Monday, October 20, 2008

That's low

My daughter is young, so she doesn't understand why I say certain words in a really low voice.

Words like "soul train."

Sadly, there's some unfortunate news about Don Cornelius:

Don Cornelius, the former host of the television show "Soul Train," was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, police said Saturday.

Police were called to his Hollywood Hills home late Friday after someone reported a domestic dispute, Officer Sam Park said.

The 72-year-old producer was taken to jail, where he was booked for investigation of felony domestic violence, Park said. He was released on $50,000 bail and ordered to appear in court next month.

Sad, although it should be noted that someone is innocent until proven guilty.

And if anyone doubts the power of Soul Train, check this list of the musical guests on the first seven shows, taken from the Don Cornelius Productions website:

1. Gladys Knight & The Pips, Eddie Kendricks, The Honeycone, Bobby Hutton

2. Charles Wright & The Watts,103rd Street Band, Carla Thomas, General Crook

3. Chairman of the Board, Rufus Thomas, Laura Lee

4. Staple Singers, Freda Payne

5. Bill Withers, Al Green, Viola Wills

6. Lou Rawls, The 100 Proof, The Emotions

7. Martha & The Vandellas, Intruders, G.C. Cameron

And that was just the beginning.

By the way, about that theme song:

Most people think that our show adopted 'T.S.O.P.' as a theme song," said the tall, cool TV emcee. "But that's not the way it was. Actually, 'T.S.O.P.' was 'The Theme from Soul Train' at first. Only later was the name changed."

Don Cornelius, the creator, producer, and host of "Soul Train," did not start out to make his mark in music....

"It was Kenny [Gamble] who came up with the basic melody. We started the session with seven or eight notes and the rest evolved from the contributions of musicians, as musicians will do once they tune in on a particular groove. We laid a foundation that we all felt had some magic in it, and then Kenny, Leon Huff, and Bobby Martin did the bulk of the arranging.

"Several months went by before the song was released as a single. I was trying to hang on to it as an exclusive, which was a mistake. Finally, Kenny called me and said, "This doesn't make a lot of sense. When you have a record like this, Don, you have to put it out.' So I said, 'O.K. Put it out.' However, I wasn't satisfied that everything in our agreement was coming true. So I told him not to use 'Soul Train,' our service mark, on the record. Kenny then changed the title of the song to 'T.S.O.P.,' meaning 'The Sound of Philadelphia.' "

MFSB stood for "Mother Father Sister Brother" -- not a family band, but rather a group of thirty-four resident studio musicians at Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studios. Their ages ranged from 26 to 73, and they had played on dozens of hit records over the years. Twenty-eight contributed to "T.S.O.P.," including Kenny Gamble (keyboards), Norman Harris (guitar), Roland Harris (guitar), Ron Kersey (guitar), Bobby Eli (bass), Ronnie Baker (bass), Zack Zacherly (sax), Lenny Pakula (organ), Vince Montana (vibes), Larry Washington (percussion), Earl Young (drums), and Don Renaldo (contractor for strings, reeds, and horns).

"T.S.O.P." was introduced as the "Soul Train" theme in November 1973. The single version broke nationally in March 1974, reaching number one in April. It spent eighteen weeks on the charts, and won a Grammy as the "Best R&B Instrumental Performance of the Year."
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