Jackson City Council declares city the birthplace of Southern Soul music

Jackson City Council declares city the birthplace of Southern Soul music

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Jackson City Council officially declares the Capital City as the home and birthplace of Southern Soul.

It’s that down home Southern music heard in Mississippi juke joints, on the radio and at many family gatherings.

Music industry insiders say if the city doesn’t claim the designation, others will do so and benefit economically.

Malaco Records President Tommy Couch and Jackson Music Awards Founder and President Jesse Thompson discuss the impact the Southern Soul Birthplace designation could have on the Capital City. Source: WLBT
Malaco Records President Tommy Couch and Jackson Music Awards Founder and President Jesse Thompson discuss the impact the Southern Soul Birthplace designation could have on the Capital City. Source: WLBT

“It’s something between the blues and what we call 'Contemporary R&B,” said Jackson Music Awards Founder and President Jesse Thompson while describing the sound of Southern Soul.

Malaco recording artist Mel Waiters is among the Southern Soul performers who brought the rich style of music to the forefront, echoing through radios and clubs throughout the South.

It’s a genre Jackson Councilman De’Keither Stamps wanted recognized as the city’s own when he introduced the resolution declaring Jackson the birthplace of Southern Soul.

“I just believe it’s another way for us to market our city and to market our talents,” said Stamps. “Someone in Nashville’s leadership had the vision to say ‘We’re gonna grab this and plant a flag right here’ and they built an entire economy around that genre of music."

Councilman De'Keither Stamps introduced the resolution declaring Jackson as the Birthplace of Southern Soul. The council passed the measure unanimously. Source: WLBT
Councilman De'Keither Stamps introduced the resolution declaring Jackson as the Birthplace of Southern Soul. The council passed the measure unanimously. Source: WLBT

The music’s roots are within the walls of Malaco Records, located on Northside Drive in the Capital City.

“Malaco is known for it, for creating it because it was R&B, soul music with a blue’s feel,” said Malaco Records President Tommy Couch. “It was the music that resonated with the listeners from Texas over through the Carolinas and then, naturally, Chicago and Detroit."

Farish Street Heritage Festival Executive Producer Lee King and Jesse Thompson petitioned the council to support the designation.

Darrell Luster and Nick Smith with Malaco Records perform an impromptu jam session of Southern Soul in the agency's recording studio Wednesday. Source: WLBT
Darrell Luster and Nick Smith with Malaco Records perform an impromptu jam session of Southern Soul in the agency's recording studio Wednesday. Source: WLBT

“We need to make sure the world knows that Jackson, Mississippi is the leader when it comes to Southern Soul,” King told the council Tuesday.

“This is something that you can be proud of when you hear this record on the radio or see this video on Youtube or you download this particular mp3. That music was created and started, birthed in Jackson, Mississippi,” added Thompson.

The council passed the resolution unanimously.

The goal is to do for Jackson what blues has done for Memphis and what country has done for Nashville.

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