Is this record worth a spin? Should I buy it? Will it add to or detract
from my credibility? Should I care?
I wish someone could break it down for me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Soul Train 1972

We present Soul Train 1972 in honor of Soul Train's founder and creative force Don Cornelius, who took his own life today at the age of 75. Don had his personal demons and was arrested on domestic abuse charges so I don't want to glorify him, but his contributions to music are undeniable. He gave black artists a platform, offering an opportunity for mainstream success that was largely unattainable to them in the past. The show was a cultural barometer as well, establishing clothing trends and igniting dance fads. Soul Train started as a pet project for Don in his native Chicago back in 1970 but the show moved to Hollywood a year later, where it lived out its duration. Soul Train was a weekly show, black culture's answer to American Bandstand, that showcased a who's who of soul, funk, and disco acts throughout its 35 year history. As the name implies, this collection features acts that appeared on the show in 1972. The disc opens with The Main Ingredients mid-tempo hit "Everybody Plays The Fool", who were notable for the smooth tenor vocals of Cuba Gooding, father of actor Cuba Gooding Jr. A laundry list of hits follow, "I'll Be Around" by Detroit's The Spinners, The Staple Singers rousing gospel-inflected "I'll Take You There", the silky AOR-friendly hit "Too Late To Turn Back Now" from Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose, the irrepressible Curtis Mayfield with the theme song from Superfly "Freddie's Dead",  Betty Wright's breakout hit "Clean Up Woman", a righteous romp with New Orleans R&B inspired swagger, and the Don Black penned hit from the Willard sequel Ben, a lullaby for killer rats performed by a young Michael Jackson. Every week Mr. Cornelius reassured his audience with his parting words, "I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace, and soul". We wish the same for him in eternal bliss.

Buy this record to commemorate people who made a difference, who opened doors of opportunity, and who had cool hair and a cooler name.


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