Over the past several weeks my morning routine has been to awake and catch an episode of Soul Train. I’m roughly the age of Soul Train so those episodes in the early days of the show (mainly before 1974) I don’t have much of a recollection of if any. When I began this new routine, the re-airings happened to be in the mid-80′s which is an era of the show that I know very, very well. But somehow… somehow at certain parts of the show I felt that I had amnesia. Literally. Yes, I knew (most of) the acts, a majority of the songs, but there were some songs and groups that just were not memorable at all. To be blunt, they weren’t memorable because they weren’t very good which is the impetus for this blog title.
Birth of A Music, A Movement[Repeat] All musical movements have their initial gestation period, usually as a response to or outgrowth of another movement, then a period of insurgency where it grapples the dominant musical force, then it becomes the musical force moving the culture, followed by a period of sophistication and widespread adaptation followed by a decline whereby it takes up residence in the museum as opposed to the street. In this country in particular every single genre of music that you can name began as folk music, music of the folks in the street as it were long before it became co-opted and a commodity. At this point I would like to pause and point out that I’m not necessarily deeming that all commercialization of music is bad, quite to the contrary artists have to eat, I’m merely pointing out that the vibrancy of a musical movement is usually at its apex when the suits arrive, because they are always late to the party.
I Hear Ya!
Even though I was born in the 70′s I didn’t get my ears until the 80′s and those ears probably weren’t refined until sometime in the 90′s. Growing up I heard a lot of music but I don’t know how much I really listened to. Now, of course we can revisit everything and this Soul Train ritual has been great in that respect. Having made it through the 80′s episodes and 90′s episodes I must say that at a point in the mid-90′s some of the shows became unbearable to watch, partly due to Don Cornelius taking a back seat on his hosting duties and some of the train-wreck “celebrity” hosts, but the main reason: the music. Sure, there were exceptions (an episode where Mint Condition was featured comes to mind) but for every one or two tunes that were featured the rest left you scratching your head as to why this song or group gained any notoriety? Then you realize it was because of the times, just like a KJ/MJ debate you have to consider the times. (more…)