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Memphis Soul

Memphis Soul isn't the same thing as Southern soul, which tends to be gritty and earthy. Memphis soul is a little more stylish, a little more uptown -- but unlike other uptown soul genres, like Chicago soul, it rarely makes concessions to pop. And, while it is certainly smooth, it's not as light as sweet soul. It's stylish and funky, classy but soulful. The quintessential Memphis soul artist is Al Green, and his '70s label, Hi, was the quintessential Memphis soul label. Hi's chief sonic architect, Willie Mitchell, developed the sound in the late '60s, but perfected it in the early '70s as he worked closely with Green. Their recordings were ground-zero for Memphis soul, and it remains the yardstick by which the entire genre is judged.