Sunday, December 11, 2005

Soul Train - an appreciation.

Although I was vaguely aware of Soul Train before, it was in the Spike Lee film Crooklyn that I saw it for the first time. Since then I've tried to find it on video, but with no success. Until, miraculously, a multi-part documentary was shown on Japanese TV. A combination of great music, incredible dancing and retro chic makes Soul Train one of my favourite TV shows of all time.

I can't dance, or sing, but I can appreciate both, and Soul Train had both of these talents in abundance. There's something very satisfying about seeing people dancing, completely at ease, at one with the music. Despite the worries and hardships that we all bear in the world, there are precious times when we can forget and really live. I'd like to think that The Soul Train Gang were able to do this.

I am the first to admit that I prefer the music of the past to that of the future. By my reckoning, music reached it's zenith in 1967, and despite sporadic peaks since then, has never been matched (a certain redheaded former university colleague of mine might have a few biting repostes to this...). The soul music of the early to mid 70s was one of those peaks. And in an age of pastry cutout boy and girl bands, singing bland, formulaic songs, Soul Train puts the inedequacies of much of today's music into sharp relief.


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