Saturday, April 29, 2006

Get on Board the Soul Train!

The Soul Train Gang - Soul Train Theme

In 1975, Don Cornelius decided to use his clout from his hit "Soul Train" show to get into the record business. Cornelius and partner Dick Griffey started the Soul Train label and formed the Soul Train Gang vocal group as their first act. (The name "Soul Train Gang" originally applied to the dancers on the show; they were renamed the "Soul Train Dancers.") Although "Soul Train '75" (which replaced "TSOP" as show's theme song) and some other songs made a little noise upon release, neither the group nor the label (which had also signed the Whispers and released one LP on Shalimar, a group formed around some "Soul Train" dancers) really took off, and by the end of the '70s Don Cornelius abandoned the venture. Dick Griffey renamed the label Solar (Sound of Los Angeles Records) and that label became an '80s hit machine, hitting big with Shalimar and the Whispers (maybe Don should've stayed around longer?), Lakeside and others.

Today's selection was the 1976 successor to "Soul Train '75" as the show's theme song. The mostly-instrumental track is a Philly disco romp featuring a solid rhythm, strong horn charts, and good ensemble singing by the group. It's one of my favorite non-"TSOP" theme songs to the show (along with "Hot Potato," the original theme). Get on, get on, get on, get on board!

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