Thursday, February 2, 2012

Don Cornelius, 1936-2012

"You sometimes overlook Soul Train's influence and that at one time Sly really was the shit."
-Gene O.

My Saturdays began so early, it was still Friday night to some. I couldn't wait for the weekend, so the excitement jolted me out of bed long before everyone else. I had little choice but to watch the crap cartoons like Colonel Three and Davey & Goliath before cool stuff like the Road Runner and Scooby-Doo came on. E-mail wasn't an option back then.

Saturday mornings were a ritual. And so was "Soul Train." Once I heard that theme music and the voice of Don Cornelius, I knew I had to get my ass in gear. If memory serves, "Soul Train" began at 11:30, and it was always on at my father's house. But by 11:30, I knew the gang was finishing breakfast and starting to assemble outside, on some block.  The sounds of "Soul Train" were my reminder that Saturday had officially begun.

Don Cornelius gave me my first real taste of the music I now love so much. The occasional 45 slipped in and out of my grubby little hands, thanks to cousins and Uncles and their hipper-than-most tastes in music. But without the "Soul Train," I would have arrived very late to the Al Green party. Or Luther Ingram. Or Barry White.

Sad news and a great loss.

It's hard to find a bad clip from "Soul Train." This one though, is stellar.
(h/t Gene O.)

(Drummer friends, that is Bill Lordon behind the kit. He went on to be part of Robin Trower's classic trio from 1973-1977.)


Anonymous said...

I, too, have saturday morning Soooouuuuul Train! memories. Big hair, outrageous clothes, funky dancing and cool tunes. RIP Mister Cornelius. Will watch the clip when I get home this evening.



Noam Sane said...

I'm with you, Sal. The antidote to Davey and Goliath and Jot.

For a dopey white kid living in an upstate New York backwater, Soul Train was like a broadcast from Mars.

There was a station on cable re-running old Soul Trains recently...may Don rest in peace, but he had to be one of the worst interviewers ever to hold a microphone.

Anonymous said...

Hey, what's wrong with Davey & Goliath? Seriously, Don was as cool as Dick Clark was un-cool.


Robin said...

Soul Train Saturdays. Fantabulous Mr. Cornelius. Fond memories. I have to confess I loved Bandstand too. Cool, uncool didn't on tv is what mattered to me.

Thanks for the Sly. Truly one of my all time favorite music men.

FD13NYC said...

I like the way he wore his shirt and tie, almost choking him. Maybe that's why his voice sounded like it did.

Anything Should Happen said...

I have never ever watched Soul Train, I'd always imagined it to be a sort of The Floaters inspired dance fest.

Seems I was wrong.

Then I've been pushing two songs from Pandora's Box on Facebook, so what do I know, I may never show my face again.

But they are ace honest and Todd Rundgren arranged the vocals, allright I'll get me coat.

buzzbabyjesus said...

The clip is double bad.
This time of year I watched Soul Train while recovering from hypothermia after surfing all morning. Now I have a strict rule about going in water colder than my age.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I kind of like the intro better than the song. What an entrance! That's show biz. As cool as Johnny Guitar Watson's clip of "Gangster Of Love".

Check it: