Saturday, April 23, 2022

Shady Train - Ep. 19: Freestyle Awhile!

Shady Train...

the hippest trip in America!
60 nonstop minutes across the
tracks of your mind into the
exciting world of Soul!

And now the host of
Shady Train...
Don Cornelius!

Hi there! You're right on time for another super slick ride on
the big train. You know the drill. Only the cool kids get in
and every tune's a bad mamma jamma. 

And as the train leaves the station on another hip trip, we find ourselves in the mid 80s
when the electronic dance music subgenres of freestyle, Hi-NRG and synthpop
were exploding in popularity. First released as a single in 1986 and again in '87,
"Fascinated" was one of the first freestyle songs to become a mainstream hit.
We now switch live to New York where the talented ladies responsible for
fostering this exciting new sound are set to perform on Club MTV.


As they join us courtesy of Atlantic Records, please welcome
the electrifying trio that call themselves-- Company B!

"Fascinated" - Company B
(March thru June 1987, highest chart pos. #1 Dance,
#21 Hot 100, perf. on Club MTV)

And we're gonna linger a little longer
in New York and freestyle awhile.
Like Company B, our next guests,
native New Yorkers, are credited
with pioneering the freestyle move-
ment. They are led by Lisa Velez
and produced by Full Force, the
Brooklyn based R&B/hip hop
production company.


Currently the group has a chart-topping crossover hit on the Columbia
label entitled "Head To Toe." As they join us to perform their smash,
let's make some big noise, gang for-- Lisa Lisa And Cult Jam!

"Head To Toe" - Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
(May/June 1987. highest chart pos.
#1 Hot 100/#1 Cash Box/#1 R&B)

You already met Company B and Lisa Velez of Cult Jam. Now
please welcome to the show three more extraordinary canaries. 


They're the trio responsible for the
Shady Train theme song "TSOP
(The Sound Of Philadelphia)."
As they join us to do their latest
single on the Philadelphia Inter-
national label, another big hit
entitled "When Will I See You
Again," let's get some hands to-
gether for-- The Three Degrees!

"When Will I See You Again" - The Three Degrees
(Nov./Dec 1974, highest chart pos. #1 Cash Box/#2 Hot 100/#4 R&B)


And that's just
half the ride.
Stick around for
more super soul
sounds when
Shady Train
continues right
after this. 

And right now let's welcome aboard
those talented young men who are
responsible for that wonderful
sound that's been driving the
Shady Train gang out of
their minds of late and
making them shout'--
"Can't get enough
of that funky stuff." 


Representing the De-Lite record label, the mighty-- Kool And The Gang!

"Funky Stuff" - Kool And The Gang
(Sept./Oct. 1973, highest chart pos. #5 R&B/#29 Hot 100)

And we're delighted to welcome
back for her second appearance
on the Train one of our favorite
ladies and a great talent as well. 


She burst onto the scene with the
hit "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On,"
and since then she's been rackin'
'em back, and that ain't no fiction,
baby, it's a natural fact. As she
joins us do her latest single on
the Tabu label entitled "You
Look Good To Me," give it up,
gang, for the fabulous- Cherrelle!

"You Look Good To Me" - Cherrelle
(Oct./Nov.Dec. 1985, highest chart pos. #26 R&B)

And look out now, don't
hurt yourself. It's the world
famous Shady Train gang...
the Shady Train line, They're
out on the floor yellin' for more.


Looks like they've got a bad
case of Saturday Night Fever
on a Saturday morning. It's the
disco sound of the Bee Gees
and-- "You Should Be Dancing!"

"You Should Be Dancing" - Bee Gees
(July/Aug. 1976, highest chart po. #1 Hot 100 & Cash Box,
from OST of Dec. 1977 film Saturday Night Fever)

And if that don't do it for
you, nothing ever will.
We hope you'll get
into it with us again
next time when we
pop open another
six pack and toss in
an extra cool one
for good measure.

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!

"TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)" - MFSB
(Theme from Soul Train feat. The Three Degrees)
(Mar./Apr. 1974, highest chart pos. #1 Hot 100 & Cash Box & R&B


  1. I used to watch Soul Train all the time. I loved watching the Soul Train line dances because I cannot dance at all. lol I still like watching other people dance because I still can't dance. I'm more of a sit and sing in the car kind of person.

    I remember all of these songs. You brought back some memories today. Have a good week and Falcor says Hi.

    1. Hi, Mary!

      Thanks for being the Early Bird this time, dear friend!

      I'm happy to know you were a fan of Soul Train back in the day. Yessum, like you, I am not a great dancer, and that's why I loved watching the Soul Train gang form a line and boogie down the tracks toward the camera. You got to see some amazing dance moves and eye-popping outfits. I'm thrilled that you liked Don's lineup of artists and songs on show #19. I wish I were there right now to smooch my buddy Falcor. :)

      Mary, I visited Dark Thoughts first thing this morning and left a comment. When I checked later it was gone. I just now went back and wrote a new comment for you.

      Thanks again for being the first person across the finish line at Shady's Place this morning, dear friend Mary. Enjoy your Saturday and I'll be over to see you again tomorrow!

    2. UPDATE - my comment vanished again! They must be getting sorted into your spam folder, Mary. Would you please check for me?

    3. UPDATE #2 - I just left a third comment, this one from my old blog at a different address. The comment published just fine, but when I refreshed the page a couple of minutes later it disappeared like the previous comments! I don't know what's going on. I hope I can get a comment through on your next post tomorrow, dear Mary.

    4. All your comments are live now. For some reason the comments were all going to the spam folder. Thank you for letting me know.

    5. Hi, Mary!

      Thanks for checking into it. I am relieved that I can get my comments through to you, my cherished friend.

      If you are up this early, have a great day. If you are up this late, get some sleep! :) Have a super week, dear friend!

    6. I'm glad things are working again. I am going to get some sleep. I was up talking to my brother who couldn't sleep after having two back surgeries last week. He finally is getting some rest now. Have a great day.

    7. Thanks, dear friend! I wish your brother a speedy and complete recovery and I hope you can get some much needed rest now. Falcor will let you know when his bladder is bursting and he needs you to wake up and take him out for a walk. :) Have a wonderful day, Mary!

  2. Hey there! I enjoyed watching these flashbacks. I can remember singing "When Will I See You Again" while thinking about a guy I had met through Junior Achievement. The answer was never but I have a feeling that's okay. Some of those line dancers look like they are more ready to fight than dance the way they punch their fists. We saw Kool and the Gang as an opening act to Van Halen many years ago. They were very good.

    Thanks again for all your visits to my place this month and for giving me the heads up about your post. I still wonder why I am not getting an email notice as I used to. Have a great rest of your weekend my friend.

    1. Hi, Janet!

      Thanks for dropping in to experience Shady Train vol. 19, dear friend! You were just telling me you wanted to take a train ride, and here's your chance! :)

      Yessum, I remember a woman I once knew referring to "When Will I See You Again" as "our song." I suppose that happened with many couples who heard and liked this hit single by The Three Degrees.

      The Kool and the Gang band appearing on this edition of Shady Train are the early version of the act when they were more raw and gritty and emphasized their funky horn section. Later, the group adopted more of a commercial, smooth, pop soul sound. They scored more hits during the latter period, but I strongly prefer their earlier sound and style.

      I think those email notifications have been discontinued, so thanks for letting me inform you. I am grateful that you dropped by today, and now it's time for you to get some much needed rest. I am thoroughly enjoying your A to Z series and look forward to the final flurry starting Monday. Have a wonderful weekend, dear friend Janet!

  3. You've pretty much tripped me up with the 80s music this time, Shady, though I remember all the 70s stuff.

    I really enjoyed When Will I See You Again. I don't know if I knew what The Three Degrees looked like. Such a good song!

    1. Hi, Kelly!

      I'm delighted to see you, dear friend! Thanks for coming over on day one to claim the bronze!

      It surprises me that you don't remember those two chart-topping freestyle hits from the same time period, the spring of 1987. It's good to know that you remember the 70s biggies by Kool And The Gang, the Bee Gees and The Three Degrees, the latter a veteran R&B/Soul girl group from Philly. Yessum, they were already veterans by 1974 when they finally started achieving hits on the Philadelphia International record label. The act formed in 1963 as The 3 Degrees and struggled more than a decade before they found a hit making formula. Over the years, 16 different women have been members of The Three Degrees!

      Thank you again for arriving on day one, dear friend Kelly. Please give Pat a treat for me and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  4. I recognize all of these songs except "You Look Good to Me" and "Funky Stuff". I EXPECTED to recognize "Funky Stuff" since I know Kool and the Gang, but no, I didn't. So many songs with the word "Funky" in the title in 1970s and '80s, I'm probably thinking of something else.

    I found it a bit ironic to have Don Cornelious introduce The Three Degrees, only to show the three lovely ladies in what looks to be a dinner theatre filled with middle-aged white people. If that doesn't make them crossover artists, I don't know what does.

    I always enjoy watching dancing, and the pastiche of Soul Train footwork was a great way to end this thing.

    That's all I got.

    1. Hi, Kirk!

      Thanks for riding the big train again this time, good buddy!

      I'm glad you knew most of the songs on Don's Shady Train playlist. As I mentioned to Janet (above), Kool and The Gang started out as the brassy, horn-driven funk band you see in this post. This was their best period, in my opinion, because their sound was right off the street. It had vitality. I bought their early funk singles: "Funky Stuff," "Jungle Boogie," "Hollywood Swinging," and "Higher Plane." In 1979, Kool And The Gang added "J.T." Taylor as lead singer and changed direction, adopting a smoother, more commercial pop sound that doesn't appeal to me at all. With "J.T." as the face and voice of the band, Kool And The Gang began its most successful period on the pop chart with "Ladies Night," a song I despise. I never bought another record by the band except "Celebration" which I have since grown very tired of hearing. So, you are seeing and hearing a different band here, the real deal, not the pop-oriented Kool and The Gang you remember.

      I pick videos for Shady's Place based primarily on sound. It can be a painstaking process to weed out all the garbage found on YouTube these days. This performance by The Three Degrees doing "When Will I See You Again" has the highest quality sound and highest definition picture of any I sampled. From time to time, Don will introduce acts performing on other TV series such as American Bandstand and The Midnight Special. Occasionally, clips show solo artists or bands performing at venues in other countries. I am calling upon you to use your imagination and make these performances fit into my Shady Train format.

      I'm happy that you enjoyed watching the fancy footwork of the Shady Train gang coming down the line and lookin' mighty fine. Thanks again for joining the fun, good buddy Kirk, and have a wonderful week ahead!

  5. Big Hair, tight, tight outfits, bras, huge shoulder pads...the 80s have arrived! I don't know that first song but got a kick out of outfit and that huge platinum hair.
    I know the 2nd song well and probably danced to it but it is all a blur:))
    I do love this song from the 3 Degrees which has a totally different vibe being in the 70s now. The beginning of the song, with the dots and looking very gauzy, was done many times on variety shows.
    Kool & The Gang are great and love the horns! This is when you actually had a full band. I enjoyed watching the video with the dancers.
    Back to the 80s with Cherrelle in an oversized gold coat and the back up men wanting to be Prince. I forgot the yelping like a puppy was a big thing to do in the 80s.
    The Bee Gees were so huge and, yes, I danced to this back in the day in the place called "Charlie Chan's" that was very disco. I love watching all the dancers and wonder where they are now. That gal in the black boots and hot pink pants knew how to get noticed. I loved the robot dancing plus the 2 guys-one in green pants with a flowery shirt and the man in loose jeans-they know how to dance!
    I'm glad you ended this with TSOP and watched all those i said, where are they now?
    I hope you are well. I am still dealing with the loss of Wallace and now Lucy plus work has been tough because they are disorganized. They have not told me all the things i was supposed to be doing plus I had internet issues for my whole first week which set me behind. They would not send out a tech guy to get it worked out and to get this all set up before I came to the office just didn't make sense to them. The boss is a narcissist and likes to make a person nervous. Thankfully, I am all by myself in the Niagara Falls office. I was upset by how he spoke to me but later, I thought, screw that! I refuse to let someone take my power away. What will be will be and tomorrow is a new day, like Scarlett O'Hara says, and all the kinks are out of the way and I should have been told everything now. Wishing you a lovely day and week

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      Wow, dear friend! Your book length comment is a real page turner. :) Thank you very much for dropping by early and making so many keen observations about the content!

      I'm pleased that you remember the Lisa Lisa freestyle chart-topper from 1987. Yessum, you have shared several stories about your wild clubbing years. From the late 70s through the late 80s, and I was hitting the clubs in PA and in Florida, and yessum, much of that period is a blur. You know what they say: If you can remember it... you weren't there. :)

      Yessum, that effect you described at the start of The Three Degrees' performance was typical of the period. Edit suites and switching consoles were becoming more sophisticated, and many shows experimented with the new technology. I might be able to explain what we are seeing there. It appears as if the TD (technical director) performed a "partial dissolve" between two camera shots. Unless I'm mistaken, one camera was aimed at the ladies while the second camera, racked to soft focus, was pointed at what appears to be a Christmas tree with flashing lights. The TD faded in from black to the partial dissolve shot and then slowly dissolved out of the tree lights shot to focus entirely on the ladies and their performance.

      Thanks for giving a nod to the funky horn section of Kool And The Gang. In the early 70s, many such horn-driven funk bands emerged and many were successful. It's a shame Kool And The Gang had evolved into a bland pop-soul group by the end of the 70s.

      Yessum, I thought I was watching an episode of Arsenio, but instead it was the latest Cherrelle music video with the men barking like the dogs they are. That Cherrelle number sounds like it was inspired by the early 80s hits of The Gap Band.

      Charlie Chan's sounds like a cool venue. I wish I had been up your way during the glory years of disco. Yessum, the Soul Train line became a huge part of that TV music series. Week after week, year after year, viewers were treated to a parade of sexy, trendy fashions, street attitude and outrageous, sometimes gymnastic dance moves. Guys brought basketballs, giant whistles, jumbo toothbrushes and other such props to the show to catch the attention of viewers. Sometimes they acted out brief skits there on the train tracks. It became an "anything goes" situation, and I read that old schooler host Don Cornelius wasn't keen on the increasingly suggestive clothing, dance moves and rap songs played on the show.

      Wow, I'm sorry you are running into so many problems at your new job, especially having a jerk for a boss. Believe me, I've been there and know how that can be. Good for you, dearie. Don't let anyone take your power away. Yessum you have had a lot to deal with all at the same time with the back-to-back deaths of Wallace and Lucy and those hassles at work. I am so very sorry, Birgit.

      At least I hope I cheered you up the other day when I went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Did you see me waving at you?

      I hope life at work and at home gets easier for you from this point on. You deserve it. Thank you again for setting aside so much time for a look and a listen. I deeply appreciate it. Take care of yourself and have a wonderful week ahead, dear friend BB!

  6. Tom,

    I finally made it! I apologize for not getting by this weekend. As I mentioned we needed to replace our water heater. Well...that didn't happen. We got into the garage which is a horrible ordeal as this space is occupied with overflow of everything except our car. We had stuff pulled out into our driveway and in our yard. It took awhile before DH could get back to the old heater to see that the source of the water leak was coming from the water supply line that has rusted through. Aggravated because we couldn't go anywhere because one our driveway was blocked with junk from the garage and two we knew by the time we got everything back into place that it would too late for us to go out to buy replacement parts. After we got everything back into the garage. It was even later than we first thought it would be and we were so exhausted. Our plan was to go out on Sunday to Home Depot but our minds changed with everything feeling achy. We were fortunate to find the supplies online which will arrive Tuesday and Wednesday. This Saturday, we hope to try it again. At the very least get the leaky plumbing taken care of and then we can replace the hot water heater another day. Who knows, maybe the old one will continue to go another year or two before we have to do anything. We will have everything whenever we decide to do the job.

    I enjoyed your music flashback to the 80s. Most of these songs I know. I'm not sure that I remember Company B. I definitely did not recognize "Fascinated". I will hop over to YT in a few minutes to sample more of their music to try to jiggle my memory. The 80s was a fantastic era in music. Thanks for sharing such excellent music content, my friend. Have a boogietastic week!

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Welcome back over to Shady's Place, dear friend, and thank you for coming! I'm pleased to have you here to ride the Shady Train on it's 19th hip trip across the tracks of your mind into the exciting world of Soul.

      Oh my, I can relate to what you and DH went through over the weekend. It sounds very familiar because Mrs. Shady and I have experienced the same kind of frustrating circumstances. I'm sorry most of the work you guys did over the weekend amounted to wasted time and energy, but at least you found the source of the problem and have taken steps to get it fixed. I hope you can get that part of the job done this coming weekend. What a thing to be dealing with during your busy A to Z schedule!

      I think you will find that "Fascinated" is the best song by the Latin freestyle trio Company B. It was the group's biggest hit, topping the Dance chart and falling just short of the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Three subsequent releases, "Full Circle," "Perfect Lover" and "Signed in Your Book of Love," were hits on the Dance chart, but none of them crossed over to the pop chart. With its Latin-influenced arrangement, "Fascinated" was a biggie in my neck of the woods down here in Florida. I danced to it in clubs and it played in heavy rotation on the MTV-style station where I worked.

      Yessum, I always refer to the 80s as the last great decade in mewsic, and the 80s songs in this post are fine examples. Keep in mind, however, that four of the seven songs Don played today are hits from the early to mid 70s.

      Thanks again for stopping in, dear friend Cathy. Have a tunetastic day and I'll be back over to see you talame on V-Day!

  7. Hi Shady, I realized as I went through the songs that at that time I was married to my first husband. We lived in Calgary, Alberta which had exactly TWO TV channels! Lol. It was mostly Canadian stuff. So I've never heard of the show, Soul Train, but I enjoyed learning about it.

    My two favorite songs were, "When Will I See You Again," and "You Look So Good to Me." The 3 Degrees were a really nice trio and I loved the voice of their lead singer. Of course I do know the Bee Gees. I liked some of their songs back in the day and they were great to dance to. The dancers were exciting to watch. Thanks for the good time!

    1. Hi, Belle!

      I'm excited to see you, dear friend, and happy that you were able to get a comment through on your second try. I appreciate your patience and persistence. I welcome you and thank you for hopping aboard the Shady Train!

      Oh my goodness! It comes as a shock to learn that you remained oblivious to the wildly popular Soul Train series during the years you lived In Calgary. The show was such a big part of American culture for decades, so buzzworthy and influential, that I can't imagine life without it. Your revelation reminds me of the plot of the 2019 hit movie Yesterday about a world where no one ever heard of The Beatles except for one young, struggling musician.

      This is my 19th Shady Train post. It will continue to be a regular feature in the years to come. I'm delighted that you singled out the song by The Three Degrees and the one by Cherrelle, the latter a very talented but underrated R&B vocalist and songwriter. As I mentioned in another reply, Cherrelle's song "You Look Good To Me" sounds similar to the early 80s synth-funk hits by The Gap Band. The lead singer on most of the hits by The Three Degrees, including "When Will I See You Again," is Sheila Ferguson, who went on to a solo recording career, became a successful author with a best-selling Soul Food cookbook, a TV presenter and star of her own TV sitcom Land of Hope and Gloria.

      I'm glad you enjoyed dropping in and sampling the sights and sounds of the original Soul Train show hosted by Don Cornelius, now repackaged and running on my blog as "Shady Train."

      Thank you again for making time for a visit and for your kind comments. Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend Belle, and stay tuned to hear the songs of a band I know you love - The Beatles - coming up in my next post on Thursday!

  8. YAS! I love the Shady Train and the Soul Train! You chose some of my favourite songs and I had fun dancing. Today was a busy day, we had a new ADA start that doesn't quite know how to type. I get to type his documents, so it has been busy, and the library has been busy. I'm tired and the Bee-Gees, Lisa, Lisa and the Cult Jam woke me up. I haven't heard these songs in years.

    Thanks for letting me groove! I'll visit tomorrow and might use this to keep me up during the day. Have a great evening, dear friend.

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      Thanks for coming over to ride the big Train, dear friend... not just into Philly this time, but all the way to Soulsville, USA! You know the drill. Only the cool kids get in... and that be YOU!

      What could be better at the end of a hard day at the mill than to get your freestylin' boogie on with "Head To Toe" and a danceworthy ditty from the OST of Saturday Night Fever?

      Yessum, I hope you will return tomorrow and jam some mo with Don and the gang. Thanks again for joining the fun and enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend JM!


I wanna know
What you're thinking
There are some things you can't hide
I wanna know
What you're feeling
Tell me what's on your mind