Miami the city where America’s roads end and float into the Caribbean. Because of the beautiful beach setting the city has always lent itself easily to a party atmosphere. The pulsating sounds of dance music from today’s extremely popular electronic music reach back into the Sixties Soul scene of the City. TK Productions followed the structure set up by Detroit’s Motown and Memphis’ Stax Records with a band of the tightest musicians available and a rotating cast of talented vocalist. Guitarist and Vocalist Willie “Little Beaver” Hale, Robert Moore, Clarence Reid and Harry Casey (KC of the Sunshine Band) formed the core of a team that would crank out hit after hit.
Originally a member of Frank Williams Rocketeers, Little Beaver would record for Frank’s label Saadia label. He would eventually leave and stay with TK through the Sixties becoming one of Miami’s proficient artists. Husband and wife team of Gwen and George Mcrae would make wonderful music together. their music is still sought out to this day. Last year Gwen Mcrae’s catalog saw a re-release from Columbia and is seen as ” The Queen of Rare Groove” a genre based around DJ’s search for the funkiest samples. She makes bluesy powerful soul that still resonates, their biggest hit “The Rub” is still played regularly to pack a dance floor.
Seeking an escape from oppressive Southern racism, African Americans were able to establish a self sustaining community in Miami. A Black middle class and with it a nightlife scene developed. Homegrown Soul artists made music to excite the crowds. James Knight & the Butlers, All the People, and Timmy Thomas’ music wouldn’t go father than the city limits but still help foster a sound that would foretell of the upcoming Funk and Disco revolutions primed to hit the country.
Betty Wright would be Miami’s biggest soul export. She’s owned her own label, weathered the Disco craze, and continues to draw an audience and respect in the industry by garnering Grammy nominations as late as last year.
The sound of Florida’s Churches would be the latest music to break on the heels of Robert Randolph and The Campbell Brothers. Sacred Steel or the amped up sound of the pedal steel guitar incubated in Floridian churches broke out of Sunday morning as a new generation has discovered it’s exciting sound.
Now the home of Techno and once the heartbeat of Disco, Miami’s Soul music foretold of the sound’s to come. Miami’s endless party began a long time ago and shows no signs of slowing. Life’s a beach….