4CD box set. Limited edition hardback book, DVD size.
Rhythm & Blues was one of the most identifiable musical art forms of the 20th Century, with an enormous influence on the development of both the sound and attitude of modern music. The fourth and final part of our forty year retrospective takes the story up to the end of 1962.
A case could be made for finishing the series later but a decision was taken to go with the prevailing industry opinions of the time. There were so many white pop records in the R&B charts and so much black music in the pop charts towards the end of 1963 that Billboard temporarily abandoned their R&B charts substituting in their place the Hot 100. Billboard magazine did not publish an R&B singles chart from December 1963 to January 1965. We have defined R&B as the accidental synthesis of jazz, gospel, blues, ragtime, country, pop and Latin into a definable form of black music, influencing all popular music from the 1950s to the present day. Other useful definitions include Robert Palmer's in Rock & Roll: An Unruly History, as ‘a catchall rubric used to refer to any music that was made by and for black Americans’, or Chip Deffaa's in Blue Rhythms as ‘popular music that arose in black communities after the swing era and before the arrival of the Beatles.’ From a British perspective, back in the non-PC days of 1964, Stevie Winwood called it simply ‘negro pop’. The set comprises 4 thematically styled discs : Big City Blues – downhome blues derived from the Mississippi Delta via northern urban centres. It's The Rhythm – records that demonstrate the varying rhythms of R&B. Soul Sources – soulful sounds with roots in the church. Popular Sounds – records showing influences from mainstream popular music.
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