One capital of soul in the 1960s? Muscle Shoals, Ala., a fly-speck on the map which spawned some of the era's greatest recordings, via productions in Rick Hall's Fame Studios. Rock historian Ed Ward has their story.
Anthony Hamilton's Back to Love was released late last year. Rock critic Ken Tucker says Hamilton's vocals "evoke predecessors ranging from Bill Withers to Teddy Pendergrass to Peabo Bryson," while also maintaining a contemporary sound.
For many years, the search for unknown or forgotten soul singers has dug deeply into music archives. But surprises still turn up. Music critic Milo Miles says this year's best discovery is a West African singer and bandleader named El Rego.
Al Green wrote "Take Me to the River," but it was his labelmate Syl Johnson who first made it famous. Rock historian Ed Ward traces Johnson's early career, which started in Chicago blues clubs in the 1950s.
The master of country soul, Percy Sledge crooned some of the genre's greatest hits, like "When a Man Loves a Woman." Rock historian Ed Ward says a new box set featuring all of Sledge's Atlantic recordings is certainly worth a listen.
Goldwax, a label which issued some of the greatest soul records ever made in Memphis, is almost completely unknown. Given the quality of what it released, it had very few hits, but its legend has lived on. Ed Ward reports on the label's impressive run from 1963 to '70.
Solomon Burke, the Grammy Award-winning singer who wrote the hit track "Everyone Needs Somebody to Love," died Sunday at 70. Fresh Air remembers the "King of Rock and Soul" with excerpts from a 1986 interview.