When I was about 5 or 6, I spent my Saturday mornings in one of two ways. The first Showcase Showdown involved our parents packing my brothers and I into the wood paneled wagon and driving us down to the Bowery in New York City. Same routine every week, wave the bum off at the Gaseteria in the Bronx by the Third Avenue Bridge, double park on Canal, and run wild in the streets while waiting for a parking spot. There was some reason we took our show on the road weekly and bi-weekly in some cases, but that was none of my concern. It was my self-appointed job to collect every business card of every jeweler in that warehouse, then to run around outside in the throngs of people absorbing soot into my lungs. Showcase Showdown number two involved staying home to destroy the house.
Often I would begin those delightful Saturdays at home by sleeping late. Then, when I got my wind (sometime around 10:30 or 11:00, much like today) I would get into a sleeping bag on my stomach and perch at the top of the stairs until one of my brothers pushed me down. This was a very delicate operation and we had to time it right because it would start a thumping on each stair resulting in a subsequent scream from my mother. “YOU’RE WEARING OUT THE CARPET YOU KIDS!!!”
After we met the wrath of Gloom and Doom (that’s Mom and Dad in case you forgot,) we would congregate on the houndstooth couch and watch American Bandstand. At 5, I was 13 years shy of the legal drinking age of 1978 and unable to access Studio 54, much to my dismay. Oh, believe me, I knew what it was and I knew it was going on, just down the street from my house. American Bandstand was my own little Studio 54 in my parent’s living room, just without the coke. Sadly. Also sadly, without the Halston – greatest fashion designer ever.
Well, here I am, 28 years later. Halston is dead. Steve Rubell is dead. Studio 54 is no mas. But, I found a way to reclaim my youth on Saturday nights at 2 a.m. and it doesn’t involve me having to leave my bed!
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…SOUL TRAIN! No, wait, The BEST of SOUL TRAIN airs on this channel, one I would never watch for its proximity to E! and Court TV is just so painfully far. On a good day, it’s still within 30 channels of the low-hovering A&E, where I might flip that low during the commercials of Intervention (a show that makes me cry every time) or Cold Case Files. But, I need a snack and a nap on the way from Court TV down to this channel.
But one night, after I realized I had seen the currently airing reruns of Real Housewives of Orange County and E! News and there were no more Forensic Files / Cold Case / Arrest & Trial / Dominick Dunne / Murder By the Book / The Investigators / The First 48 / Dark Heart Iron Hands to be watched, I flipped dangerously low in the numbers.
Anyway, I’m in love. I tried to find an interview Don Cornelius did with Cheryl Lynn before she lip synched this performance, but they cut out the best part. If you know me, I’ll do it for you in person as you are no doubt aware of my uncanny ability to impersonate virtually anyone within seconds. And if you don’t have the pleasure of knowing me, nor have you heard me repeat this exchange non-stop for the past week, I’ll recant it for you:
Don Cornelius: Look at you. You’re a whole lotta woman.
Cheryl Lynn: I know, that’s my problem.
Don Cornelius: Yerrrrr. Soooooooooooooo. Beauuuuuuuuuutiful.
Me, screaming at the tellie: WHY DON’T YOU JUST RIP HER DRESS OFF AND FUCK HER DON? HUH?
So this is the best addition to my life since, well, Thora and Sammy. No one ask me to leave the house on Saturday night ever again!
Anyway, more Soul Train Clips.
One last one from the “Rimshots.” (Please, I’ve already done all the iterations in my disgusting little mind, no need to make your jokes.)
I too grew up with Soul Train and will now scramble to find this station in the menu.
Now I have the damn theme song in my head: Soul Train…SOUL TRAIN! Whoa whoa WHOA!
Do they still do the dance line and the unscrambling of letters! Yes!
i always wanted to be that soul train dancer with the realllly long hair…. i thought she was sooo groovin…
In those days, a performer had to come off well-dressed & polished. Today, the more you look like a crack dealer from Queens who can rap,the more they want you! Frankly, I’ll stick to watching L&O, House, How it’s Made and Stargate SG-1
Hammer – All I can do to help is tell you that it was channel 23 on my Comcast lineup, I don’t have digital or a box, or a dish or anything fancy. I’m not into t.v., just the true crime stuff. And your basic garden variety crap. The logo in the corner looks like a big CW or something.
MA – Now, Soul Train would be an example for me of CULTURE!
I66 – I’ve been trying to unscramble that for a few hours now…I’ve got nothing.
Blond – They really can dance on that show. I mean, REALLY dance. Not just move around without barely moving their feet. They are incredible.
Bill – You’re right. I’m actually really interested in this movement for African American culture as happening in the 70’s – just a few short years after segregation and riots and such – other milestones for the culture. Perhaps someone will chime in on that. It’s impressive that such a mark was made so shortly after the decades prior of trauma.
My favorite was Joe Tex singing “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More With No Big Fat Woman”.
Reason #1483 why I love you.
Peace. Love. And Soul. Yeah, ole Don sported a mean Afro back in the day. I’m laughing reading your comments, because everyone always says “the girl with the long hair.” I certainly thought of her that way. I found this on another site, and it had me laughing, because I had totally forgotten the scrabble board and Ultra Sheen ads…
When all the cast of characters left. Most talk about the Asian girl, but that’s some 80’s crap. The Queen of Soul train is not the Asian Girl, Not Jody Watley and not Rosie Perez. Props to them, but if you’re a REAL Soul Train head, the Queenn is DAMITA JO FREEMAN!!!. She was the main one to do the proverbial backing of “that thang up”, constantly “dropped it CAUSE it was hot”, and interacted with Joe Tex on “I Gotcha” as he chased her around the ST studio. Also, seeing LIVE performances: Al Green (not the performance from the movie “Crooklyn” with that big hat) but a good shot of him singing a “non-radio popular” song while wearing a sling on his arm LIVE w/BAND—and the one of all-time was Stevie Wonder LIVE, surrounded by 70’s ST dancers, playing nothing but a piano w/Don sitting next to him (Don wears a scarf around his neck like only HE can) and he sing to the world, “All the brotha and Sistas get together”, while everyone in the crowd sings along and the cameraman pans the whole crowd. Real ST heads remember that NO ONE WORE CLOTHES THAT MATCHED / THEY REALLY HAD TO FIGURE OUT THE SCRABBLE BOARD AND THE FAMOUS LINE…”All Soul Train Scrabble Board Contestants revceive a gift-pack of products, including ULTRA SHEEN…AFRO SHEEN…& ULTRA SHEEN COSMETICS!!!!! DATS THE SHEEEZZNIT!!! Dorian Gregory is “Mr. Surround Sound” (Loud as all outdoors). He’s too “nasal” for Soul Train. The Train is the epitome of cool, slick, right on, solid, sock it to me, LOVE PEACE & SOUL!!! Hip-hop, Dirty-Dirty??? NOT!!! The Train was the answer…NO PIMPS…NO HOES…NO KILLIN’…NO WACK STUFF…JUST RIDING ON A TRAIN FILLED WITH SOUL!!!
Thank God I wasn’t the only one enthralled by this discovery. I would blame it on the copious amounts of Nyquil and Tylenol Cold I’d ingested . . but you’re embracing it, so I shant give excuses.
Soul Train lives again.
Uff. Another thing that makes me feel my “foreignness”. I have no idea what you are talking about. And I keep up with pop culture, TV and shit. Will investigate, catch up and report back.
That was supposed to be “foreignerness”. Can’t even type. I should go to bed.
I really don’t know what happened! Is Gangsta’ really supposed to be a cultural ideal? I see what passes every day & there is NOTHING to recommend it! Folks running around like idiots, spouting rhyming nonsense that some idiot dreamed up about living with all the money,sex & power they want and what they would do to anyone else who wanted it.
The folks into this look at hardworking folks as Suckers (a la Goodfellas). Meanwhile, their own future is going right down the tube.
I think you’ll get sued by the NAACP for saying Soul Train clips “Rock.” The proper term is “Groooooooooooooove…baby.”
There’s a soul train in my pants, Velvet, and you get a free ticket!
Don’t your parents read this? How do they feel about being called G & D? Do you ever want to be 6 years old again and roll down the stairs in a sleeping bag?
Since I am NEVER awake at 2 AM, I will just have to tape it!
you are my hero.
we used to use laundry baskets when we were growing up. and they were wooden stairs, so less friction equalled faster “sledding.”
and re your previous post, google “Cake NYC.” i am a card carrying member.
Soul Train whipped Bandstand’s ass.
I can’t believe you were not up at 6 am like me to watch the likes of Ultra-Man, Bugs Bunny, Shazam!, Captain Caveman, etc. prior to Bandstand/ST.
I think Velvet got lost in Don Cornelius’ ‘fro.