Visiting Detroit Part 1 by Rob Moss
Once we’d discovered the joys of soul music in those early, surly days of pubescence, it was almost inevitable that the magnetic influence of Detroit would come to penetrate, infiltrate and dominate our hearts, minds, bodies and soles. Initially it was Motown, but as interest prompted deeper scrutiny, others, similar but different, entered the fray. And as we began to realize just how special the unique ‘sound’ was, it finally dawned that the giant bulk of this wonderful music was performed by a relatively small group of very special musicians in league with an even smaller ‘inner circle’ of creative forces, and that it was recorded in a handful of facilities dotted around the city. Scores of singers and groups benefited, in varying degrees, from the considerable commercial prosperity that was generated, and the city gained an artistic reputation that persists to this day. This is not to say that Detroit was alone, however, in contributing to the heritage and history of American musical culture. Cities like Memphis, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans and even Los Angeles have made significant contributions. But to many, Detroit IS special because it single handedly gave a separate and unique genre of music to the world that was created and developed, in the main, by its own people, in its own back yard and in its own image.
Detroit, Michigan lies at America’s most northerly border on the Detroit River, which separates it from Windsor, Ontario on the Canadian side. Throughout the early nineteenth century it had been an important destination for slaves seeking freedom in Canada. A much different migration took place at the end of the century when Henry Ford established his automobile plant in the city in 1901.Others followed and it wasn’t long before the city became the centre of car manufacture in America. Over the succeeding decades, thousands of black workers migrated north from the Southern states in search of work and a better life, thus swelling the population and expanding the city’s boundaries.
Detroit is not known as a holiday destination...
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!