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Friday, June 1, 2012

All Aboard the Sooooul Train!

When I began watching Soul Train I thought it was the coolest and the hippest show on television. Don Cornelius was one of the smoothest cats around with his rich velvety baritone voice. Of course the afro hairstyle he wore when the show debuted was just fly, and I was partial to this hairstyle anyway because for years I myself had worn one. I fashioned myself after one of my 70's era heroes...or should I say "sheroes"...Ms. Angela Davis. I was a fist pumping, afro wearing, "Power to the People" kind of a girl, whose everyday language was peppered with such colorful phrases as "solid", "cool cat", "hippest dude", and of course the most popular one that is still used today..."Right On!"

While I watched the different singing groups do their thing on Soul Train, and the Soul Train Dancers get their groove on, I got into the spirit of things by mimicing the dances and lip-syncing along with the singers with my trusty hairbrush for a makeshift microphone. I sang along with Gladys Knight & The Pips, Peaches & Herb, The Four Tops, Aretha Franklin and The Delfonics, and got all dreamy-eyed, hot and bothered by the rich soulfulness of Barry White just to name a few. 

I don't think there was a Black American group out there that did not perform on Soul Train at least once in their careers. It was a fabulous showcase for new artists and a marvelous venue for those that were established in the world of music and entertainment. It was not the easiest thing to do for a Black man to make his way in the entertainment world during the 1970's. But Don Cornelius did, and he made a success out of his show and left his mark after years of providing us with quality and fun and what will forever be one of the best musical variety shows on television.

This was not meant to be an ode to Don Cornelius, but just a simple remembrance of something that brought me joy and happiness for an hour on Saturdays amid my otherwise dull, lackluster and boring existence. Dancing can unlease a myriad of emotions in us, not the least of which is a freeing sort of sensuality. Dancing is a great tension reliever, and a creative means of communication. Whether it was the Hustle or  something made up from a mixture of older dances like The Jerk, The Swim, The Horse, or The Running Man (progressive eras in dance) just being able to cut loose to the beat and work up a sweat freed the mind and relaxed the body.

The Soul Train line lives on afterdecades of popularity at wedding receptions, cabarets, and other parties. The Soul Train line will get everybody out on the dance floor and no partner is required. I believe it will be immortal and will never lose its appeal or its effectiveness at bringing out the part animal in all of us. Nothing can compare to the rush of heading down the line showing off your moves and keeping perfect timing to the rhythm and the beat. I feel like I can get up and bust a move right now!

So the next time you're dreading that same old routine of vacuuming and dusting, just put on some Frankie Beverly & Maze, or some O'Jays and get your groove on! Put down that broom and fancy yourself strutting down the soul train line and then clap your hands, snap your fingers and stomp your feet. Let's get it o with Love...Peace...and Sooooul!

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