Cornel West once wrote that what we need to avoid despair is “audacious hope,” not to be confused with superficial American optimism. Sixties soul is the voice of that hope: prophetic, political, sexy and smart. If you love this music and don’t know gospel, go from here to the Gospel crate, which is where the sound took root. Peter Guralnick misses the Motown part of the story, but other than that his Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom remains as good now as it was a quarter century ago. You can fill in the Motown pieces with Nelson George’s Where Did Our Love Go.