Visiting Detroit By Rob Moss Part 5
People who reside in the largest city, or the capital, of a country seem to have a pompous air of superiority and an apparent belief that they are, in some way, better than their fellow citizens. This is certainly true in Britain, where most Londoners appear to believe that they are life’s leaders — the special, ‘chosen’ ones who were sent to civilize and refine the rest of us. How else could the BBC ‘Soul Britania’ television series manage to attribute the entire development of black music in our country to the people and places in the capital? In America, people from New York and Los Angeles hold this ominous distinction, and in Canada it is undoubtedly the residents of Toronto who strut around in a state of bloated haughtiness and self-importance; thus prompting the following witticism. Question. How many people from (insert name of large city) does it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer. One — they hold the bulb and the world revolves around them. A similar philosophy tends to exist in the music industry, although today, all forms of competition from independent companies has been extinguished as the few corporate ‘giants’ have all major markets safely dominated, and control is firmly centred in Los Angeles. It wasn’t always so however.
At the dawn of modern musical development, in the 1950s, when mass consumption of recorded works began, it was possible for small independent companies to have a shot at the big time. One of the largest niche markets nationally has always been the indigenous black population, and thousands of small independents emerged to exploit the financial potential contained therein. Labels like Atlantic Records in New York, Chess in Chicago, Duke/Peacock in Houston and King in Cincinnati were early pacesetters. ...
note from the soul source team - sorry but all Robs non-current articles are now clipped due to a future book release - watch out for news of that!