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, March 18, 2018

Shady Train - Ep. 6: On The Beat!


Shady Train...

the hippest trip in America!

60 nonstop minutes across the

tracks of your mind into the

exciting world of Soul!

And now, here's your host...

Don Cornelius!

Hi there and welcome back in. You're right on time for another hip trip on the Shady Express. Don't need money. Don't take fame. Don't need no credit card to ride this train, so climb aboard!

Our first guest is a lovely and talented young singer who
has rocketed to fame with a song penned by the legendary writing and producing team of Holland–Dozier–Holland formerly of Motown. Released on the Invictus label, the
single made the top 3 on the U.S. chart and is currently
the #1 record in England. As she joins us to do her
international smash hit "Band Of Gold," a great
welcome please, gang, for Miss- Freda Payne!"

"Band Of Gold" - Freda Payne
(June/July 1970, highest chart pos.
#3 Hot 100/#2 Cash Box/#1 UK)

In this business there are times when superlatives are overused. There are other times when they must be used. Such is the case with our next guests, a group that helped transform the Motown Sound in the early 70s. They are here to do their classic 1971 hit "Smiling Faces Sometimes," and to deliver what some would call the performance of a lifetime nearly 40 years after the single first charted. Featuring original lead singer and R&B Hall of Famer Joe "Pep" Harris and new members Jaki G Fondren and DaZee Luv on alternate lead and background vocals, this is-- The Undisputed Truth!

"Smiling Faces Sometimes"
 The Undisputed Truth
(Aug./Sept. 1971, highest chart
pos. #3 Hot 100/#1 Cash Box

And we got a sound comin' out of Philly that's a sure 'nough dilly." It's the latest single on Philadelphia International by our good friends, a veteran group that we are always happy to welcome aboard. They are the Mightly O-Jays and this is biggin' everybody's diggin' all over the world-- "Love Train!"

"Love Train" - The O'Jays
(Feb./Mar. 1973, highest
chart pos. #1 Hot 100/#1 R&B)

Earlier in the show you met an extraordinary canary by the name of Freda Payne, and speaking of extraordinary canaries, we just happen to have three more. Their string of three consecutive gold records began with an ad in an imaginary newspaper for a "young man - single - and free. Experience preferred but will accept a young trainee." Give it up please, gang, for the fabulous-- Honey Cone!

"Want Ads" - The Honey Cone
(May/June 1971, highest chart pos.
#1 Hot 100/#1 Cash Box/#1 R&B)

AT 1:24 MARK!

And from Boston Mass comes another talented trio and they too have a hit on their hands. As they join us to do their hot new single on the RCA label entitled "All of Me for All of You," a warm welcome please, ladies & gentlemen, for-- 9.9!

"All of Me for All of You" - 9.9
(August/September 1985,
highest  chart pos. #5 R&B)

And look out now, it's the Shady Train dancers... the Shady Train gang. They're gonna style awhile, getting busy to the funky sound of Atlantis. This one's called-- "Keep On Movin' And Groovin'!"

"Keep On Movin' And Groovin'"
Atlantis (1982 single)


We are delighted to have aboard the big train a New York City band created by Jacques Fred Petrus, the French-Italian producer and Euro disco pioneer responsible for Change, the group that at one time featured Luther Vandross. They are here to do their debut single on the Capitol label entitled "On The Beat," a record that is making waves not only in America but across the pond in the UK. Members of this exciting outfit hail from Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, and so it should come as no surprise they call themselves-- The B.B. & Q. Band!

"On the Beat" - The B.B. & Q. Band
(Aug. 1981, highest chart pos.
#8 R&B/#3 U.S. Dance/#41 UK)

AT 1:00 MARK!

That oughta hold you for a while. We'll open another six pack again next time and throw in an extra cool one for good measure, 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!


  1. Hmmm, friend Shady ... ya ... me just came back from a week in Mexico ... and successfully entered snow country again ... and in other news ... son Paul and lovely dil Leanne's 6th wedding anniversary today ... they are travelling North America for a year ad you may or may not know ... @paulleanneandavan ... anyway, wishin U a very happy St Paddies' Day ... Love always, cat.

    1. ... while in Mexico, I tried to walk on the shady side of the road and I always thought of you when doing so ... smiles ... meow ...

    2. Hi, cat!

      How have you been, dear friend? I remember you telling us you were "going fishing." I'm happy to learn that you have safely returned to your home in the Great White North. I missed you. Thank you for coming down to ride the Shady Train!

      Happy 6th anniversary to your son and his wife! I hope they are enjoying their journey across North America. It's good to know you thought about old Shady during your stay in Mexico. :)

      Thanks again for being the early bird this week, dear friend cat. Have a great week... and remember:

      Can't you hear a pitter-pat, babe?
      And that happy tune is your step
      Life can be so sweet
      On the Shady side of the street

  2. Band of Gold, Love Train, Want Ads.... some mighty good stuff here this time, Shady! I'm groovin'! :D

    I don't remember The Undisputed Truth and that's an excellent video!

    1. Hi, Kelly!

      Thank you very much for coming over to ride the big train today, dear friend!

      I agree with you that this episode of Shady Train boasts an especially fine lineup of talent and some nicely restored rare vintage clips. That particular performance by Freda Payne in the early years of Soul Train is a gem because there are a few other clips of that appearance on YouTube but none that offer good strong audio along with bright clear video. That performance by Undisputed Truth is outstanding, a classic. Honey Cone and The O'Jays also gave us their best. 9.9 is a girl trio that I discovered a year ago when this hit of theirs, "All of Me," turned up on a various artists CD that I bought.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Kelly. Thank you again for coming, dear friend, and have a great week!

  3. Gosh, I made it same day Susan, Shady! And, what a dance inspiring post! "Smiling Faces" is such a cool song with its ups and downs of ranges and voices! It rings much truth about life, doesn't it! Great video, too!

    "Want Ads" is a cute song. And it was pretty popular. You can easily identify with this song and dance off your troubles at the same time, lol!

    "Band of Gold"! Wow, a really good song, but, for the life of me Shady, I can't figure the whole story out! They get married, but sleep in separate rooms...that leaves the door open for all kinds of scenarios! She clearly loves him, but what is his story?

    And, who doesn't love the O'Jays and "Love Train"? This is a classic that would get my grandmother up and shuffling (well, I may be exaggerating a bit, lol). But the song invites all who is listening to join in with song and dance! Great vocals and instrumentals!

    And I always love seeing the Shady Train dancers! Some of the moves today are a bit risky, but, oh well-great clothes and fun smiles on this group!

    You sure offered it up today, Shady with this combo of R&B, Soul, and I detected some Disco. We all had a reason to move with this groove, and I loved it!

    Gotta get that Scootie back to school tomorrow from his lazy Spring Break. We didn't do much, but I'm getting some much needed things done around the house. There have been a few setbacks, but we'll just overlook and carry on.

    Hope you had a nice St. Patrick's day, it was nice and quiet here, and I made an Irish Beef Dinner with cabbage that even Scootie enjoyed! Thank you for the fun post, Shady. You and Don make a great team! Have a wonderful week! ♫

    1. Hi, Suzanne!

      Thank you very much for coming over on a Sunday, dear friend! I am happy to have you aboard the Shady Train as it makes its sixth hip trip across your mind into the exciting world of soul.

      I'm delighted that you enjoyed some of these musical selections, Suzanne. I'm especially glad you asked about the song meaning of "Band Of Gold," Freda Payne's biggest career hit. As I was putting this post together, I did some reading about the song and learned that Freda herself was confused by the lyrics and reluctant to even learn them. At one point she remarked "this makes no sense to me." Wiki revealed various schools of thought regarding the meaning of the song: << Controversial allusions to the husband either being impotent or gay have been suggested as the cause of the breakdown of the relationship. Steve Huey's article on deciphers the song as being about the man being impotent - "being unable to perform" >> However, upon examining some lyrics that were originally recorded but edited out of the 7" single, a different scenario seems more likely. The Wiki article goes on to explain this alternate story line: << The couple were young, the girl was either a virgin or sexually inexperienced. She was still living at home ("You took me from the shelter of my mother"), the boy was her first boyfriend ("I had never known or loved any other"), and the relationship was probably unconsummated ("and love me like you tried before".) The couple rush into marriage and the relationship crashes on the wedding night, when the woman rejects her groom's advance ("And the night I turned you away" - an allusion that she was frigid), emotionally wounding him, resulting in him leaving her. After the hurt she had caused, they spend their wedding night in separate rooms. She then expresses her regret at her mistake ("And the dream of what love could be, if you were still here with me"). >>

      Interesting stuff, isn't it? It's amazing to me how an artist can be reluctant to record a song on the grounds that it is silly and bound to fail only to have it go on to become their biggest hit, an international smash. I'm sure that kind of thing has happened many times throughout rock 'n' roll history. You can never predict with certainly which records will catch on with record buyers and which ones will not.

      Hey, I smelled your cabbage cooking way over here across the Gulf! :) I'm happy to know you had a peaceful St. Paddy's Day. So did we, thank goodness. I can tell you are feeling better than you were a couple weeks ago. For that I am also thankful. I hope Scootie enjoyed his time off and will do well in the final months of the school year.

      I pubbed this post today because I needed to "back time" it from a time sensitive event coming up one week from today. I invite you to join me next Sunday here on SDMM as I observe another very important date on the calendar.

      Thank you again, dear friend Suzanne, and have a wonderful week ahead!

  4. Love "Band of Gold." Always assumed it was a Motown song. Holland–Dozier–Holland must have taken that sound with them when they left.

    I remember at their sanity march on Washington some years ago, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert did a battle of "train" songs. I can't remember who had which, but one sang Cat Stevens "Peace Train" and the other sang Ozzy's "Crazy Train". They eventually compromised and sang a duet of "Love Train". Good compromise, I'd say.

    1. Hi, Kirk!

      How are you this weekend, good buddy? Thanks a lot for swinging by to ride the big train!

      I love that early Soul Train performance by Freda Payne. Freda looked sensational and had all the right moves as she sang (lip synced) her nebulous, some say controversial, signature song. I've seen clips of her performing "Band Of Gold" on other shows, but this one is the best by far, in my opinion.

      "Peace Train" and "Crazy Train"? Now that's what I call a jarring juxtaposition. :) It's a good thing they compromised and sang "Love Train." The O'Jays hit remains one of the catchiest and most inspiring songs I ever heard. "Love Train" was used as an "anchor song" in the Tony Robbins style motivational seminar program with which I was involved in the 80s. It was also used to very cool effect in the closing credits of my second favorite film of all time, The Last Days Of Disco. Go Chloe!:

      Thanks again for joining the fun, good buddy Kirk, and have a great week ahead!

  5. Hi Shady!

    Wow! Some killer oldies here, and the dancers - well, that's how it was done ;-)

    1. Hi, diedre!

      I am very happy to see you, dear friend. Thanks for coming by!

      Yessum, I am especially proud of how this Shady Train lineup came together. The post starts out with a string of brilliantly restored videos of hits from the early 70s, the first few years that Soul Train was on the air, and finishes with some great 80s material by 9.9, Atlantis and the B.B. & Q. Band - artists and recordings that were unknown to me until I got them on various artists CDs in the last year or so.

      I'm glad you enjoyed watching the Soul Train gang in action.

      Thanks again for riding the train, dear friend diedre, and have a wonderful week!

  6. Tom,

    What a wonderful discovery to see Soul Train extraordinaire, Don Cornelius hosting another edition. "Band of Gold" I always thought Diana Ross and the Supremes did but I often remember things wrong. :)

    I'm not a 100% sure but I believe I recall The Temptation's original "Smiling Faces Sometimes" instead of the cover by The Undisputed Truth.

    Did I ever tell you that I met Nathan Best of the O'Jays many years ago? He was, I don't know if he still is but at the time he was a minister of local church. DD#1 tried out for a singing competition and that's how we came to meet him. He was super nice!

    "Want Ads" was The Honey Cone's biggest hit, wasn't it? I'm not sure if I know any of their other tunes. I'm gonna have to check them out. The singer with the pony tails has such a sweet voice.

    Your selections from the 80s are introductions. I think by this time I was too busy with college and then career with little time to watch Soul Train. I think possibly the radio station I listened to most didn't air these tunes or if they did they somehow missed my ears.

    Fabulous boogie session to some old classic Motown hits to get me going this week. Thanks for checking out my A2Z Theme Reveal yesterday, my friend and hopefully when you get a moment you'll hit the dance floor with me! Have an pawsome week!

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Thank you for popping over to ride the train, dear friend!

      Wow, your colossal comment has me doing my homework to make sure I answer correctly. It turned into a game of Six Degrees! :)

      You were just a tiny tot when Freda Payne released her monster hit and signature song. I don't know if Diana Ross ever recorded "Band Of Gold," but I was able to determine that a version of the song was indeed recorded by a more recent iteration of The Supremes. It was waxed by a trio group called FLOS (Former Ladies of the Supremes). Here's where the game of Six Degrees comes in. One of the members of FLOS is Scherrie Payne, younger sister of Freda Payne. In the mid 70s Scherrie was co-lead singer of The Supremes and in the mid 80s joined FLOS, a trio that now consists of Scherrie Payne, Lynda Laurence and Joyce Wilson. FLOS recorded this updated dance version of "Band Of Gold" in 2013 for their album Supremely Yours II:

      Like you I never heard the Temptations' original version of "Smiling Faces." It's a track on the group's 1971 album Sky's The Limit which I did not buy. Eddie Kendricks and Dennis Edwards are co-lead singers on the song and the running time is very long - almost 13 minutes!

      I think I remember you telling me that you met Nathan aka Nathaniel Best. I was not familiar with Best and needed to look him up. I found out that he was a replacement singer who joined the O'Jays later in their career after their big string of hits.

      Yessum, "Want Ads" was indeed the biggest career hit for The Honey Cone trio. They scored a second #1 charting R&B hit with their follow-up single "Stick-Up" and reached the top 5 on the soul chart with "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show," but their popularity faded and they failed to place any of their records on the chart after 1972.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and terrific comment, dear friend Cathy. Enjoy the rest of your week!

  7. Wow, wow, wow....What a kickass way to kick-start my day! This was one fabulous Shady Train ride!
    Naturally I'm much more drawn to those 70s songs. "Band of Gold" is so classic. I think this is the first time that I ever really listened to the lyrics. Poor girl didn't even consummate her marriage. Hope she got a decent buck when she pawned that band of gold! 😏
    I enjoyed watching the very pretty Freda Payne lip sync her hit. I would think it's much harder to perform when one has to lip sync. What do you think?

    The Undisputed Truth's "Smiling Faces" is an excellent song. That was also a really good performance. You found some great videos. I liked seeing (and hearing) those magnificent violins, such an integral part of that song. And those lyrics: a sage warning that we should always keep in mind...

    Those O'Jays sure do make us want us to jump on that Love Train. Such an awesome song with a positive message. Did you know that the song was played at the 2016 Republican Convention when Trump was nominated and the O'Jays were not happy that their song was used. Not surprising, they weren't asked for their permission. They were asked to perform and they declined because they said Trump is so divisive and his ways are contrary to what the song is about. They were obviously disgusted by the thought of their music being associated with such an awful person.
    I wish more of the world would jump on the Love Train...

    I remember the "Want Ads" song but not really the Honey Cones. I looked up their other hits but didn't recognize them, even when I listened to them on YouTube. But I remember " Want Ads" for sure and always liked it.

    Moving us into the 80s, you presented songs and groups that I wasn't familiar with. I enjoyed 9.9' song and I loved watching the dancers grooving to Atlantis' "Keep on Movin & Groovin"! It's always fun to watch those dancers. I love it.
    I never heard of the B.B.& Q. Band but I definitely liked their song that you featured.

    This was a wonderful way to start my day Shady! It was a welcome break from listening to the updates about the Austin bomber. The one that went off last night was set off by a trip wire, which blew up and injured two men in their 20s who were just walking down the road. The whole neighborhood went on lock-down and folks aren't allowed to come outside there until 2:00 this afternoon as they hundreds of FBI, ATF, APD and others search for other devices and trip wires. The three previous bombs were in packages left on people's front porches. They do believe that even though this fourth bomb is different, it likely is the same perpetrator and they now have officially called him a serial bomber. The city is definitely on edge here. I hope they catch him soon!!
    So THANK YOU for the diversion with your fabulous Shady Train post!

    Have a great week! Talk soon,

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Hi, Michele!

      Thank you very much for coming over, dear friend!

      I especially thank you for leaving this tremendous mega-comment about the latest episode of my Shady Train series even as you and other members of your community are tense and frightened over the recent string of bombings. A short while ago, during lunch, I watched live coverage of the news conference updating us on the investigation. It is disturbing and unnerving. How can anyone feel safe when the person or persons responsible have changed their M.O. and are also keeping authorities guessing by placing bombs in various parts of the city? I pray for your safety and the safety of your loved ones, dogs and fellow citizens.

      I am very happy to offer a much needed distraction from the crisis at hand. As I told others who commented, I am especially pleased with the audio and video quality of the rare old clips I found for this edition. They tend to come and go on YouTube. For instance, I waited patiently for this brilliant Soul Train performance by Freda Payne to be uploaded to Y/T after it was removed a couple of years ago just as I was about to use it on SDMM.

      Yes, I think it can be quite a challenge for a singer to do a lip sync to his or her record, no matter how familiar and how many times he or she has performed it in the past. It is especially true when the studio recording contains ad-libs. Remembering those ad libs during the lip sync can be murder, and quite a few artists get tripped up by them. One of the most embarrassing moments in lip sync history has to be the appearance by the great Jackie DeShannon on Hollywood A Go-Go. As you will see in the opening seconds of this clip, Jackie starts mouthing the words to the song before her voice begins on the recorded track:

      How true, dear friend. The warning about disingenuous people, their fake smiles, insincere handshakes and patronizing pats on the back issued in 1971 in the song "Smiling Faces," recorded first by the Temptations and soon after by The Undisputed Truth, remains just as relevant today as it was back then.

      No, I didn't know, or perhaps blocked from my mind, the fact that "Love Train" was hijacked by the Trump people. How dare they subvert the meaning and tarnish the memory of that great peace anthem by politicizing it?

      I'm happy to know you got so much enjoyment from these soul gems old and new. Thank you again for making time for a visit even as you remain on edge and on high alert in the wake of the recent bombings.

      I hope your mother is AOK. Did she have her procedure yet? I know that you have one slated for early next month, too. I'll be thinking about you both.

      Thanks again, dear friend Michele, and try to enjoy the rest of your week!

  8. Ughhh, I wrote here this morning but it didn't take. Love the Soul Train experience and my favourite is Smiling Faces-the voices and orchestra-really great. The first video was good but I was distratced by her hair and the guy in the pepto bismal pink overalls and the guy with the different coloured back pockets. It just reinforces how bad the 70's fashion was. Now back to the hip people who sang their hearts out. Love Train is excellent and then we go to the 80's which one can tell immediately with the beat. Always fun to listen to your soul train music

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      How are you, my dear Canadian friend? Thank you very much for coming down and climbing aboard the Shady Train! I'm sorry your first comment was gobbled up by the blog gremlins. Thank you for taking the time to compose another.

      I am thrilled that you like my posts recalling the glory years of Soul Train. It was only recently that gloriously restored clips of early Soul Train performances like the ones of Freda Payne, The O'Jays and Honey Cone have shown up on YouTube to the delight of music bloggers like me.

      "Pep" Harris and his beautiful supporting vocalists really nailed that performance of their 1971 hit "Smiling Faces," a song similar in theme to "Back Stabbers," the O'Jays hit released a year later. Pep's is one of the richest, most distinctive and most soulful singing voices I ever heard.

      Yessum, the clothing worn by the dancers on Soul Train, male as well as female, was often distracting. As the years rolled on this became even more so as dancers dressed in uniforms and costumes and performed acting skits to the music, many times using props like basketballs and giant whistles and toothbrushes. It became, quite literally, a "freak show on the dance floor." I agree. If you close your eyes and simply listen to the recordings, you can usually separate the 70s tunes from those of the 80s. In the 70s the Soul Train gang danced to sweeter, more innocent soul tunes, some gospel tinged, some that raised social awareness. In the 80s the popular sounds on the show included slick, sophisticated urban R&B and bold, beat driven recordings in the hip hop, rap and electro-funk categories featuring the loud booming of drum machines and suggestive and sometimes confrontational lyrics. Is it any wonder that relatively conservative old-schooler Don Cornelius started to lose faith in the show and eventually stepped down as host?

      Thank you again for your visit and great comment, dear friend BB!

  9. You couldn't have given a better song than Band of Gold. I'm still humming it and when I walk away from my trusty computer, I'll be doing a little slide in time. Thanks again for the musical treat, Shady. Always a pleasure.

    1. Hi, Cheryl-Lee!

      Thank you very much for reporting in, dear friend. I'm happy to see you!

      Everyone seems to like that nicely restored clip of Freda Payne performing on Soul Train during the early years of the series. Overall I think it is Freda's best performance of her signature song. She looked fabulous, had a great smile and enthusiasm, used her body language and dance skill, and the wide shots showed her surrounded by the Soul Train gang, just an all around great performance clip with sharp video and strong audio, ideal for use in this series of mine. I'm glad the song put a bounce in your step and I hope it stays stuck in your head all day long.

      Thanks again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Cheryl!

  10. You have a groovy collection of music today! I enjoyed listening to All of Me for All of You. That's a song I've heard before.

    1. Hi, Sherry!

      Thanks for coming by for a look and a listen, dear friend!

      Wow, you are the first person to tell me they are familiar with and like one of my favorites in this post, the hit single "All Of Me For All Of You" by the Boston-based one-hit-wonder R&B girl trio 9.9. Sadly, one of the girls, Leslie Jones, died in July of 2013.

      Thanks again for stopping by, dear friend Sherry!

  11. Replies
    1. Hi, Jo-Anne!

      How are you, dear Aussie friend? I'm happy to know you're glad you came here. Hopefully these tunes will replay in your mind throughout the day and put some pep in your step.

      Thanks again for coming, dear friend Jo-Anne!

  12. Sorry I'm late to this 70's & 80's party! Listening to the tunes was fun because like the previous post I remember these numbers! Besides the good music just looking at the fashions and hair brought back so many memories! (Jack sported a super huge afro in his day! I might have to blog about it!) Thanks for a cool post to send me to dream land tonight! Now, you might not realize it, but it's finally Spring! To celebrate we're getting 4in. of snow tonight so just look out your window and send some sunshine up North! Take care Shady!

    1. Hi, YaYa!

      Thank you for making time to ride the Shady Train, dear friend! I'm very happy to see you.

      Yessum, this episode offers a good mix of familiar hits from the early 70s along with three recordings from the 80s that you might not have heard before, the ones by 9.9, Atlantis and B.B. & Q. Those three were brand new to me until a year ago when they arrived on various artists CDs I ordered. I know you always like to examine the clothes worn by the different generations of Soul Train dancers. It's hard to imagine your Jack with a blowout Afro. :)

      I'm sorry to learn that spring roared in like a lion in Ohio. It must have been even worse in PA. Yesterday Kathleen Mae Schneider wrote to me and said up to a foot of snow was predicted in her vicinity.

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Yaya, and enjoy the rest of your week!


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