MERIDIAN, Miss. — You will find a new place to stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail in Meridian. A new marker in front of city hall will recognize the city’s legacy to soul and R&B. David and Jimmy Ruffin, Al Wilson, Pat Brown, Eddie Houston, Patrice Moncell, and George Soule are among the contributors to Meridian’s musical legacy who will be honored on the marker.
Many soul singers came out of the churches in the area and Meridian radio stations WTOK, WQIC, WMOX, WCOC and WOKK provided another training ground for musicians who worked as disc jockeys, recorded commercial jingles, and sometimes performed live on the air.
The Ruffin brothers left Meridian to become icons of the Motown sound of Detroit. David starred with the Temptations for years and both he and Jimmy were hit makers during their solo career. Meridian native Al Wilson moved to California, where he recorded his biggest hit, “Show and Tell,” while Eddie Houston, Pat Brown and Patrice Moncell recorded in Mississippi. Brown scored a hit on the southern soul circuit with “Equal Opportunity,” and Moncell was featured in the film “Last of the Mississippi Jukes.”
A number of white Meridianites also participated in the soul music scene. George Soule compiled an impressive resume as a songwriter and session musician in Jackson and Muscle Shoals, and had his own hit single on the soul charts in 1973 singing “Get Involved.”