Glossary

I will from time to time use terms that may (or may not) be known to the reader.  To save you the effort of wandering the internet to figure out what those terms mean, I will define them here.  Should you like a term defined, send me an e-mail.

Chicago Soul:  a sub-genre of soul that borrows heavily from Chicago’s gospel scene.  Chicago soul tends to have a sweet sound and rhythm, with an emphasis on harmonic vocals, romantic ballads and full orchestration.  Chicago soul was key in moving soul music from its early single-oriented roots to the album-oriented format of the 1970s.

Completist:  in the context of record collecting, an obsessive far who indiscriminately acquires every last piece of recorded material pertaining to a particular artist.

Crossover:  a genre song heavily infused with pop elements, watered down to broaden its appeal and drive sales.  Examples:  Macklemore is crossover rap; Kenny G is crossover jazz, pretty much anything you hear on the CMAs is crossover country.

Detroit Soul:  a sub-genre of soul based in rhythm, with a bit more of a pop influence than other types of soul music.  The sax and brass of other types of soul is replaced with strings and background choruses.  Bass lines are more prominent than the rhythm guitar.  Arrangements are simple and beats typically in 4/4 time.

Exotica:  a musical “genre” with these common characteristics:  congas/bongos, animal sound effects, tropical/Eastern/Arabic motifs, Afro-rhythms, and/or “savage” vocalizations.  All of it completely non-authentic.  Narrowly applied to a few jazz artists in the late 1950s, in modern times the term is used for artists from various genres that utilized these motifs in their music.

Imprint:  in the context of the record industry, a descriptor used for a record label when the record company owns multiple labels.  Example:  Tamla, Gordy, Soul, V.I.P., and Mel-O-Dy were all Motown imprints.

Northern Soul:  a club scene that sprang up in the late 1960s in the industrial towns of northern England.  Club DJs specialized in finding the most obscure uptempo American soul records possible.  Club members paid an annual fee to attend all-night dances.  The scene petered out in the late 1970s but is still active today.  Think of it as the precursor to the Rave scene.

Philly Soul:  a sub-genre of soul, gelling in Philadelphia in the 1960s, with a strong jazz influence on the melodic structure of songs. Strings and horns are combined parts of a production style glossier than other soul genres.  A funk influence is notable in the rhythm section.  More notable for its producers than its artists.

Popcorn:  a club scene that sprang up in 1970s Belgium.  DJs play an odd assortment of American (and occasional British) music, most of which was obscure.  This obscurity was usually a result of the music being difficult to pigeonhole into genres; pop hybrids of exotica, torch songs, rockabilly, and jazz typify the music.  The preferred records had slow and mid-tempo beats.

Tittyshaker:  a musical scene that sprang up in the 1990s focused on raw 1960s jazz, rockabilly, surf, and garage music with an uptempo beat.  Often associated with strip tease, go-go dancing, hot rod and biker movies, sleazy lounges, and other “exploitation” elements of 1960s culture.  The American burlesque scene of the 2000s is an off-shoot of the Tittyshaker scene.