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  1. #1

    When do you think rhythm and blues/soul went downhill?

    I'm going with the 1980s, I felt that was the beginning of the end of good soul music.

    What about you guys?

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    Agreed, but I feel like it rebounded somewhat in the 90s. However, after Luther and Gerald died, what little spark it had burned out.

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    Never. There are still tremendously talented younger groups performing in the traditional style that we love. 'I'm still big; it's the pictures that got small'.

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    Danger! Old Fogey warning! -

    1966, with the start of Funk Music. 1970s Disco and the decline of The Motown Sound made it worse. 1980s fake musical sound machines [[digital) made it much worse. Rap's coming in made it decline further, in that less people were interested in and less listened to R&B/Soul Music, so there was less demand for it, and so, less producing and singing talent went into it. Starting about 1968, I couldn't listen to the Soul radio stations, because there were only maybe a handful of songs per 2-3 hour show, that I enjoyed listening. I like music from the 1890s to about 1967, also enjoying maybe about 25% of the soul Music songs that got to vinyl from 1968-1970. It almost dried up completely for me by mid 1972 or so. The singing style was getting "too modern", and so was the instrumentation. I'd rather listen to Ragtime, or Boogie Woogie than even 1970s Soul. Give me Louis Jordan or The Five Keys over "The Sound of Philadelphia".

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
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    Danger! Old Fogey warning! -

    1966, with the start of Funk Music. 1970s Disco and the decline of The Motown Sound made it worse. 1980s fake musical sound machines [[digital) made it much worse. Rap's coming in made it decline further, in that less people were interested in and less listened to R&B/Soul Music, so there was less demand for it, and so, less producing and singing talent went into it. Starting about 1968, I couldn't listen to the Soul radio stations, because there were only maybe a handful of songs per 2-3 hour show, that I enjoyed listening. I like music from the 1890s to about 1967, also enjoying maybe about 25% of the soul Music songs that got to vinyl from 1968-1970. It almost dried up completely for me by mid 1972 or so. The singing style was getting "too modern", and so was the instrumentation. I'd rather listen to Ragtime, or Boogie Woogie than even 1970s Soul. Give me Louis Jordan or The Five Keys over "The Sound of Philadelphia".
    No, don't be crazy lol is all age perspective and judging by your post you're a lot older than me I'm assuming [[I was born in 59, so late boomer)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSherry59 View Post
    No, don't be crazy lol is all age perspective and judging by your post you're a lot older than me I'm assuming [[I was born in 59, so late boomer)
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    You are correct. I Was one of the earliest Post WWII babies. But, in addition to being older, I've been quite old-fashioned and ridiculously nostalgic all my life, to a fault. I'm still living in 1964.
    I'm like a comic book, or science fiction, or horror film character, who made [[or inherited) a lot of money, and uses it to live in the past, surrounded by only old-fashioned things. I remember a 1950s story of an eccentric millionaire, who had a gigantic ranch [[hundreds of square miles) in Texas, and surrounded it with barbed wire fences with eagle's nest guard stations to shoot at any unauthorised guests to scare them away. Nothing on the ranch could come from after 1899, including the clothing people wore. All his employees had to abide by the rules. It was called "Yesterday Ranch".

    I'm absolutely TERRIBLE with computers. It was a miracle that I learned to send e-mail and make forum posts. I HATE mobile telephones! I've had one for about 5 years, and only use it to retrieve my Internet passwords. Otherwise, I only use a phone connected by wires to the wall. I HATE digital music, and love only paper books. BAH! HUMBUG! I have a car I bought new in 2012. It has 18,000 miles on it. I've been in Los Angeles for about 2 years [[stuck there by The Pandemic). I've driven about 150 miles in those 2 years. I own and ride 3 non-powered bicycles at my 3 homes in Europe, and normally probably ride at least a few thousand miles each year. Most of the films I like were made from 1910-1956. Most of the books I read were written between 1800-1960. Sorry! It's way too late for me to NOT be crazy.

  7. #7
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    Over and over again we come to the subject of times and tastes changing in the world
    of music and in our own personal lives. There is no closing argument really, as someone
    once said, "To each it's reach and if I don't cop, it ain't mine to have." I'm reminded by
    of early spats in jazz with swingers decrying beboppers flatted fifths. Folkers freaking
    out when Bob Dylan went from acoustic to electric guitar. A lot of church folk lost their
    mind when Ray Charles injected gospel chord progressions and harmonies with secular
    lyricisms. I can imagine what a horror it must have been for some to hear an ARP or
    Moog synthesizer. Lord have mercy!!!....Nobody can make these changes stop occurring
    just as nobody can force us to be happy with them and enjoy them. Truth. I just wonder
    if people really believe that they "shouldn't have" happened? If I had my way 90% of
    American popular music would disappear but I don't have a say about that. It'd just be
    too difficult, too extreme for me to stick my head in musical sand for 50+ sand being
    happy enjoying NOTHING new...But that's just me....

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    when they quit using real instruments, especially drums and not very good singers. The "look" became more important then the "sound".

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    Well, this is a subjective topic if ever there was one. Personally, soul and R&B reached its zenith in the early '70s. I know I'm in the land of '50s and '60s diehards, but I think those eras got better with time and peaked between 1970 and 1975. Then, disco changed everything.

    The advent of disco was part of a perfect storm of circumstances that led to soul's decline. It blurred the lines between tradionally urban music and pop. The money that could be made from appealing to a mass market resulted in a generic crossover genre that skewed away from soulfulness musically, lyrically and vocally.

    Add to that the aforementioned availability of synthesizers. Those instruments, along with advances in studio recording technology, meant that one man could produce an entire song with minimal help. I'd suggest that a lot of what made soul music [[and R&B) soulful was the collaborative contributions of several artists.

    And further technological advances in the '80s moved us further away although there were plenty of soul artists still making great music. I think it became too easy to make music at some point and if you had a good beat, nice body or attractive face, you were more marketable than you would be if you were a great artist. The industry has always been about money and marketability.

    Sorry for writing a foreward to a book...

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    When all the big money went to rap and hip hop plus many of the reasons already stated...

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    For me,by the end of the seventies it seems that the great groups were almost gone,the early eighties had a tiny bit left but after[1985]it was all over as far as the greats...but we all get old and time marches on...but as long as i have a turntable and cassettes time will stand still!!

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    Rule #2 when surmising anything about music of any kind :
    Blame disco!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSherry59 View Post
    I'm going with the 1980s, I felt that was the beginning of the end of good soul music.

    What about you guys?
    Dealing strictly with "soul music" as a genre in itself, was there any other music after
    what you define as it's demise that you felt you could listen to and enjoy?Was it all
    you listened to? It's quite common on youtube for people of the current popular
    generation to post in comments of 90's, 80's, 70's, even 60's music, fantasy of going back in time to enjoy that sound when it was new. Is there anything that came when you
    were still a child or before that appealed to you? Do you like anyone making any kind of
    music anywhere on this earth today?....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    Never. There are still tremendously talented younger groups performing in the traditional style that we love. 'I'm still big; it's the pictures that got small'.
    You go Norma!

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    Quote Originally Posted by splanky View Post
    Dealing strictly with "soul music" as a genre in itself, was there any other music after
    what you define as it's demise that you felt you could listen to and enjoy?Was it all
    you listened to? It's quite common on youtube for people of the current popular
    generation to post in comments of 90's, 80's, 70's, even 60's music, fantasy of going back in time to enjoy that sound when it was new. Is there anything that came when you
    were still a child or before that appealed to you?
    Do you like anyone making any kind of
    music anywhere on this earth today?....
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    I like some of the acoustic music being made currently, especially in the Jazz and Folk genres, plus I like some of the Arab, Klesmer [[traditional Jewish), Gypsy, traditional Japanese and Chinese music, Bulgarian and Scottish and Irish bagpipe music, and other Scottish and Irish instrumental music. I have no problem with some of the more mellow, sweet-toned current singing in today's popular Western music. I just don't like the sound of digital music. I don't like "Rock Music", or commercial C&W, or most popular Country/Rock. I do like 1940s and early 1950s "Bluegrass" and traditional Country/Folk "Hillbilly" music, but not what it evolved into in the late 1950s and 1960s, and to today.

    I don't begrudge the the great masses of population listening to the music they like. I don't go out in public much, at all, so I don't have to listen to music I don't like in shops, restaurants and other public places, and I don't watch the TV programmes that play it. When The Pandemic is finally over, if I am alive and ambulatory, I probably will still get most, if not all of my food delivered to me, but will again start going to a few shops. And I can live with listening to a few songs I don't like for a few minutes[[which I always have done). But, I don't recall the shops I frequent in Holland and Denmark playing music in the background, like they do in so many in USA. In Germany I have always [[since 1984) gotten most of my food from a local farmer, who is a family friend of my business partner and landlord. When I'm in USA, I'll still have it delivered, and in Canada, too, I believe that my sister and brother-in-law will continue to have most things delivered.

    As I stated above, I liked the 1930s and 1940s Blues, Boogie Woogie and Jazz, and the early R&B of the 1940s, which my father collected, and my parents listened to on their 78 RPM records, and I played them, too, when old enough. That's what got me into R&B/Blues/Jazz, and Gospel music in the first place. But, I also liked traditional Jewish and Gypsy Music as a youngster, which is very similar in several ways to American Blues.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by splanky View Post
    Dealing strictly with "soul music" as a genre in itself, was there any other music after
    what you define as it's demise that you felt you could listen to and enjoy?Was it all
    you listened to? It's quite common on youtube for people of the current popular
    generation to post in comments of 90's, 80's, 70's, even 60's music, fantasy of going back in time to enjoy that sound when it was new. Is there anything that came when you
    were still a child or before that appealed to you? Do you like anyone making any kind of
    music anywhere on this earth today?....
    I listened to many things throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. I stopped caring for what was being released in the 90s because I felt music as a whole back then was on a decline and sucked then... In regards to soul, I felt it started to decline badly throughout the 80s because the technology of that era was horrible and that synthesizer crap.

    I just stick with anything pre 90s, I'm in musical heaven when I play it
    Last edited by MichaelSherry59; 09-19-2021 at 07:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jboy88 View Post
    Agreed, but I feel like it rebounded somewhat in the 90s. However, after Luther and Gerald died, what little spark it had burned out.
    That's exactly where I am on this. In the 80s, hip-hop was co-opted into soul music, an only had a bit of a reprieve with artists like Gerald Levert, Boys II Men, and Johnny Gill in the 90s.

    Full disclosure: I was listening to mostly grunge and alternative pop in the 90s.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by soulster View Post
    That's exactly where I am on this. In the 80s, hip-hop was co-opted into soul music, an only had a bit of a reprieve with artists like Gerald Levert, Boys II Men, and Johnny Gill in the 90s.

    Full disclosure: I was listening to mostly grunge and alternative pop in the 90s.
    The 90s lol... Such a poor decade for music, Rick James was right when he said the music was garbage then...

  19. #19
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    This subject reminds me of an article in Musician magazine where Herbie Hancock told Miles Davis he was conflicted because Wynton Marsalis was chastising him for making funk and pop songs instead of focusing solely on jazz. Marsalis was {and remains} a jazz purist/snob and felt that Hancock cheated the world by not creating more fantastic jazz. Miles told him not to worry about Marsalis' point of view because if the world wants to listen to great jazz, that's what records are for.

    I feel the same about soul and R&B. I really never paid attention to the genre going "downhill" because I have enough music on my devices to play 24 hours a day for weeks without listening to the same song twice. It didn't go downhill; it evolved and many of us didn't evolve with it.

  20. #20
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    I'm listening to the new Anthony Hamilton [[as recommended by Jack020) and reiterating my original reply to this thread.

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    Not saying soul/r&b music didn't wane in the 90's but just that it didn't completely disappear like that. So what if some, like soulster, found other music he could enjoy,
    outside of the discussed genre. Did that make it "garbage" not worth anyone's attention?
    In the 90's I was still trailing the vapors of the Funk, P and or otherwise. Sade and Anita
    Baker did it for me too. I also did in all honesty enjoy the blooming decade of hip-hop,
    and have no regrets about it. I also was at the time getting heavily into the rebirth of
    jazz that was taking place with new blood like Cassandra Wilson was at the time. Nowadays a lot of these musicians are paying tribute in interesting ways to earlier icons
    like Earth Wind and Fire, The Delfonics and Curtis Mayfield along with the usual suspects,
    Marvin Gaye and most commonly covered Stevie Wonder. It might not meet some folks
    approval, but as the 90's started I was definitely digging on TLC's Diggin' On You and
    Waterfalls and still picking up Diamonds and Pearls from Prince...

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by splanky View Post
    Not saying soul/r&b music didn't wane in the 90's but just that it didn't completely disappear like that. So what if some, like soulster, found other music he could enjoy,
    outside of the discussed genre. Did that make it "garbage" not worth anyone's attention?
    In the 90's I was still trailing the vapors of the Funk, P and or otherwise. Sade and Anita
    Baker did it for me too. I also did in all honesty enjoy the blooming decade of hip-hop,
    and have no regrets about it. I also was at the time getting heavily into the rebirth of
    jazz that was taking place with new blood like Cassandra Wilson was at the time. Nowadays a lot of these musicians are paying tribute in interesting ways to earlier icons
    like Earth Wind and Fire, The Delfonics and Curtis Mayfield along with the usual suspects,
    Marvin Gaye and most commonly covered Stevie Wonder. It might not meet some folks
    approval, but as the 90's started I was definitely digging on TLC's Diggin' On You and
    Waterfalls and still picking up Diamonds and Pearls from Prince...
    No one never said they had a problem with what Soulster was listening to back then lol, I just expressed my opinion to him, that was it lol...

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    I don't think that good R&B/Soul music ever stopped, it's just doesn't have the same prominence that it once had. I think to a certain degree that R&B/Soul has taken a back seat to HipHop/Rap, unfortunately. I'm not a fan of that genre and rarely listen to more than one song at a time. It's just not for me. I'm just more into actual real singers than rappers. I subscribe to a music streaming service so I get to listen to a TON of new R&B/Soul music and there are a lot of good singers putting out great music. It just doesn't get played on traditional radio or artists that don't appear on tv but it's definitely out there if you look for it.

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    For me, R&B and Soul Music's downfall was the 1980s, for sure. Instrumentation went from full, soulful orchestras with strings and real instruments [[i.e., Love Unlimited Orchestra and MFSB) to soul-less synthesizers, rap, and hip-hop.

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