High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cool Cornelius and the Gang

 I'm Shady Del Knight 

 and I've got proof 

 that old school COOL! 


It's time to take a ride on the Soul Train,
the hippest trip in America! Spike Lee
described the long running syndicated
program as an "urban music time capsule."
The late, great Don Cornelius was the
creator, executive producer and host
of Soul Train. In honor of Don's birthday
this week, let's imagine what it would be
like if Don dropped in as my guest blogger.

Sit back and enjoy

Get up offa dat thang and dance

as I do my best imitation of Don,
introducing soul, disco and funk hits
using words and phrases that he
might have used during the show's 
35 years on the air (1971 to 2006). 
Be sure to check out the changing hair 
and clothing styles as you witness the
toughest terpsichore on the tube, the 
dance moves of the Soul Train gang.

Of all the recording artists Don introduced on
Soul Train, the O'Jays seemed to be his favorites.
Don became especially animated and had a twinkle
in his eye whenever the Philadelphia International
stars were in the house. Don was fond of saying,
"We got another sound comin' out of Philly that's
a sho 'nough dilly," and that's reason enough to
start our Soul Train party with the O'Jays.

Let's get some hands together, gang, 
and give a warm SDM&M welcome to
my special guest, the one and only

Mr. Don.....CORNELIUS!

"Love Train" - The O'Jays 
(December 1972)

This young lady from the nation's capital has a hit on her hands with an update of Eddie Floyd's signature song of the 60s. The Soul Train Line hits the floor as Amii Stewart knocks on wood!

"Knock On Wood" - Amii Stewart 
(April 1979)

Jazz dazz, disco jazz.
The Soul Train dancers are lined up
for the Dazz Band and a little thing
called Let it whip!

"Let It Whip" - The Dazz Band 
(February 1982)

The Big Apple is home to this talented,
up-and-coming funk group. The Soul Train gang is right on track and right on time with a dance line to word up with Cameo!

"Word Up" - Cameo 
(June 1986)

Rain or shine we're ridin'
on the Soul Train line with
the funkmeister himself,
Mister Rick James!

"Give it To Me - Baby" - Rick James 
(March 1981)


"Jungle Boogie" - Kool and the Gang 
(February 1974)

The Soul Train gang is
gettin' in line 
for Mister 
Leon Haywood who says
"Don't push it, don't force it!"

"Don't Push it Don't Force It" 
Leon Haywood 
(March 1980)

That's the sound of the men
workin' on the Train gang
and it's "Torture" with
The Jacksons!

"Torture" - The Jacksons 
(October 1984)

This young man emerged from his group
of Gary, Indiana soul brothers, the Jackson Five and, in a few short years, catapulted to super stardom. The Soul Train gang puts it all on the line for Michael Jackson!

"Beat It" - Michael Jackson 
(March 1983)

That does it for this edition of Soul Train. Well do it all over again next time... and you can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey. I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love...peace...and soul!

 Thanks, Don! 

 I'll be back soon 

 with more proof 

 that old school COOL! 

Have a Shady day!


  1. I knew EVERY ONE of the songs today! What a fun trip into the memory banks today, my friend! It was so nice to see people (guys) dancing without the tops of their pants at their knees, too.

    I remember watching Soul Train and being entranced not only by the music, but by the dancing. In fact, hearing Knock On Wood made me think of an incident that happened in Paris in a club with that song playing...I may have to write a blog post about it!

    I am headed out of state and won't be back for about 9 days, so I will catch up on any posts I miss when I get back. Thank you, as always, for a superior music line up this morning!

    1. Hi, dear Shelly! It's exciting to learn that you got a perfect 100% score on this one and that Soul Train was your thang back in the day. I watched Soul Train regularly during the 70s and early 80s. You could always count on the Soul Train Line to bring you the latest, hippest, fresh off the street dance moves, clothing and hair styles.

      You have a story to tell about an incident in a Paris nightclub? I didn't realize you were an international jet setter! :) I'm going to keep reminding you until you break down and blog all about it. (Think I better knock on wood.)

      Thanks for giving me a heads up about your 9 day trip out of state. (That club in Paris again? :) I know you spend a lot of time on the run and you always do a superb job of showing up for your friends. I have a new post hitting this Friday but you should be able to catch the tail end of its run when you get back.

      Thank you very much for getting into the groove with me on a Sunday morning, dear friend Shelly. Stay safe in your travels!

  2. Now you're in my era, Shady! Dat funky, disco sound was "off da hook"! That bitch'n music and especially those lined dance boogies were da bomb! When I was young, I use to watch Soul Train to "get down" and pick up the latest dance craze and fashion chic. I sho do miss Don C, may he rest in peace. But Shady, you do a Dyno-mite imitation!!!
    Toni Deroche

    1. Hi, Toni! With all that cool lingo of yours, you could have written the Don Cornelius intros! (LOL) Well, I'm really jazzed knowing that both you and Shelly could relate so well to this post. I'm pretty sure you and she are the same age which might explain why.

      It's so true that the Soul Train gang was the leading authority coast-2-coast on what looked and sounded cool and Mr. C was the coolest host of any music/dance program. They'll never have that recipe again!

      Thanks a billion (with a B), dear friend Toni, for looking, listening, dancing and commenting. I always appreciate your visits. Have a safe and happy Sunday and a fabulous week ahead!

  3. I think Soul Train was on when I was very little but Cameo from 1986 oh yes that's one I remember as a teenager. have a good day.

    1. Hi, Amy! Soul Train will probably go on running forever in syndication and it is, as Spike Lee suggested, "an urban music time capsule." Cameo's powerful, dynamic video for "Word Up!" had a profound impact on me. It hit during the time I worked at an MTV style television station which ran music videos 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was a very exciting time. Urban influenced club dance music was exploding in popularity thanks to the Jacksons, Rick James and other acts in this post. I had a sizable collection of 12 inch dance singles and did some freelance DJ work at parties.

      Thank you very much for coming, dear friend Amy, and enjoy your Monday in New Zealand!

  4. I'm Thisisme, and I'm Shady's number one fan, and he's pretty cool let me tell you!! Do you usually post on a Sunday?? Oooo, get Miss Shelly today, claiming that she scored 100% here today. I'm afraid that I'm down at the bottom of the class again today (Boo!), but I did enjoy bopping to the tunes anyway. Oh well, you can't win them all! I have smiled at your comments on my last two posts! (Especially the thought of you sitting there in your glittery dress!!! Enough said). Have a lovely week over there in downtown Floriday. Smooches and double smooches!

    1. Hallo, dear Thisisme! I caution you, dear friend, that no day of the week is safe from Shady. I could spring a new post on you at any time so watch your back! (LOL)

      I'm very sorry to learn that you didn't score well on today's music survey. Before you don the dunce cap again, let me offer some words of encouragement from Ol' Blue Eyes himself:

      That's life (that's life),
      that's what all the people say
      You're ridin' high in April, shot down in May
      But I know I'm gonna change that tune
      When I'm back on top, back on top in June

      I'm so glad I could bring a smile to your pretty face with my comments on your posts, dear friend Thisisme. I hope you're enjoying fine health these days. Thank you very much for coming to visit and SMOOCHES SMOOCHES SMOOCHES right back at you!

  5. Well Shady, if I can get thru this post with a comment off to you, I'll feel pretty good! This was amazing, just loved the videos and songs! I did watch Soul Train, and loved Don Cornelius! You know, Soul Train is where I first encountered Rick James, and I loved him! He was a stinker, but did have a certain charming charisma about him. I still enjoy hearing his songs-'Super Freak', haha!

    OMG!!! 'Word Up' too can just get totally lost in your own rhythm to that song. I didn't know who performed it...or even any of the words, just don't play it while I'm around-I'll be up and grabbing for a partner, love it!!!

    A great post, Shady. Really like watching the videos, the cool dancers, and they're wardrobes. Those were the days.

    By the way, I didn't miss your Ray Milland post, but, Google Chrome wiped out my comment to you, and I couldn't get back to it. He was one of the greats, I remember 'The Man With the Xray Eyes'. Milland was good in his roles.
    I'm already running behind on my blogging, today, I'm blogging via Yahoo, and hope it goes through.

    Hope you have a great week, I'm working on a couple of posts for my blogs, just have so much going on right now. But, I'm trying to keep up with my blog reading. Oh, I also liked 'Let It Whip'. These were great!

    See you soon, 'His Shadiness'! ♫

    1. Hello and welcome, dear Suzanne! I'm so relieved to see you. I was starting to think you unfriended me! :)

      Old business: Thanks for the comment about my previous post. I'm glad you didn't miss it. It's never too late to be great and you certainly are!

      New business: I'm delighted to know that you were riding on the groove line today with the Soul Train gang and these danceworthy ditties. I think Don Cornelius loved the O'Jays in particular because Don was old school and the Jays' career stemmed way back to the doo-wop era of the early 60s. I read that as the 1980s progressed, Don became increasingly disenchanted with modern trends in urban music, rap in particular, and was reluctant to include it on his show.

      Thanks for mentioning the Dazz Band, Cameo and Rick James. They were all favorites of mine and their videos played heavily at my MTV style station, including "Super Freak."

      Thank you so very much for finding a way to get to my door, dear friend Suzanne. Stay well and have a terrific week ahead!

  6. Holy fractured ankles and slipped disks Batman! The dancing was a great way! I loved how the 'fros got smaller and the heels got higher and the outfits got skimpier as time went on. Even my hubby had a 'fro in the seventies..44in. around!! Nothing like a very tall, skinny, white dude sporting a look like that across campus! I didn't know him then but I did know Soul Train and even the songs! As always...a great fun ride on this train today!

    1. Oh, well, I'm... (UHH!)
      Sittin' here in La-La,
      Waitin' for my YaYa (ohh, ohh)
      Sittin' here in La-La,
      Waitin' for my YaYa (ohh, ohh)
      It may sound funny
      But I don't believe she's comin' (ohh, ohh)

      Hello hello hello, dear YaYa! Welcome to my Soul Train salute! What strikes me about watching these vintage clips is not only how much the clothing and dance styles changed over the years. You also notice a shift in the attitude of the dancers that corresponds to the 'tude of the music itself. Over time the dance moves turned into elaborate pieces of choreography even though they lasted only a few seconds until the camera switched to the next couple coming down the line.

      I can't imagine your Jack sporting a blown out 'fro hairdo! I can picture Eddy with one, but not Jack! (LOL)

      As always it's great fun having you here, dear friend YaYa. Thank you for coming and have an excellent week ahead!

  7. Hi Tom...back for quick hello and to let you know I immensely enjoyed today's post! I have to say after watching all the videos...Miley Cyrus does not TWERK as well as they did on Soul Train! What fun to hear and see those golden oldies. SOOOOUUUULLLLL TRAINNNNNNN!!! Hugs~

    1. My goodness, hello and welcome back, Sush! I'm thrilled to see you here again dear friend! How have you been?

      That darn Miley Cyrus. What could she be thinking? I supposed Miley has a tough life. She has to get up early every morning and go twerk. :) To paraphrase Donna Summer, "she twerks hard for the money." :)

      Well, it's just as I told Suzanne in my reply to her comment. Even Don Cornelius himself was put off by the type of music and suggestive dancing that evolved during the rap/hip hop 80s. Maybe after seeing Miley's "Wrecking Ball" video, fans will say enough is enough and the pendulum (not the wrecking ball) will swing back the other way toward sweet, innocent and wholesome.

      Dear friend, I am so pleased to see you. Thank you very much for stopping by. Take good care of yourself and your family, Sush, and come back and see ol' Shady again soon. Okay?

  8. This is my kind of music Tom! Cameo Word Up and Rick James always make an appearance when we're having a party. Great dancing music! I hope you're having a great week, I'm off work until next Wednesday and unfortunately I've been sick since last Friday but I'm now getting better and looking forward to enjoying the rest of my time off.

    Emma x

    1. Hi, Emma! I'm very sorry to learn that you're sick. It's probably that changeable Irish weather of yours, right?

      It's exciting to know that you dance to Eighties urban club music like that of Cameo and Rick James. I was a bachelor during the entire decade, hung out in nightclubs and danced to all the tracks in this post.

      Thank you very much for visiting, dear friend Emma. I hope you feel 100% by the time you wake up tomorrow so that you can enjoy your weekend to the fullest. Take care!

  9. In the mid to late 60s, while in college, I played a basketball game at Lincoln University. After the game, as a courtesy, the team was invited to a post game dance where I was introduced to the bump and grind in the slow vein and many of the dance steps later seen on "Soul Train". I guess this was part of the "dance" gestation period prior to being introduced to a national audience.

    1. Hello, Bob! What a cool anecdote! That's the school in Oxford, Chester County, correct? I wish I'd been a fly on the wall at Lincoln the night you got an education in modern dance from the Afro American student population. The only experience I had to compare was at the Shady Dell where white kids immersed themselves in black music and kept up with the latest dances. A good number of black recordings and dances originated in the Philadelphia area.

      Thank you very much for sharing your memories with us, Bob. I invite you to return tomorrow or in the days ahead and let me know what you think of my next post which focuses on a clean cut lad we all remember well -Wallace Cleaver (Theodore's brother). Have a nice evening, Bob!

  10. Great fun on this post, Shady! Ahh, the 70s and early 80s... The clothes and the hair were great, and the dancing was awesome. Good times...

    1. Hi, karen! I'm so glad you made it here before this post dropped off the front page. I figured you'd know and like some of these dance relics. Yessum, these videos take us from the 70s thru the mid 80s and you can observe the changes in clothing and hair styles, dance moves and 'tudes. Soul Train was the vehicle that brought you the latest and the greatest right off the city street.

      Thank you very much for shooting over for a visit, dear friend karen. Now stay tuned for the adventures of Wallace Cleaver and his cohorts!

  11. Loved this post too! It was great fun watching the dancing and loved the music also. 'Beat It' is one of the best songs ever, but especially enjoyed the first four songs. The dancing was incredible - I love to watch people enjoying music and moving to it. Love and hugs.

    1. Thanks a million for coming over, dear Belle!

      The Soul Train gang mastered all the latest dance moves coming off the street and interpreted urban music better than any other dancers on any other TV program. I'm glad you enjoyed sampling their performances through the years.

      I've been thinking about you, dear friend Belle, and I hope you feel better soon!


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