Aretha Franklin. Other non-Motown acts included The Capitols with their 1966 hit "Cool Jerk" and Darrel Banks with "Baby Walk Right in." The following year, J.J Barnes had his biggest hit with "Baby Please Come Back Home." In 1967, longtime back room barbershop doo wop group The Parliaments, featuring George Clinton, scored a hit with "I Wanna Testify" for Revilot Records, and marked the beginning of funk in mainstream R&B. Due to legal issues with Revilot Records, Clinton changed the name of The Parliaments in 1968 to Funkadelic and scored a hit with the song ""A New Day Begins." Then in 1970; after Clinton reclaimed the rights to their original name, he change the groups name once again to simply Parliament and had a minor hit with "The Breakdown.". However, with the constant name and lineup changes the group became known as simply P-Funk which is short for Parliament-Funkadelic.

In 1967, Berry Gordy purchased what is now known as Motown Mansion in Detroit's Boston-Edison Historic District. Motown Records located on the West coast 1972, yet Detroit remained an R&B epicenter with several acts hat had hit songs such as Freda Payne, The Floaters, Enchantment, Ray Parker Jr.; both solo and with his group Raydio, One Way, Oliver Cheatham, Cherrelle, The Jones Girls, Anita Baker, BeBe & CeCe Winans and a band noted for launching the Minneapolis sound made popular by Prince, Ready For The World. It should be noted that Ready For The World was from neighboring auto city Flint, Michigan.

In 1969 The Flaming Ember had several hits for Hot Wax Records, a Detroit-based record label created by the Holland/Dozier/Holland song writing team in 1968 after they left Motown Records. The following year Chairmen of the Board had the first hit for Hot Wax with "Give Me Just a Little More Time."

During the disco craze of the late 1970s, Detroit artists had their fair share of dance hits. In 1975, Stevie Wonder's drummer Hamilton Bohannon had a hit with Foot Stompin' Music, while Donald Byrd & The Blackbyrds infused jazz with dance friendly elements that produced the song "Change (Makes You Wanna Hustle)". In 1977 Brainstorm & C. J. & Company each had soul driven dance hits.

In 1978, George Clinton's bass player Bootsy Collins had a top charting hit with Bootzilla. George Clinton and his band Parliament-Funkadelic is often cited as being a direct influence on the future Detroit Techno scene that emerged in the early 1980s

Detroit has a long and rich history associated with rock and roll. In 1954 Hank Ballard & the Midnighters crossed over from the R&B charts to the pop charts with "Work With Me, Annie." The song nearly broke into the elite top 20 despite being barred from airplay on many stations due to its suggestive lyrics. In 1955, Detroit-native Bill Haley ushered in the rock and roll era with the release of "Rock Around The Clock."
In the late 1950s rockabilly guitarist Jack Scott had a string of top 40 hits. First, in 1957 with "Leroy", then in 1958 with the hits "My True Love" and "With Your Love" and then twice again in 1959 with the hits "Goodbye Baby" and "The Way I Walk." Scott was one of the first musicians to marry country music's melodic song craft to the dangerous, raw power of rock and roll. (edited from wiki/added photos)
This discography though is mainly about the smaller labels that struggled to survive, went bust or was taken over by the big boys.

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