Florida Soul: From Ray Charles to KC and the Sunshine Band

Univ. Pr. of Florida. Sept. 2017. 374p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780813054520. $24.95. MUSIC
Capouya (journalism & writing, Univ. of Tampa; Gorgeous George) adds a significant entry to the scholarship on soul music with this title. He maintains that the state of Florida made valuable contributions to soul, on par with notable soul capitals such as Memphis, Detroit, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Capouya provides 20 profiles of exceptional Floridian soul musicians, ranging from the obscure (Linda Lyndell, Wayne Cochran, Frankie Gearing) to the popular (Ray Charles, Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, KC and the Sunshine Band). Throughout these profiles, a portrait of how racial segregation and post-Civil Rights Act integration in Florida affected both black and white musicians emerges. Because many of his subjects are spread widely across the state, Capouya's thesis about Florida as a soul capital falters slightly. If there is one figurehead, it is Henry Stone, the owner of TK Productions, whose session players included hit makers Timmy Thomas, Latimore, Betty Wright, Little Beaver, and Chocolate Perry. Because of the sheer number of profiles, this volume is slow going at times, and a selected discography would have been useful.
VERDICT Recommended for those already well versed in the history of soul looking to learn more; especially essential for libraries in Florida.

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