Listening with Larsupreme Episode 16: Madames Below the Mason-Dixon Line

Memphis Soul Queen, Carla Thomas

When you think of Soul Music from the 1960’s, where do you think of it primarily coming from? Detroit definitely leads the list, probably followed by Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. Los Angeles wasn’t a slouch either. Your first thoughts might not think much of the Southern United States. Your mind may be clouded by it being the most beastly locations for Black Civil Rights struggles. Even most of the media sets those protests to northern musicians from Motown or will trudge out “A Change Is Gonna Come” yet once again.

For our second episode for Women’s History Month 2021, we head south and commune with the women of soul well-known and not so well-known. We take those country byways to explore New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville and Miami extensively. We take side trips to Houston and Louisville. We come out enriched with a deeper understanding of the context of being a Black woman performing in the South in the 1960’s.

I do hope you come away with a better understanding of the diversity of art created by these women, some fortunately to still be with us. Regardless, the wealth of art they leave in their wake will undoubtedly influence and inspire many to pick up where they left off.


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