Today's BitchTapes is a tribute to Soul Train, which saw its syndicated debut on October 2, 1971. As we look back, 38 years later, on this legacy of funk, we see the show did more than open the ears of its fans to the smooth, soul-hits of so many black artists of the time. Soul Train acted as a cultural bridge. For viewers it was THE place to go for clues on the newest fashion and the hottest dance moves. As well as being a hub of style, Soul Train also boasted substance. The Soul Train Scramble was a mini-lesson in African-American history. Once the puzzle had been solved, host Don Cornelius would place the person who had been the answer to the scramble in context, ending the homage with a motto, "…whose name you should know…"
In addition to these history lessons, Soul Train began to broadcast the Soul Train Music Awards in 1987. The awards grew so popular that a spin-off ceremony emerged in 1995, The Lady of Soul Awards. The shows are notable for their attempts to honor performers that have paved the way for modern R&B, funk and Hip-Hop, while also celebrating modern performers who have carried on and modernized those traditions.
And check it! After a 2-year hiatus, the Soul Train Awards will be back this year, November 29 on Centric—a channel jointly owned by BET and MTV.
Peace, Love and Soul Mix: the breakdown…
The O'Jays – Love Train-
Seemed ridiculous not to start the mix with this track, which, though not the theme song, certainly prepares listeners to "join the train."
Aretha Franklin – Rock Steady – Couldn't make a mix celebrating soul sisters of the '70s without Aretha. Gather your friends, get ready to make your own Soul Train Line and get dancing.
Earth, Wind & Fire – September – Always reminds me of my birthday and dancing through crunchy leaves. For anther great EWF Soul Train hit, find yourself a track of "Mighty Mighty."
The Staple Sisters – Respect Yourself-- The gospel roots and loud pipes of this sister act bring serious power to this particular track, inspired by what they saw as women's role in the civil rights movement.
The Five Stairsteps -- O-O-H Child
- I always think about our President when I hear this song, and what he's asking us to believe in for the future. The live performance on SoulTrain's YouTube channel is 3:23 of your time well spent. Their costumes rival the creativity of the Village People (Halloween is coming up!) and you've got to love the way they trade off singing each verse. Each Stairstep takes you somewhere new…
Gladys Knight and the Pips – Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight. At midnight. Enough said.
Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive – For everyone who's loved, lost or has already rocked the Cake cover of this song sooo hard, get on your dancing pants, break out the disco ball and don't be afraid to try to hit the high notes.
Chaka Khan & Rufus – Tell Me Something Good – A solid way to end the mix. Velvet and silk, iced coffee and foamy mocha…
…Tell me that you like it…