Rufus with Chaka Khan: “You Got the Love”
Yesterday brought the sad news of the passing of Soul Train creator and host, Don Cornelius (even more sadly, of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound). If you grew up in the ’70s, chances are pretty good that Soul Train was at least an occasional stop in your television viewing time. It was for me — in addition to live appearances from some really good groups, there was also the famous Soul Train line dance, where you couldn’t help but be wowed on a number of levels by the dance moves, the outfits, and the afros. The dancers always seemed like they were having more fun than anyone else in the world at that very moment. And maybe they were. And Don Cornelius was always there, steady as a rock, keeping the whole thing anchored so that it wouldn’t go shooting off too far into the funk stratosphere. He was one cool cat.
There are a lot of good performances to be found in the Soul Train archives, but one that stands out for me is a mid-’70s performance by Rufus, featuring Chaka Khan — their funk/soul mix epitomizes the Soul Train of that era for me. The performance here is of their great 1974 song, “You Got the Love.” Chaka looks great, and what a voice she had — when it comes down to the greatest female R&B singers of the ’70s, one could certainly make a solid argument for Chaka Khan as the best. And you’ve got to love the joy she always projected when performing — the smile never leaves her face. For further evidence, along with the video of “You Got the Love” that I’ve got above, you’ve got to check out this performance of “Once You Get Started.” Chaka Khan will knock your socks off.
I like the “You Got the Love” clip not only because it’s a great song and fun to watch, but also because you get a taste of Don Cornelius in the intro and at the end — hosting Soul Train was what he was born to do. Somewhere right now, Don is kicking off a Line Dance in the Sky that is totally off the hook.