Ballroom Dancing

SXSW panels

Ballroom Dancing
Photo by Sandy Carson

Meet the New Soul – Same as the Old Soul?

Austin Convention Center, Friday, March 19

Is the new soul the same as the old soul? As panelist Bob Davis of said over and over, "It's all part of the thing." Truth be told, new soul was an afterthought, with the recent retro-soul resurgence conspicuously absent from the lively discussion. Instead, the panel explored how soul music reflected the world around it. "If we're talking about something like soul music, we have to look at all of these other events that actually helped to derive what it is that we hear," Davis explained, in reference to the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War. Chicago rapper Rhymefest contended that the same isn't true today. "The situation on the ground is no one has health care, there's a war going on, no one has money, and this is not being reflected in the music." The most poignant moment came when veteran music journalist Dave Marsh paid fellow panelist and original Miracles member Claudette Robinson the highest compliment. "I was born in 1950, but my life began in 1964," he testified about the first time he heard "You've Really Got a Hold on Me." "When I heard this song, the illusion of white supremacy dropped because of what Smokey and Claudette sounded like. It twisted my heart and opened my mind."

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