When I found out that episodes of “Soul Train” were being released on DVD, I damn near did backflips. The classic dance/performance show was a staple in my household for as long as I can remember. Even when they switched the show time from noon to 2 AM in 1982 or so, I was staying up past my bedtime and watching episodes. Before BET and before MTV started consistently playing videos by soul and rap artists, “Soul Train” was the ONLY place where you could see the latest R&B, funk, disco and hip-hop acts playing on TV. Time-Life has done right by “Soul Train”‘s fans by not only releasing an exhaustive 9-volume set featuring the show’s classic episodes from the 1970s, but also by releasing an abridged 3-DVD set containing the best of the best. I was lucky enough to get to review it for Eat Sleep Drink Music. You can check out the review here.
Most of these performances were ones I hadn’t seen before (considering the show was five years old before I was even born). My hope is that another box set arrives shortly featuring classic episodes from the late Seventies (since the majority of the featured performances on the DVD date from 1971-1975 or so) and Eighties.
One of my favorite performances on this set is an early one from Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Not only is Teddy Pendergrass’s lip-synching horrible, but check out those outfits!! I’m pretty sure that once TP became black America’s sex symbol, that footage of him wearing a bad perm and a purple getup with the belly out (and not a flat stomach) made him throw up a little in his mouth.