These candid photographs, taken in Soul clubs in Memphis and New York, are the work of photographer David Reed. Still working today, Reed was first commissioned by the UK’s Sunday Times Magazine in 1969, and worked for them continuously until 1990.
Reed was also a regular contributor both to Nova Magazine, until its demise in 1975 and The Radio Times. His work were published in The Observer Magazine and The Telegraph Magazine.
Even though he is in essence a photojournalist, Reed’s skills are such that a number of his portrait photographs are now part of the permanent collection of The National Portrait Gallery in London.
The images seen here were taken for an eight-page feature entitled “Soul on Fire” for The Sunday Times. By the early 1970s, Soul music had become increasingly diverse, evolving into multiple micro-genres from its roots in Gospel and R&B.
In 1971, Don Cornelius’ Soul Train pulled into the televisual station and would remain there until 2006. By which time, many of the clothes you see here had returned to the status of high-fashion.