Soul Train, Soul Train, bada, bada, bada, bada, ba, ba, ba..... you all know the song. A few weeks ago, I saw VH1's tribute to my man Don Cornelius and the show we all called Soul Train. It was no less than fantastic! I spent my youth watching Soul Train and imitating the dances. I remember checking the show out every Saturday. It was one of those things that validated black youth. Not to say that other people weren't watching Soul Train but this was a show that we identified with. Needless to say, there just weren't a whole lot of shows on at the time that were created by blacks and marketed to blacks. Do you remember the Afro Sheen products & The Blow Out Kit, the "S" Curl kit, and Sulfur 8. These were all marketed during Soul Train.
There were so many things that kept you coming back week after week. I remember the "Lockers" a dance group that had Fred Berry (ReRun from "What's Happening") and a bunch of brothers wearing Apple Hats that could get down. Now don't act like you didn't have one, I did and I still do. It is part of my winter wardrobe and I very seldom leave the house in the winter without my Apple Hat on. How about the Soul Train Scramble Board where you had to unscramble the name of the group before sixty seconds elapsed. Then there was the Soul Train Line, where everyone had to dance their way down the line doing their "thang". I think every party I went to as a youth had at least one Soul Train Line. Of Course, we can't forget, the outlandish clothing styles of the 70"s and 80"s....I know I got my cool from watching some of those styles. But all in all Soul Train was about the music and artist that were on the show. Some of them were groundbreaking....
Shalamar with Jodi Watley, Jeffrey Daniel, and Howard Hewitt, (they were discovered on Soul Train)
Al Green destroyed the crowd of ladies with one of his hit records, and yes I said record (33 1/3 RPM or 45 RPM for those that don't know). Al walked on stage and laid the ladies to rest with his pre-grits soul performance. My mother used to say Al never lets the ladies down....LOL!
Then I'm sure most of you forgot about the first white performer to ever be on Soul Train......before you read on just see if you can remember. What was his name......aahh I know, i know.......Gino Vannelli. That to some was a big deal but to most of us Gino was black because he sang that way. Here is one of his more famous songs he performed live in Montreal, Canada.
Soul Train will always have a place in my heart and I'm sure it will in some of yours. It provided us a small break from some of the craziness that was going on all around us. Soul Train gave us something to talk about during the week ahead and some new dance to try at the next party we went to. Thank you Don Cornelius for taking us along for the ride, for 35 years it surely was the "Hippest Trip in America".