This Week's Featured Marker:
Meridian Rhythm & Blues and Soul Music
Marker #178 was unveiled on the Mississippi Blues Trail on Jun 26, 2014, on the Meridian City Hall lawn to honor musicians who contributed to Meridian’s deep rhythm & blues and soul legacy. Rhythm & blues and soul developed from the African American musical heritage of gospel, jazz and traditional blues, and, especially in Southern recording studios, also incorporated the influences of pop, rock and country music. Many soul singers came out of the church, and, in Meridian, radio stations WTOK, WQIC, WMOX, WCOC and WOKK provided another training ground for musicians who worked as disc jockeys, recorded commercial jingles, and sometimes performed live on the air.
One pair honored was Jimmy and David Ruffin. The Ruffin brothers left Meridian to become icons of the Motown sound of Detroit. David starred with the Temptations for years and both he and Jimmy were hitmakers during their solo careers as well. Meridian native Al Wilson moved to California, where he recorded his biggest hit, Show and Tell while Eddie Houston, Pat Brown and Patrice Moncell recorded in Mississippi. Brown scored a hit on the southern soul circuit with Equal Opportunity and Moncell was featured in the film Last of the Mississippi Jukes.
A number of white Meridianites also participated in the soul music scene. George Soule compiled an impressive resume as a songwriter and session musician in Jackson and Muscle Shoals, and had his own hit single on the soul charts in 1973 singing Get Involved. The Six Soul Survivors, who recorded for the local RAP label, run by Bob Reetz, included Paul Davis, who later enjoyed a successful solo career with national pop hits such as I Go Crazy.
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