Gospel and Southern Soul R&B are the yin and yang of the Deep South. Many radio stations alternate the two genres to accommodate their two biggest audiences: those interested in the service of God, and those interested in having a good time. Many times the audiences overlap.
And yet, if the sins of plagiarism perpetrated by Gospel music upon the "Devil's music" were ever tallied, Gospel music would be seen as a sinner for the ages. This can be easily ascertained by driving by day through the Deep South and listening to Gospel music's many "clones" of R&B classics. (Although it should also be added that in an earlier era—Sam Cooke's day—R&B was the prime raider of Gospel music and techniques.)
Luckily, the two genres and cultures co-exist with a surprising tolerance. Most R&B singers began singing as children in church. Singing well early, they naturally learned to sing Gospel well. Their switch to "secular" music, as Gospel fans refer to it, was a natural and symbiotic step in most blues artists' careers, and Gospel remains one of the primary influences on the music itself.
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