Soul Train Playlist 1

In the Music section of Comcast On Demand, there is a selection called Soul Train Playlist #1. Here is the description: A medley of great performances including The Staple Singers, Freda Payne, The Chi-Lites, Joe Tex, Wilson Pickett, War, Ike & Tina Turner, Joe Simon, The Stylistics and Lou Rawls.

I put my thoughts about it on Friendfeed as I was watching it, so I decided to also share it on my blog.

Respect Yourself by The Staple Singers. I don’t think a group headed by a senior citizen would be very popular nowadays. Nope, not at all.

Band Of Gold by Freda Payne. Her lip synching was really bad compared to the Staple Singers, but that’s OK because even with the huge hair, she is really cute. If they ever do a biopic of her in the next few years and don’t get Thandie Newton, the producers are dumb.

Have You Seen Her by The Chi-Lites. This song means early 70s to me. Sort of how California Dreaming means late 60s. The Afros bigger than the rest of the head is a bit distracting, even though I’m pretty sure I had one like that as a kid.

They were really smart and put a commercial for the Best of Soul Train DVD set on the show. They are talking directly to their audience.

I Gotcha by Joe Tex. I had never seen him before. He has the worst lip synching so far. The director has to rely on wide shots or with the camera behind him. The microphone isn’t anywhere near his mouth at times. This is wonderfully bad.

Fire and Water by Wilson Pickett. He has a full band behind him and I am almost positive they are playing live and he isn’t lip-synching. The dancers are going crazy during this song.

Slipping Into Darkness by War. Again, this is a full band and they are playing live. I wonder if the policy was bands get to play, while singers have to synch. Side note, the harmonica player is the first white person on the show so far.

Proud Mary by Ike & Tina Turner. This is definitely live. Damn, she was hot. And he may have been a drug-addled wife beater, but Ike had stage presence.

Power of Love by Joe Simon. I was never a big fan of this song. Joe is lip-synching and isn’t do much beyond that. He’s just standing there slowly swaying and singing. At least Joe Tex was jumping around and acting like a fool. Easily my least favorite part of the show so far.

From Now On by Lou Rawls. I’m not sure if he is lip synching or not but probably because the director isn’t going in tight on his face. He is ‘dancing’ only a little more than Joe Simon did in his segment, but this is Lou Rawls and he is making it work. This makes me even more disappointed in the Joe Simon segment.

You Make Me Feel Brand New by The Stylistics. I’m not sure why Comcast switched Lou Rawls and The Stylistics in their description, but I’m just glad we didn’t get rooked out of seeing them. I love this song and I’m pretty sure they are singing. The camera is spending a lot of time right on the faces of Airron Love and Russell Thompkins Jr. so if they are lip-synching, they are doing an excellent job.

Overall, it was a good way to spend 44 minutes on a slow Saturday afternoon.  9/10 is a great score. The only thing I would have gotten rid of would have been the Joe Simon section and replaced it with Barry White, but that’s just me.

The Song That Made Me A Johnny Cash Fan

Most people who know me know that I am a big Johnny Cash fan. I prefer his older more rockabilly stuff but it is all good to me. However, the song that made me a Johnny Cash fan is NOT one of his songs, but rather a song by a band from New York called The Dancing Hoods. The band never got the attention I think they deserved as they are known mostly for being the first band of Mark Linkous, who gained a lot more fame for the band Sparklehorse.

The first song from their debut album ‘12 Jealous Roses’ is called ‘Pleasure’. The first two times the chorus was sung, it included the phrase “I smash my own bones just to hear them crack…”, which I thought was a great line.  However, on the third go around, that part of the chorus changed to “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die…” This was definitely a bit of a departure and I had never heard that line before.

Years later I found out the “shot a man in Reno” line came from ’Folsom Prison Blues’, and was written by Johnny Cash. When he was writing the song, he was trying to think of the worst possible reason for one person to kill another and just to watch someone else die was pretty much it.

I sought out a copy of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and I liked it. In fact, I liked it so much I bought the three CD set, ‘The Essential Johnny Cash (1955-1983)’, which quickly became one of my favorite collections of music. I compare all other country artists to Johnny Cash and if they don’t come close to his sound, then I don’t like them. Needless to say, I haven’t liked much country music that has come out since 1983 and I don’t feel bad about it at all.

While I am a huge fan of the earlier Johnny stuff, I respect what Rick Rubin brought to the table with the ‘American Recordings’. I know that ‘Hurt’ was the big hit of those sessions, but my favorite song of Older Johnny was ‘Ain’t No Grave’, which is Johnny Cash’s final studio recording and the music behind The Johnny Cash Project.

Here is Pleasure by The Dancing Hoods:

Here is Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash:

And here is Ain’t No Grave by Johnny Cash:

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