Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Shady Train - Ep. 15: Body in the Middle of the Night!


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!

Hey now, welcome aboard.
You're right on time for
another super hip trip
on the Shady Train.
I guarantee you'll
enjoy the ride...
so let's roll.

And we are delighted to welcome for the first time three extraordinary canaries -
a soulful trio from Detroit consisting of the lovely and talented Body sisters:
Francina, Peggy and Letitita, the youngest children in a family of twelve.
They specialize in a form of music called swingbeat, also known as
New jack swing, a fusion of hip hop and R&B. As they join us
to do their debut single for MCA Records entitled "Middle
Of The Night," I'm sure you will agree that the ideal
name for this exciting new girl group is-- Body!

"Middle Of The Night" - Body
(May/June 1987, from 1987 album Body)


And look out now, don't hurt yourself.
It's the Shady Train gang, the Shady
Train line. They're bustin' loose to
their love jones with the latest by
Jesse Johnson. We think it's one
of the baddest sounds in town
or anywhere else around,
a little thing called--
"Love Struck!"

"Love Struck" - Jesse Johnson
(May 1988, highest chart pos. #4 R&B/#78 Hot 100)

And we are excited to have with us on
today's ride a veteran Detroit soul man
who is currently part of the changing
sound of Motown. He is riding high
at the top of the chart with his latest
single for the label, a song originally
recorded by The Temptations. As he
joins us to do what is fast becoming
one of the most popular protest songs
ever recorded entitled "War," make
some big noise, gang, for Agent
Double-O-Soul-- Edwin Starr!

"War" - Edwin Starr
(Aug./Sept. 1970, highest chart pos.
#1 Hot 100 & Cash Box/#3 R&B)

And now it's time to bring in one of
the true musical geniuses of our time.
As he joins us courtesy of our friends
over on The Midnight Special to do his
latest single on the A&M label entitled
"Will It Go Round In Circles"... how
'bout it, gang, for-- Mr. Billy Preston!

"Will It Go Round In Circles"
Billy Preston (June/July 1973,
highest chart pos. #1 Hot 100
Cash Box/#10 R&B, perf.
 on The Midnight Special)

And the Shady Train dancers are gonna
style awhile to a groove that makes you
wanna move real smooth. It's the latest
from the Change gang-- "Hold Tight!" 

"Hold Tight" - Change (July/Aug. 1981, highest chart pos. #40 R&B/#89 Hot 100

And let's welcome aboard four of Philly's
Phinest entertainers, a group that has been among the leading names in soul
since, believe it or not, the mid 1950s.
As they join us to do their latest single
on the Philadelphia International label,
the chart-topping ballad "If You Don't
Know Me By Now," lets put some
hands together, gang, for the mighty -
Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes!

"If You Don't Know Me By Now"
 - Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes (Nov./Dec. 1972,
highest chart pos. #1 R&B/#2 Cash Box/#3 Hot 100)

And across the river from Philly we go to
Camden, New Jersey, for the club sound.
It's a pleasure to have with us a talented
duo that is responsible for one of the
hottest freestyle dance-pop songs of
the year, a biggin everybody's diggin'
entitled "Catch Me, I'm Falling" from
the soundtrack of the John Cryer -
Annabeth Gish dramedy Hiding Out.
Featuring the vivacious Jade Starling
singing lead, here is-- Pretty Poison!

"Catch Me (I'm Falling)" - Pretty Poison
(Oct. thru Dec. 1987, highest chart pos. #8 Hot 100 & Cash Box,
#13 R&B, from Nov. 1987 film Hiding Out)

And if that don't do it for you nothin'
ever will. We hope you'll come back
and get into it with us next time when
once again we pop open a six pack
and toss 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. The standouts for me from this edition of Shady Train are the Billy Preston number and War. In fact, I just heard War on the radio the other day and feel sure it was Edwin Starr's version, though I couldn't have told you his name. I'd have to go back and listen to The Temptations to be sure. I'm guessing this one gets more airplay, though.

    1. Hi, Kelly!

      Thanks for popping in during the morning to claim early bird honors this time, dear friend! I'm glad you found a couple of standouts in this 15th volume of Shady Train. It had been decades since I heard that Billy Preston song, and I was excited when it showed up recently on YouTube as a remastered sync edit. I am familiar with both versions of "War" because in 1970 I rushed out and bought The Temptations album Psychedelic Shack shortly after it was released. I got to know every song on the album and "War" is one of them. Edwin Starr's hit single version is by far the best known version and the one that is played most often. Once again I was elated to find a pristine sound and picture restoration video of Edwin performing the protest song on Soul Train.

      Thanks again for dropping in early, dear friend Kelly. Please give my buddy Pat a hug from Shady and enjoy the rest of your week!

  2. Tom,

    You introduced me to a couple of new artists today. I'm not sure why Body doesn't ring a bell but they do not and yet they are so good! These gals have that 80s pop dance sound that I would've so liked back in the day for sure. Jesse Johnson and Change are also unfamiliar to my ears. I think I'm gonna have to visit YT to sample more of their songs. Every time I hear 'War' I think about RUSH HOUR. That is the funniest movie! Thanks for the ride on the soul train express with songs from yesterday that are still full of steam! Have a great afternoon, my friend!

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Thanks for coming over again today, dear friend. I'm happy to see you!

      I admit that I never heard of Body until I found this video while browsing Y/T. I think they were being groomed as the next Pointer Sisters but it didn't work out very well. Their "Body" of work includes only two R&B hits: "Footsteps In The Dark" and "Touch Me Up."

      The Euro-American band called Change was heavily influenced by the Nile Rodgers band Chic and you can hear the similarities in their recordings. Early on, future solo singing star Luther Vandross was a member of the Change lineup.

      I'm glad you enjoyed riding the big train today, dear friend Cathy. Thanks again for joining the fun and enjoy the rest of your week!

    2. Tom,

      Thanks for stopping by today. I must confuse since you didn't drop by for my Thursday art sketches I wondered if the email post notification didn't push through. I have one of my email addresses set to receiving my posts just so I can keep an eye on things. I got it, but it doesn't mean a glitch couldn't sporadically happen elsewhere.

      I'm listening to Change on YT as I leave a message. Their #1 hit from 1980 "A Lover's Holiday" rings a distant bell in my memory. I plan to play more of Body's mewsic a bit, too.

      Have a good weekend, my friend!

    3. Hi, Cathy!

      Let me fill you in, dear friend. I have been keeping late nights since Wednesday along with busy days because Mrs. Shady and I have welcomed a family member here to live with us for the foreseeable future. Family obligations are preventing me from spending as much time on blogging as I did in the past. It is what it is. I have some time this morning and I will come over to see your art sketch. Thanks for your patience and understanding, dear friend. Regarding the band called Change, I posted their "Lover's Holiday" hit here on SPMM a while back and that's probably why you remember it. :)

      Thanks again for stopping by, dear friend Cathy!

    4. Tom,

      You and Mrs. Shady have big hearts to open your home to another family member in need. Don't worry anything, I understand. I just wanted to make sure everything was ok on your end which I'm glad it is other then you're now busier tending to other priorities. Thanks for sharing with me that you featured "Lover's Holiday" before and you're right, that's probably why I remember it. Take care of yourself, dear friend and thank you for being such a loyal CAAC supporter!

  3. 70s/80s music:) Thank you, friend Shady. Middle of winter here. Tired. Wanna go places. Thunderbutt is ready:) Love, cat.

    1. Hi, cat!

      Thanks for coming down, dear Alberta friend! I hope your next trip to the tropics isn't too far off. Either way, winter will soon be winding down. It is already over down here. It's been 80+ degrees every day for a couple of weeks now. I watched the video. TT looks snug as a bug in a rug. :)

      I'm glad you like the music of the 70s and 80s in today's episode of Shady Train. Thanks again for coming, dear friend cat!

  4. All fun music! I especially love, If YoU Don’t Know Me By Now, by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes. Great song!

    1. Hi, Arleen!

      How are you, dear friend? Thanks for hopping aboard the big train for a ride into the exciting world of Soul! Yessum, I figured you are a Philly Phanatic and would know and like that early 70s hit by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Poor Teddy Pendergrass has been dead and gone more than 10 years now. Can you believe it? In March 1982 I was working in the newsroom when the story crossed the wires telling of the car crash that left him a paraplegic, paralyzed from the chest down. It was a terrible fate for such a gifted singer.

      Thanks again for being here today, dear friend Arleen, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  5. Evening Shady! I remember a few of these numbers from back in the day. The song "War" is played today and is still probably pretty relevant but back then I had a problem getting on board with protest songs with 2 brothers in Vietnam fighting. Anyway, I also loved those 80's hair and outfits! Billy Preston's hair reminded me of Jack's back then..a 40in. fro on a tall white guy was pretty impressive! (it took my Mom a long time to accept that hairdo from him!)And watching the "Body" video was a real flashback and boy those gals could move. Don't you wonder if they still can?? Anyway, I hope you're doing great down south with the lovely weather. Even though it was 32 today the sun was shining and I'm all good with that! Take care and thanks for your sweet comment on my blog about Dad. He was a gem and I think you would have enjoyed him!

    1. Hi, YaYa!

      Thanks for riding the big train again, dear friend! This is the 15th hip trip since I started the series.

      Coming as you do from a military family, I can understand how you were conflicted over anti-war protest songs like "War." I knew you'd check out the Soul Train dancers in this edition. If you examine the styles and attitudes of the studio dancers in that Edwin Starr performance of the early 70's, you see kids dressed in an old school casual look. The guys look like Lionel Jefferson and the girls are rather subdued. In the Change video from ten years later, you see the guys and girls dressed in expensive looking, sophisticated clothing and acting like they are at a disco. In the Jesse Johnson clip from 1988, you see how much the dancers had evolved. The guys at the beginning of the clip took it upon themselves to do some type of gang chant. The clothing styles are outlandish and the dance moves acrobatic and filled with attitude. I can picture your mom struggling to accept Jack with a blowout hairdo. Lucky for him she didn't chase him away preventing your happy ending. I'm glad you appreciated the Body girls. Imagine three beautiful young sisters named Body. I'll bet they listened to plenty of wise cracks while growing up.

      32 up there? It was close to 50 degrees warmer down here today and the bugs are already out in force. Summer's coming on!

      I always get verklempt when you run a post about your dad, and this morning was no exception. He was a great man, Kathleen.

      Thanks again for dropping in and enjoy the rest of your week!

  6. You have no chart listing for "Middle of the Night" Is it a cover song? Because I swear I've heard it before. In fact, when I read the title, it came instantly to me, and once I played the video, the music confirmed my instant recall. What I don't remember, however, is a group called Body, but that wouldn't be all that unusual if they were one-hit wonders.

    "War". Man, can you imagine that song being a hit during the most active stages of the two Gulf Wars? (The decades-long post-Mission Accomplished era of the latter war is another matter.) Actually, it wouldn't have even been a hit a few years earlier. Watching everyone dance up a storm (unlike what you said to another commentator, it didn't seem all that subdued to me), I wonder if it's because they're really into the message, or, the song simply has a great beat. Oh, well, every little bit of protest helps.

    Loved hearing "If You Don't Know Me By Now" again. The date surprised me. I thought it was from the late '60s.

    1. Hi, Kirk!

      Thanks for coming over to ride the Shady Train, good buddy!

      I don't know if Body's "Middle Of The Night" is a cover, but I tend to think not. The single was released in May 1987. It's a great song, right in the pocket with the hip sound of the period but, for some reason, the record failed to make the pop or the R&B chart. If you figure out where you heard the song originally please let me know. I am always interested in such trivia.

      When I concluded that the Soul Train studio dancers in the "War" video looked subdued, I meant relatively speaking. The boys looked like Lionel on The Jeffersons and the girls didn't exactly look or act like hoochie mamas as they often did in the later 80s.

      "If You Don't Know Me" was the first major crossover hit by the ill-fated Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes. Their first single, released in 1956, was "If You Love Me (Really Love Me)," a cover of the song first recorded by Edith Piaf in 1950. I say ill-fated because lead singer Teddy Pendergrass smashed his Rolls and spent nearly 30 years in a wheelchair before passing away in 2010 two months shy of his 60th birthday. Group leader Harold Melvin died of a stroke in 1997 at the too-young age of 57.

      Thanks again for coming to chat, good buddy Kirk, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  7. hello Mr. Shady! How did the move go and getting everything put away? I hope things went smoothly. I enjoyed many of these songs and remember many quite well. I always smile looking at the 80's fashions and boy did Jon Cryer lose his hair. Lovestruck and War and fun to listen to and Will it Go Round in Circles was one my brother had in a 45. Hold Tight is another fun one but I did not know the next song. Such fun to listen to. Enjoy your day!

    1. Hi, Birgit!

      It's great to see you, dear friend. Thanks for coming down! Mrs. Shady and I are still hanging pictures and unpacking cartons, but happy now that 99% of the move hassles are behind us. We are also pleased to have moved in winter before the horrible heat and humidity of spring and summer set in.

      Glad you noticed those B roll cutaways of Jon Cryer sporting a full head of hair as he was "Hiding Out" from the mob. In that same video my attention was focused on one of my favorite actresses, Annabeth Gish, and on ravishing redhead Jade Starling aka Pretty Poison. Like your brother I owned a copy of "Will It Go Round In Circles." I vividly recall the night I watched that performance by Billy on The Midnight Special. I noticed that "If You Don't Know Me By Now" only reached #52 on the Canadian chart while reaching the top 3 on the U.S. pop chart and topping the R&B survey. Maybe that explains why you don't remember it.

      Thanks again for coming down for a look and a listen, dear friend BB!

  8. The hippest train ride in North America! Don Cornelius is the man and the best! I love his hip grooves and the pieces you selected had me dancing tonight.

    Tomorrow I will have to play these in the office... get into the mood for Friday!

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      I know you ride trains on a regular basis, dear friend. Sounds like the Shady Train is your favorite of all. As you saw and heard in this edition, the big train made several stops in your area so that you could hear some of the great sounds of Philadelphia soul and freestyle. I always enjoy teaching you the musical history of your region. I hope you'll click on these tunes tomorrow to get revved up for the weekend.

      Thanks again for coming by, dear friend JM!

    2. Hi Shady,

      I didn't get a chance to yesterday, but I did participate in Silent Philly and that was my own personal Soul Train while skating. I'm going to post about it later. :D

      I am grateful for your lessons and I've learned a lot so far. Later, I will give these tunes another listen as I work on Soundtracker pieces for tomorrow.

      Have a great Saturday, dear friend!

    3. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      It is a pleasure to introduce you to some of the great artists and songs that originated in the Delaware Valley, only a hop, skip and jump from where you live. I hope you will give the tunes a listen any time your spirits need a boost.

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend, dear friend JM!

    4. Hi Shady,

      I definitely will. Maybe I can suggest some of these songs to Silent Philly. I think these songs would be fun roller skating to in the summer. I think roller disco should come back!

      Have a great Sunday, dear friend.

  9. Hi Shady and Don! Well, I'm late, but it's Friday and, although it's cold in Texas, I'm ready for the weekend!

    I remember Edwin Starr and "War"! He had such a strong deep voice, and could really deliver the message! I'm glad to get to hear this's been a few years, and sadly, he was gone too soon.

    The Train gang did some great stuff to "Love Struck". What a fun song and video, setting the mood to get the gang up and showing their great moves. Billy Preston is so talented, isn't he! He has a great band-very colorful group. And, he is a smooth singer who, builds up and blasts you later with his great growley pipes! I always liked "Will it Go Round in Circles".

    Ahhh, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. They all have great voices, and present themselves with much class on stage! "If You Don't Know Me By Now" is a classic in my book, a great story song.

    A fun post, Don and Shady. I apologize for showing up late. Schedule mishaps lately. Our power was off over 4 hours Wednesday nite-transformer blown. And, it was cold...brrr! Shawn and I opted to go out for dinner to kill some time, then lit candles and hopped under covers to read until it was fixed.

    "Catch Me I'm Falling". What a song! I don't remember it in the movie, but "Hiding Out" is one of the best 80's movies ever! I fell in love with John Cryer. Who knew he would later become a nerd on Two and A Half Men, haha!

    Y'all did good on the girl songs today. Pretty Posion is good-the video is really cool! The Body sisters are very cute and talented. They are my favorite of your newcomers. These girls took command and display energy-packed talent. Hmmm...I don't remember hearing of them before.

    To be honest, I'm glad we are still having cool weather, and I am staying pretty busy right now. Being Grandma, Mom and Dad is a pretty tough road to travel, but I'm hanging in there. Thank you for this fun post Shady. I hope you are adjusting well to your new surroundings. Take care, dear friend! ♫

    1. Hi, Suzanne!

      I'm delighted to see you, dear friend! Thanks for coming over to ride the Train. It's hard for me to believe this is the Shady Train's 15th trip to Soulsville, U.S.A.

      It is nice and cool here, too. We had a hard rain overnight which was beneficial to the lawns. By daybreak it had turned chilly and breezy. Mrs. Shady is complaining about the cold, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts. We've already had plenty of days with temps in the 80s this month and even last month. I'm sorry you lost power on a cold day in Fort Worth. That must have been scary. I hope it doesn't happen to you and Scootie again. I know he appreciates you being the center of his world and his guiding light.

      It just dawned on me how many of the great soul artists related to this post died young. Edwin Starr only lived to age 61. Billy Preston died at age 59. Some members of the Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes group seen in this video are dead. Melvin himself died at age 57. Lead singer Teddy Pendergrass died at 59. Teddy's predecessor on lead along with the singer who succeeded Teddy, are both dead. Two other original members of the group died the same year as Pendergrass. Luther Vandross of Change was only 54 when he died.

      On a happier note, I'm thrilled that you got so much enjoyment out of today's lineup, including the Body girls, Pretty Poison, the Shady Train gang and the Shady Train studio dancers doing their thang to the soulful and funky sounds of the 70s and 80s.

      Thank you again for dropping in, dear friend Suzanne. Please take good care of yourself and Scootie and have a great weekend!


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