Monday, February 6, 2012

RIP Soul Train Conductor

First Heavy D., then Etta James, now Don Cornelius, the creator and original host of the famed Soul Train.  Children of the 70s are mouring everywhere.  Nothing could strike up fun, belly-busting laughter, and TERROR like the Soul Train line at the local party/wedding/family reunion.  Fun - because it's dancing to the best grooves. Laughter - because someone is gonna do the bump, some gray haired person is gonna yell "see y'all don't know nothin' 'bout dis here" and then proceed to look crazy. and Terror - because you had to come up with a good move or people were going to laugh at YOU.

Don Cornelius opened the window to let the country view African American culture, fashion, and just plain gorgeous people on national TV.  Soul Train was the mark of success for the up-and-coming artist trying to make it in the business. It was a way to get music out to the masses for the established artist. 

When Soul Train went into syndication in the 80s and 90s, I was finally old enough to watch. One Saturday I was forced by my mother to take a nap. I woke up hours later in a cold sweat, terrified that I'd missed the ST episode for that day. What did little Cheray do? She ran crying hysterically to her daddy, who was baffled (as I'm sure he was many times in this house full of women). He tried to calm me down and find out why his first-born had completely lost it. The conversation went something like this: "Was it a nightmare?" "No." "Are you hurt?" "No." "Well what's wrong baby?" "I MISSED SOUUUUUUUUULLLL TRAIN!!" "Girl sit down, it hasn't come on yet!"

Today's clips are a few Soul Train moments:

Soul Train was known for having musical guests lipsynch their performances (cuz it's kinda hard to boogie down AND sing well at the same time). But I did find this clip of the O'Jays mixing live singing with a track:

Mariah Carey, back in the day (when she was good). She also breaks the mold and performs live with a track.

Quick example of REALLY bad lip-synching - David Bowie, the first white artist to be featured on Soul Train. 

Clip from The Fresh Prince - GO CARLTON!

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